Miami Dolphins’ fans find themselves circling their calendars again this offseason as the 2021 NFL Draft approaches. Last year’s draft was extremely memorable for the fan base, as the team had too many picks to count, and spectators honestly had no idea what the Dolphins were going to do with their picks. The Dolphins would end up having a 10-6 record in the 2020 season despite having the second-youngest team in the NFL, and now they are looking to build their team even more, as they hold multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft. The Dolphins currently have the 3rd and 18th overall pick in this year’s draft. A lot of attention is going to the Dolphins’ 3rd pick, and it should because they have a chance to get Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith or the immensely talented Penei Sewell. However, the 18th pick has a ton of importance as well, and who knows, the player taken at 18th might end up having more of an impact than the player taken at 3rd in the long run. Let’s look at a couple of different avenues the Dolphins could go down with their second first-round pick.

Many analysts and mock drafts have the Dolphins selecting LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with their 18th pick. Owusu-Koramoah played for The Fighting Irish last season and was the Butkus Award recipient, which goes to the nation’s best linebacker. He was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, which speaks for his production last season alone. Coach Brian Flores loves players like Owusu-Koramoah for his defense. Owusu-Koramoah’s athletic ability and versatility jump off the film immediately. On Notre Dame’s defense, Owusu-Koramoah’s primary position was outside linebacker, but he really was more of a linebacker-safety hybrid playing on the wide side of the field. He has excellent coverage skills and possesses the speed to keep up with receivers, which is why The Fighting Irish had no problem putting him across a wide receiver sometimes on the outside. Owusu-Koramoah also provided a lot of pressure as a pass rusher, and Flores has shown he loves blitzing with his linebackers. Combine all of this versatility with his toughness and nose for the football, and it is no surprise he is one of the draft’s top linebackers. The 6′ 1″, 215 lbs prospect would definitely make the Dolphins’ defense stronger, and fans are sure to be excited if the Dolphins select Owusu-Koramoah with their 18th pick.

Everyone agrees that the wide receiver group needs to be addressed this offseason, and the Dolphins might decide to fortify that group by drafting one with their 18th pick. With Ohio State WR Chris Olave declining to enter the draft this year, there will not be many wide receiver options at this pick (unless somehow LSU’s Ja’marr Chase falls that far in the draft). However, one interesting direction the Dolphins could go is by selecting WR Jaylen Waddle at 18th overall. The Crimson Tide star suffered an injury last season, and there is a good chance he will be on the board still when it comes time for the Dolphins to make their pick. Waddle is a good pass catcher, but his talents lie in his ability after he catches the football. When you watch him, he seems to make everybody miss without slowing down and always evades the first defender. He possesses innate explosiveness with a killer instinct that’s always looking to score. Waddle provides a lot of value in the kicking game as well, and Coach Flores is constantly preaching how much he values special teams. Waddle would instantly provide a much a needed explosiveness if the Dolphins choose to select him.

Along with the wide receiver group, the Dolphins’ running backs might also have a new teammate join their ranks this offseason. Alabama RB Najee Harris and Clemson RB Travis Etienne are two of the best running back prospects in this year’s draft. Both played at very esteemed programs and had a lot of success at the highest college football level. The two of them are extremely athletic and physical with a wide skillset. It is no surprise that they are both expected to succeed at the professional level. Harris might get the slight edge over Etienne because of his ability as a receiver, not to mention the chemistry he would already have with QB Tua Tagovailoa. However, if either of these guys is in the Dolphins’ backfield next season, the run game is bound to improve. Do not be surprised if General Manager Chris Grier selects the running back of the future with the 18th pick.