The Miami Dolphins’ efforts to create a more well-rounded roster should be applauded on the heels of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Dolphins didn’t fall into the trap of just drafting for need and instead found themselves embracing an attack of overall talent — with a few surprise picks as a result. Oregon’s Jevon Holland wasn’t the most pressing need, nor was Boston College’s Hunter Long.
But both fit the model for Miami Dolphins football players — and so here they are.
But which players that were already on the Miami Dolphins’ roster can walk away from this past weekend feeling like the biggest winners? Here are the three veteran players on offense most positively impacted by the Dolphins’ decisions this past weekend:
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) during pregame warmups at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, September 20, 2020. [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post]
QB Tua Tagovailoa
If this one feels self-explanatory, it is. Tua Tagovailoa saw the Dolphins invest their top pick into one of his favorite targets from his college career and traded up for a “pro-ready” offensive lineman in Liam Eichenberg in the top-50 picks. The Dolphins’ offense was much more efficient passing the ball with multiple tight ends on the field, so targeting an upgrade opportunity at that position in the 3rd-round with Hunter lLong was a nice move, even if it was surprising.
There should be little claims of a bad supporting cast in 2021 for Tagovailoa and so long as the team sees the young quarterback start to hit some shots over the top, it will help Miami’s offense find more balance than in years past.
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) is pursued by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) on a 59-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
RB Myles Gaskin
Everyone under the sun assumed that Gaskin was going to have his replacement drafted at some point early on in the 2021 NFL Draft. That decision never came. Perhaps it would have if the team had elected to prevent the Broncos from jumping up to the No. 35 overall pick to draft North Carolina’s Javonte Williams. But Miami opted to stay put and draft Holland and Eichenberg within the next 10 picks.
Miami would wait until their final selection to acquire a running back, leaving some fans queasy about the forecast on the ground. But Gaskin earned the trust of the Dolphins’ staff quickly last year; he will have the chance to do the same as their presumed featured back of 2021.
Oct 20, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Baltimore Ravens center Matt Skura (68) blocks Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods (72) during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Baltimore defeated Seattle 30-16. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
IOL Matt Skura
Miami had signed Matt Skura and left an offer on the table for Patriots center David Andrews in free agency, only for Andrew to head back to New England despite similar money on the table. That development had everyone assuming that Miami would be positioned to target a center early on in the draft, but that investment never game. Instead, Miami drafted two college tackles in Eichenberg and 7th-round choice Larnel Coleman — leaving little competition besides Michael Dieter on the roster for Skura as the starting center.