Since the 2020 NFL draft, I’ve been following the Dolphins almost as if they were my favorite team. The way they’ve turned things around in a short amount of time has been astonishing. Just a few years ago, they were among the worst teams in the league, and now they are favorites to become a playoff team and have a shot in the now less dominant AFC East.
The Dolphins added new talent through the 2021 draft which drastically improved their team. Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips were the Dolphin’s first two picks in the first round and instantly made the receiver and defensive line positions more talented. Waddle was teammates with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama and lit up the college scene. Their receiving core is limited after Davonte Parker and Will Fuller and Tua needs the familiarity in the offense after admitting that he wasn’t familiar with the playbook last year. Waddle will join the offense that holds the previously mentioned receivers, running back Myles Gaskin, and receiver-like tight end Mike Gesicki. Jaelan Phillips on the other hand will be joining a defense in the making. Phillips is already the most notable name on the defense if you aren’t familiar with the Dolphins roster. Jaelan Phillips, Bryon Jones, Jerome Baker, and Xavien Howard are the cornerstones of the Miami defense and are up for a big task this season.
In the later rounds, the Dolphins drafted Jevon Holland and Liam Eichenberg, both had first-round grades on them at some point through the draft process. Safety Jevon Holland is a great addition because Holland somewhat resembles what Minkah Fitzpatrick is. Holland is a hard-hitting safety with good ball skills. Miami is lacking playmakers in the defensive backfield aside from Jones and Howard, and it is believed that Holland can be that star safety for years to come. It looks like Miami whiffed on tackle Austin Jackson during last year’s draft, but Liam Eichenberg is no whiff. Eichenberg was a part of the Notre Dame offensive line that has produced great linemen over the last decade. Liam is a good addition to the needy Miami offensive front and will help pave the way for running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. Eichenberg is intelligent and is mobile at the line, he won’t be pushed over easily and is an improving lineman.
The rest of the Miami roster is still a work in progress. Veterans like center Matt Surka, OG D.J Fluker, and DB Jason McCourty were scooped up from free agency to gain experience and veteran leadership in the locker room now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is in Washington. The Dolphins have a bright future ahead of them and will be able to compete for the AFC East crown in a couple of years, as for now they are still building a new team but are well on the track for long-term success.