The Miami Dolphins had seven picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, as the rookies all look ahead to their debut seasons.
With the 2021 offseason underway, and minicamp behind us, how are the rookies looking, and what can we expect from them in the upcoming season?
Jaylen Waddle (Wide Receiver- 6th Overall)
Waddle comes into this Dolphins offense as a speed guy. The Dolphins have weapons on offense such as DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, and tight end Mike Gesicki. Waddle offers something completely different.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill came into the league and has formed a formidable partnership with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Since then, there has been an emphasis on teams having that speed option.
During his three years with Alabama, Waddle played 34 games. He recorded 106 total receptions and caught for 1,999 yards. This amounts to 18.9 yards per reception. Waddle also scored 17 touchdowns in college. This means he scored a touchdown every 6.2 receptions.
2020 saw a shortened season, but Waddle recorded more yards and only two touchdowns less than his entire 2019 campaign that saw him play seven games more. He would have had an exceptional season had COVID-19 not been a factor.
Waddle is likely to be behind DeVante Parker and Will Fuller on the depth chart but will provide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with either a deep threat or an option from the slot. Waddle showed in college his ability to pick up short throws and turn them into long plays.
Jaelan Phillips (Outside Linebacker- 18th Overall)
Along with Waddle, Phillips is another of the rookies that will be expected to start straight away. He will be used to the warm weather, having gone to high school in California and playing college football for UCLA and the Miami Hurricanes.
Phillips had an excellent 2020, with 8 sacks, 45 total sacks, and 15.5 tackles for loss. Injuries are the one concern for Phillips’ NFL career. However, Miami fans should be very excited over the caliber of potential players they have drafted.
Phillips has been credited for his “versatility and athleticism.” He played as a defensive end in college but has been listed as an outside linebacker for the Dolphins. He will most likely play as a linebacker but can be brought into the defensive line if needed. Either way, he will be a threat from the edge.
Jevon Holland (Safety- 36th Overall)
Holland is yet to sign a contract along with Liam Eichenberg and Hunter Long. He didn’t play in 2020 but managed 108 tackles in two college seasons with Oregon and nine interceptions, one defensive touchdown, and 10 passes deflected.
Looking deeper into his time in college, he is the first Oregon player since Jairus Byrd in 2006 and 2007 to lead the team in interceptions in successive seasons. Oregon had a 7-1 record in games where Holland recorded an interception. He was involved in the PFF All-Pac-12 first team during his sophomore season.
During a game against California in his freshman year, he recorded two interceptions in the second half to help Oregon earn a win on the road. His 89.3 Pro Football Focus coverage grade was the 13th best nationally and the second-highest for safeties.
With Bobby McCain having departed this offseason, Holland is widely expected to be a starting safety for the Dolphins.
Fellow defensive back Noah Igbinoghene, a first-round pick in 2020, struggled at times during his rookie season. Dolphins fans have to be realistic and expect Holland to need time to adapt.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) July 4, 2021
Liam Eichenberg (Offensive Tackle- 42nd Overall)
The Cleveland native spent five seasons in college with Notre Dame, in which he had plenty of individual achievements.
Eichenberg didn’t earn any game time in 2016 and only saw the field in five games during his 2017 sophomore season before his final three college seasons saw Eichenberg’s involvement increase.
During his junior season in 2018, Eichenberg started all thirteen games at left tackle and allowed only three sacks all season in the 939 snaps that he played.
Eichenberg once again played all thirteen games and 845 snaps during his 2019 senior year. He only allowed three quarterback hits and nine hurries whilst not allowing a sack all year. Pro Football Focus gave him the best pass-blocking and run-blocking grades in the entire offensive line, with grades of 85.6 and 78.8, respectively.
In his final season, Eichenberg was once again impressive in his graduate season. He was part of an offensive line that earned the Pro Football Focus Offensive Line of the Week in the opening game against Duke.
Eichenberg allowed zero sacks against South Florida in a 52-0 win and earned the same achievement against Florida State. He was named ACC Offense Lineman of the Week in a 45-3 win over Pittsburgh.
Miami should likely expect a similar transition in the NFL, with plenty of encouragement to be had over how he improved during his time in college. Do not expect Eichenberg to play many snaps in 2021. He is one to watch in 2022 and 2023.
Hunter Long (Tight End- 81st Overall)
Long is the final of the three remaining rookies not to be given contracts. He is also someone else who will be expected to be back up behind Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe unless Miami and head coach Brian Flores decide to go with 12 personnel.
With Gesicki entering the final year of his contract and his future far from clear, Long has the chance to stake his claim as the number one tight end in 2021 and beyond.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) July 1, 2021
Larnel Coleman (Offensive Tackle- 231st Overall)
Another one of the rookies that are unlikely to be a starter in 2021. Coleman spent five seasons with UMass, where he converted from defensive end to an offensive lineman. Coleman was the only lineman on the team to start every game in 2019.
He helped a run game in 2017 that earned an average of 135.3 yards per game and a passing game that recorded an average of 297.5 yards a game.
Coleman is someone who has shown he can help both the running and passing game. While he most likely will need time to adapt, he is a prospect for the Dolphins.
Gerrid Doaks (Running Back- 244th Overall)
Miami has a busy running back room with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Malcolm Brown, and Jordan Scarlett. One or two of these are likely not to make the final 53 man roster. Doaks will want to avoid being one of these.
Can Doaks make the most when he gets his chance? He is the most likely candidate out of all of the rookies to end up in the practice squad.