By Marek Brave (@MBrave13)
Remember that feeling you had on Christmas morning as a kid? You didn’t even need to wipe the sleep from your eyes, you were so excited to discover all of the shining, glimmering presents sitting so pristine under the brightly lit tree. You’d laugh and smile as you tore through the wrapping paper and stick-on bows. Did you get the action figure you had been asking for all year? Was the newest gaming console waiting for you? Maybe a brand new ten-speed mountain bike was sitting smack dab in the middle of the driveway just begging to be taken for a quick ride around the block. Those are the moments you waited for all year long. And those are the moments you remember the rest of your life.
For us football fans, the NFL Draft is the closest thing we get to those feelings we had on Christmas morning as children. For months, sometimes years (Tank for Tua), we wait for our favorite college players to be selected by the Miami Dolphins. Like we did when we were young, we smile and laugh as they take the stage, put on the aqua and orange ball cap, and shake hands with Commissioner Roger Goodell. We can’t wait to see what the shiny new toy will do on Sundays that fall.
Will Miami draft a playmaker at pick number six? Maybe a stalwart offensive lineman will be the present that is unwrapped. Could the Dolphins continue to trade down, securing future presents in this draft or for drafts into the future? We will soon know, as the 2021 NFL Draft begins two days from now!
Whoever Miami selects, let’s hope that they will continue to allow Miami to trend upward, eventually bringing us fans what we truly desire; playoff victories, and a Super Bowl championship.
With that being said, I present to you my final mock draft of the 2021 NFL offseason. I allowed myself to wheel and deal as I saw fit in this one, no longer declining very tempting trade offers. As I put my GM hat on, let me see if I can bring you as much joy as Jolly Old Saint Nicholas once did.
#7 – Kyle Pitts – Tight End – Florida
After a single spot trade down with Detroit that saw me giving up the sixth and 81st pick to receive the 7th and 41st pick, I nabbed the most dynamic player in this draft in Pitts. He lines up at WR and TE and is a mismatch nightmare for all defensive coordinators in the league. His blocking is also much more advanced than other pass catching tight ends. Will he make it to this spot in the real draft? I highly doubt it, but in this exercise, I wasn’t going to let him slide any further.
#28 – Zaven Collins – LB – Tulsa
Najee Harris has been the pick here during most of my mock drafts and I still would be extremely happy to select the Alabama running back at this spot, but New Orleans offered me picks 28 and 60, plus a future 7th rounder. I dropped back nine spots (I also traded back one spot from 18 to 19 to add pick 82, giving Washington pick 156 as well) to add an additional second round pick this year and crossed my fingers that one of the “big three” running backs would be available in the second round. Collins is a Kyle Van Noy clone, however he’s much bigger, faster, stronger, and much more handsome (probably). He can rush the passer, stuff the run, and drop back in coverage with ease. Some say he’s the best LB in the draft, even ahead of Micah Parsons.
#36 – Javonte Williams – RB – North Carolina
My gamble paid off, as one of my targeted running backs was still available in the second round. I wiped the sweat of my brow and ran the draft card to the podium. Williams is a violent man in pads, bullying defenders with his battering ram style. Despite that, he is also a good pass catcher out of the backfield. With only 366 college carries, there’s still plenty of tread on the tires. Miami just got their bell-cow back for the next five years at least.
#41 – Jaelan Phillips – EDGE – Miami
Grabbing an additional second round pick really paid off in this scenario, as I was able to solve Miami’s EDGE problem with the selection of Jaelan Phillips from the University of Miami. The only reason he was still available is because he has dealt with a litany of injuries throughout his college career. Those are a concern, but with this selection feeling like a bonus pick due to trades, it was a gamble I was willing to take. Phillips is the best EDGE defender in this draft. If he stays healthy, this will be a steal that will be talked about for years to come.
#50 – Quinn Meinerz – OC – Wisconsin-Whitewater
Matt Skura was a quality signing for Miami, but I am sick and tired of the revolving door at the center position in South Florida. Meinerz can play guard or center, so maybe he can win the starting job from Ereck Flowers for 2021 before kicking inside and playing center in 2022. Meinerz was very impressive at the Reese’s Senior Bowl this season, and Brian Flores most certainly got a good, close look at the young prospect.
#79 – Amari Rodgers – WR – Clemson
I took pick 60, which I acquired in my first round trade back with New Orleans, and flipped it to Arizona for pick 79 and an extra third round selection next year. After doing so, I was happy to see Rodgers fall to this spot. The former Clemson pass catcher is slightly undersized, but his ability to create separation while running routes was something that I believe Miami is going to put a focus on in an attempt to surround Tua Tagovailoa with players that fit his preferred style of play. Rodgers also has return ability, so say goodbye to “Stone Hands” Jakeem Grant.
#82 – Brady Christensen – OT – BYU
Due to my one spot trade back with Washington in round one, I find myself with an additional third-round pick. That’s more ammunition to work with. I shoot my shot and end up with Brady Christensen from BYU. The former first-team All-American protected Zach Wilson’s blindside, keeping him squeaky clean all season long. This player can play all along the offensive line, so he may not stick at tackle, but if you can continue to build a wall to protect your young signal-caller, I say go for it!
#236 – Deommodore Lenoir – CB – Oregon
Yeah, that’s right. I made so many trades that I did not select rounds 4, 5, or 6. While that makes for a boring start to day three, I figure if you can move your selections up, so you have a crack at the more highly regarded players, you make the deals, and don’t worry about not having many selections in the “crap-shoot” rounds. Lenoir is my first 7th round pick, as Flores sure does love his defensive backs.
#258 – Paris Ford – Safety – Pittsburgh
Ford is a ball hawk, but can be easily baited into jumping routes prematurely. He will certainly benefit from coaching at the NFL level. If Flores can teach Ford some discipline in coverage, look out, as Ford has the skills to be a difference maker at the next level.
Well, there you have it. Mock draft season is over. The 2021 NFL Draft begins in just TWO DAYS, and I couldn’t be happier about it. No more wondering what gifts are under the tree. It’s time to open those shiny presents and put the new toys to work! Merry Christmas, Dolphins fans! May you get everything your heart desires. FINS UP!