We’re coming into the time of the year that both excites me and that I dread like a root canal: draft season: why? Because in the draft every year, about 80% of NFL fans, assuming their team doesn’t need a quarterback, want to see their favorite team select a wide receiver in the first round. Since the belief that it’s in a team’s best interest to draft a WR high, like the belief that music charms snakes, dies hard, rather than try and change anyone’s mind, I will begin today’s discussion with a simple statement: the Miami Dolphins will not select a wide receiver with the sixth overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, and probably not a tight end, either.
To put it another way, if the Dolphins were bent on taking a WR with their first pick, they would, in all likelihood, have stayed at the twelfth pick they got from San Francisco, since four QB’s, several defensive players and at least one, and more likely two offensive linemen will probably be chosen in the first eleven picks. Unless the Dolphins’ brass believes that there is one WR, out the top three (Chase, Smith and Waddle) that’s head and shoulders above the other two, it would have made more sense for Miami to simply stay at 12, rather than give up one of their first rounders next year to take one of a trio of similarly rated players when there is virtually no way all three will be gone at 12.
One thing I’ve learned over the years on the Phinsider is that you try to avoid going head-to-head with the most knowledgeable guys on here, because it generally doesn’t pay. There used to be two guys on here that would scare the hell out of me with their vast football acumen: ct1361 and Chris Early. Neither of them have been around for a while, but the big two, if you will, have been supplanted, and then some, by the big three: Gill, Blaze and ‘The Paw’. Although I don’t really know where The Paw is on the subject of receivers, I believe that Gill wants one at six, while Blaze holds Florida TE Kyle Pitts in high regard. So, how do you tell two guys who know a lot more about football than you do that they’re wrong? You don’t. You just politely state your position and then let them discuss it. What we do know is that, a), drafting receivers high generally doesn’t work out, and, b), year in and year out, there are always a lot of receivers coming out of college playing at a high level. This is precisely why the Buffalo Bills opted to trade their first round pick a year ago to the Minnesota Vikings for WR Stefon Diggs, rather risk taking a receiver in round one. It is also likely the reason that the Dolphins signed former Houston Texans speed merchant Will Fuller in free agency, so that they wouldn’t be under pressure to take a WR with their first pick in this year’s draft.
The NFL draft is a little bit like the stock market, in that you want to reap the highest gains with the least amount of risk, the difference being that you also have to fill needs as you go. What do you think Dolphins coach Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier talked about in their year end meeting in early January? It probably went something like this: Grier: ‘How in the hell did Buffalo score 56 points on us up there? You guys were doing such a good job with the defense!’ Flores: ‘Look, man — I’m a football coach, not a magician. We won ten games with a couple of good corners, a couple of good defensive linemen and a bunch of ‘try hard’ guys. Van Noy is a step slow, so get me some real studs on defense and let’s have this conversation a year from now.’ That doesn’t mean that they don’t have a need at receiver, because they do. But there is apparently someone they’re interested in that they were afraid might not be there at 12, so they gave up a first round pick to move back up to 6. Since it’s only a slightly less risky move to take a TE that high — think Rickey Dudley, selected ninth by the Raiders in 1996 — and everyone needs to accept right now that Sewell won’t make it to 6, I can only assume that the Dolphins are interested in one of two, or maybe three, players: I give them a 60% chance of taking Penn State LB Micah Parsons, a 20% chance of them taking Pitts and a 20% chance of selecting Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater. We can talk about Tua and the offense all we want, but none of it is going to matter until and unless we can stop Josh Allen. Allen and the Bills are 4-0 against Miami since Flores arrived two years ago, and drafting receivers isn’t going to do much to change that equation. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.