Welcome to draft season, Dolphins fans. I’ve been hard at work grinding the tape the past three months, trying to find some players I think can help the Dolphins next season. My first task was finding speed at the WR position. Thankfully, Miami has a ton of options to add some juice to its stagnant group of weapons.
Due to having so many different options, I will leave off a couple of obvious ones. Both Alabama WRs Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith should be in consideration for the Dolphins’ top picks as they would help solve the Dolphins’ speed problem right away. However, I would argue Miami should consider double-dipping in an incredibly deep WR class to make sure this problem gets fixer sooner rather than later. Also, there is a chance the Dolphins don’t select one of those Alabama receivers and decide to take advantage of a deep class.
Let’s take a look at some players who Miami could get on day-2 of the draft to alleviate some of the pressure on whoever plays QB next season.
Kadarius Toney, Florida
This whip route is just straight up nasty. CB had no chance lmao. pic.twitter.com/85YIHzwwRY
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) December 4, 2020
Toney is less of a pure speed threat than someone like Jaylen Waddle, but he provides playmaking ability in other ways. Firstly, he’s one of the best route runners this class has to offer with his smooth hips and quick footwork.
He’s incredibly quick in tight spaces and explosive in short distances allowing him to eat up easy yards after the catch. This past season, he proved he could be a reliable high volume target in the slot after dealing with some injuries his first couple of seasons at Flordia.
Toney’s speed is fine, so I’m not saying he can’t be a true deep threat, just that he’s not a total blazer. He will create separation easily, though, so getting him behind base defenses shouldn’t be too hard.
There is a decent chance Toney goes at the backend of round one, but if he lasts until the Dolphins’ top second-round selection, they should definitely take him, regardless of the picks made at three and 18.
Rondale Moore, Purdue
Rondale Moore (Purdue, WR) thread: Moore’s ability in the open field is truly phenomenal. Contact balance, COD, and contact balance all pop. pic.twitter.com/87QJ4wZNvy
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) May 22, 2020
People have completely forgotten about Rondale Moore, which is understandable. He missed a good chunk of the season with injuries and was injured at some point in all three of his years at Purdue. Don’t get me wrong, the injuries scare me too, but his film is incredible.
Moore is pound for pound the best athlete in this entire draft class. He’s got blazing long speed, cat-like quickness, and superhuman strength for someone who weighs 175 pounds. He’s also one of the best yards after catch receivers this class has to offer. The Dolphins were one of the worst yards after catch teams in the NFL last season. I guarantee Rondale Moore gives them a huge boost in that area right away.
In fact, Moore was my WR1 coming into the season ahead of both Alabama receivers and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. He plays way bigger than his 5’9, and 175-pound frame would indicate and is a true game-breaker. If his medicals check out, he could be a tremendous steal on day-2.
D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) January 20, 2021
Eskridge is easily one of my favorite players in this wide receiver class. He started getting a ton of hype right before the Senior Bowl, which prompted me to check out his film before the event. I found a player who was an elite athlete and an absolute gamer while being listed at 5’9 and 185.
Besides Waddle, I think Eskridge is the most explosive player in the class. The speed and burst required to break the angles of the defenders on the play above are not common. Roughly three of those guys should’ve tackled him, but he blew right by them. I understand being hesitant because he played in the MAC conference, but speed like that translates to the NFL regardless of the level of college competition.
Eskridge isn’t just a threat on underneath routes, though. He’s a great vertical route runner with excellent ball tracking skills. His hands are quite strong, and he showed he could make adjustments to the ball while taking on contact —unlike a certain small Dolphins WR— which really sold me on him.
He’s tough as hell. He didn’t back down from press coverage, nor did he struggle at the catch point. Eskridge also balled out at the Senior Bowl— and was coached by the Dolphins, by the way— which makes me feel better about his ability to beat higher-caliber athletes.
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Speaking of getting excited, hello Elijah Moore! This WR class is straight up bonkers. pic.twitter.com/5z0Lh1awcK
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) February 18, 2021
If the Dolphins can’t get Toney, then Elijah Moore would be a solid consolation prize later in the draft. From a movement skills perspective, Moore and Toney are very similar. Moore is incredibly quick in short spaces and sudden with his movements allowing him to create separation both naturally and as a route runner.
He, too, isn’t an elite speed threat but has plenty of juice to get the job done. Moore isn’t the same caliber of route runner Toney is, but he’s pretty close and has all the tools needed to get there. He spent most of the 2020 season getting his touches schemed open, but he showed he could beat man coverage in the slot pretty consistently too. The Dolphins need someone who can uncover quickly and then turn upfield for extra yards. Moore’s skillset projects perfectly to that role.
Moore burst onto the scene this season, playing in Lane Kiffin’s wide-open offense. He gave them a consistent threat over the top and a reliable target underneath. If Miami wants to become an RPO heavy offense this season, someone like Moore would fit perfectly.
Amari Rodgers, Clemson
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) January 13, 2021
Rodgers spent this past season as Trevor Lawrence’s top WR threat at Clemson. Others aren’t as high on him as me, but Rodgers projects perfectly into the slot/speed threat the Dolphins need. His athletic ability jumps off the screen the minute you watch his film.
His straight-line speed and ability to quickly change directions give him the skills to separate consistently at the next level. Rodgers also proved he was a capable ball tracker on passes over his shoulder and passes requiring him to track across the field.
Rodgers’ YAC skillset should also be very appealing to the Dolphins. He’s small but possesses great contact balance. Sometimes his dense lower half allows him to bounce off tacklers without much effort on his part.
Rodgers has the tools of a great route runner, but his tree coming from the Clemson offense will have to be fleshed out considerably. Again, if Miami wants to be RPO heavy in 2021, then Rodgers transition should be somewhat seamless.
There is absolutely no excuse for the Dolphins to enter the 2021 season without a true speed threat at the WR position. They have the capital to select one at all three levels of the draft, and there is a literal bevy of them to pick from.
I only named five here, but there are more like Louisville’s Tutu Atwell, North Texas’ Jaelon Dardon, South Dakota State’s Cade Johnson, and USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown. This WR class is incredibly deep, and Miami needs to take advantage of that by getting multiple speed threats on the roster.