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Grading The Miami Dolphins’ Day 2 Draft Selections: Drafting For Talent, Not Need

Vernon Bryant / Staff Photographer

When day two of the 2021 NFL Draft opened, many top prospects were still available. Miami was able to take advantage of that and add a couple of day one contributors in the second and third rounds.

Before we get into each player, a quick note on team building is due. A lot of fans were upset that Miami didn’t address more immediate needs on this roster — like a center and running back. In a perfect world, player evaluations and team needs line up, but this isn’t a perfect world.

Most players you draft aren’t going to be dominant right out the gate. It typically takes a season or two for an NFL player to reach their potential. That means general managers need to be thinking two or three years out when they draft. Their team needs could be drastically different in 2022 or 2023. Adding a safety or tight end could seem wasteful now, but may pay dividends down the road.

Round Two

No. 36. Jevon Holland, Safety, Oregon

This might be my favorite pick in the entire draft, so far. Javon Holland is likely not lasting until thirty-six if he doesn’t opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID. It is difficult to know exactly what Miami has in mind for him in 2021 because he does so many things at a high level.

In 2018, he started as a true freshman at Oregon and filled a more traditional safety role. In 2019, he played primarily as a slot player and closer to the line of scrimmage. His main strength is his versatility in coverage and he’s been solid no matter what they asked him to do. Fantastic instincts and ball skills as well.

Why Holland is the right pick.

Besides outside corner, Holland will be an upgrade wherever Miami decides to play him. That isn’t to say he can’t play outside corner — he probably can — he just won’t be better than Xavien Howard or Byron Jones as a rookie. Yesterday, I predicted that Miami might surprise fans and target a defensive back in the second or third round. This defense needs solid players on the back end to be successful, and Holland brings so much to the table. Great pick.

Grade: A-

  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 207
  • Arm: 31 1/3
  • Hand: 9 1/8
  • Vertical: 35.5
  • Broad: 126 <—–
  • Bench: 19 reps<——
  • 40-yard: 4.46 <—–
  • Short shuttle: 4.14
No. 42. Liam Eichenberg, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

A lot of people — myself included — were praying to see Miami add to this offensive line. Eichenberg is one of the more pro-ready offensive line prospects and should project as a starter in 2021.

Eichenberg has three years of experience starting at left tackle for Notre Dame, and has improved with each season. He is on the lighter side for an offensive tackle but didn’t struggle against power on tape. It could be worth monitoring where they play Eichenberg this season. He has shorter arms for the position and did have trouble against longer pass rushers — which may facilitate a move inside.

Why Eichenberg is the right pick.

Eichenberg is an extremely high-floor type of prospect. The key to effective offensive line play is having no weak links. It helps to have an all-pro or two, but you can get by with five good players. Eichenberg immediately fills a hole-at tackle or guard-and your offensive coordinator won’t need to worry about giving him help each play. His testing was better than expected, but he doesn’t show the high upside some other tackle prospects in this draft have. Solid — if unspectacular — selection.

Grade: B+

  • Height: 6’6″
  • Weight: 306
  • Arm: 32 3/8
  • Hand: 9 5/8
  • Broad: 105
  • Vertical: 27
  • Short shuttle: 4.58 <—-
  • 3-cone: 7.53 <—-
  • Bench: 33 reps<—-

Round Three

No. 81. Hunter Long, Tight End, Boston College

Long was a pick that set a lot of fans into a rage, but it could end up being one of their better selections in this years draft. Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe each have one year left on their rookie contracts. Gesicki is going to cost north of ten million dollars APY and there’s a chance Miami isn’t interested in paying that. They took a receiver that primarily works from the slot-Jaylen Waddle-and then a tight end on day two. Both of those players will presumably cut into Gesicki’s snaps and targets.

With that said, Long is a really underrated tight end prospect. He was named the top tight end on the national team at the Senior Bowl this year-which is voted on by the linebackers and defensive backs that practiced against him. Brian Flores coached him in that game, so he has a really clear picture of what Long can bring to the table.

Why Long is the right pick.

Long is a complete tight end. He improved each year at Boston College and this past season tallied 685 yards and five touchdowns while leading all tight ends in receptions with 57. He isn’t the greatest blocker in the class but brings something to the table there as well with a lot of room to grow. He’s built like a traditional in-line tight end and should fill that role better than anyone else on the roster. He doesn’t fill an immediate need and tight end isn’t a super important position, but Long is a fantastic prospect.

Grade: B-

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 253
  • Short shuttle: 4.42
  • 3-cone: 7.41
  • Vertical: 32.5
  • Broad: 122 <—-
  • 40-yard: 4.63 <—-
Parting thoughts and what to look for on day 3.

This draft won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but Chris Grier has added really solid prospects with each selection he’s made. If two or three of these guys are pro bowl players in a few seasons, all will be forgiven.

Look for Miami to add linebackers, running backs, interior linemen or wide receivers on day three. It also wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see Miami make a trade to get into the fourth round today. I know it may seem like I’m wearing rose-colored glasses with these reviews, but I would tell you if Miami had made a bad selection, and they haven’t — yet.

A life-long Dolphins fan that ended up in Texas after serving in the Air Force. I believe in using a combination of analytics, film-study, and misguided fan-instincts to develop pieces. I look forward to hearing from you, Fins Up!

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