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Few teams are armed with the kind of draft capital the Dolphins have at their disposal this weekend. The team is slated to make two picks on Thursday night, followed by three on Friday (Rounds 2 and 3) as well as three more on Saturday (Rounds 4-7).
While having more bites at the apple is certainly nice, the Dolphins still have to pick the right guys to make the most of the opportunity. After finishing 10-6 last season, Miami is on the precipice of being a contender in the AFC.
Finding the right impact rookies could be what pushes them over the top in 2021 and beyond.
With that being said, here’s a look at three of the Dolphins’ top targets to consider with the Nos. 6 and 18 picks in the first round.
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John Bazemore/Associated Press
General manager Chris Grier is going to have a heavily vested interest in what the Cinncinati Bengals do with the fifth overall selection right before Miami is on the clock.
The Dolphins and the Bengals are kindred spirits when it comes to offensive situations: Both have to improve the protection of their second-year passers but neither would mind adding an explosive offensive weapon.
That means both franchises are likely mulling their options between Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase or Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Sewell would be the least exciting of the options but might still be the best investment. Just look at free agency this season. There were multiple difference-making receivers on the market who are still in the prime years of their career, and new Dolphins signing Will Fuller V is just one example.
What we didn’t see was a whole lot of tackles in their prime who weren’t locked in with their teams on multi-year deals.
That just goes to show the long-term value in adding a franchise tackle when possible. According to PFF, Sewell gave up just one sack in his 21 games played with Oregon. He’s a high-floor pick who could become the kind of multi-time Pro Bowler that teams don’t let hit free agency.
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John Raoux/Associated Press
These two are getting lumped together because although there are differences in their playing styles, they both serve the same purpose philosophically: giving Tua Tagovailoa a legitimate No. 1 threat.
Ja’Marr Chase put up numbers in 2019 that rival DeVonta Smith’s 2020 Heisman campaign. The difference is there are questions about Chase’s 6’0″, 201-pound frame. It isn’t spectacular but should hold up in the NFL, and he has the athleticism to be a difference-maker.
Kyle Pitts is technically a tight end at 6’5″ and 245 pounds. But that title doesn’t do justice to the role he projects to in the NFL. He has the ability to be an inline blocker, sure, but he can also stretch the field vertically, create big plays and offer a reliable red-zone target.
The 20-year-old has the versatility to line up all over the field and would be much more than a traditional tight end alongside Mike Gesicki.
If the Dolphins are simply looking to add firepower to an offense that lacks it, either Pitts or Chase would do the trick.
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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
The defensive transformation that the Dolphins underwent in 2020 was stunning. The unit went from being 32nd in points allowed and 28th in takeaways in 2019 to sixth and first, respectively, in 2020.
Much of that has to do with coaching, but it also got a boost from the personnel department. The Dolphins used free agency to mold the unit in Flores’ image. This season, they’ve made some changes in free agency as well, but they could use an assist from the draft.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would give the head coach a new chess piece to utilize on defense. The versatile linebacker will need a defensive coordinator who is willing to get creative to unleash his potential. At Notre Dame, he lined up in the slot, as a box safety and even on the defensive line, making plays all over the field.
The Dolphins have that kind of defensive philosophy, and Josh Boyer should be trusted to put the 21-year-old Golden Domer in the right positions to succeed.
Owusu-Koramoah’s versatility could be the key to finding the next tier for a Dolphins defense that improved by leaps and bounds last year.