The news came through earlier this week that the Miami Dolphins would not only be in attendance at the 2021 Senior Bowl, but that their coaching staff will be on hand in full force to coach one of the two teams of NFL hopefuls. It’s a massive win for the Dolphins, who will reap the rewards of being so skewed towards building their franchise through the NFL Draft under general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores.
Who are the prospects to note for Flores and the Dolphins ahead of the event, which will be held at the end of the month in Mobile, Alabama?
Here are a number of possible “scheme fits” or players at positions of need of note. The more of these players Miami can get their hands on, the better.
Nov 28, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Elijah Molden (3) and defensive back Alex Cook (5) react following a third down stop against the Utah Utes during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
CB Elijah Molden, Washington
Molden is a gifted cornerback who, despite the feel of redundancy in Miami’s depth chart, could provide a boost. Miami has been deliberate with their handling of 1st-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to keep him on the perimeter, where as Molden has spent a lot of time in the nickel. The 2021 offseason will be a great chance to explore upgrading that position for Miami, which has been manned by 2019 UDFA Nik Needham.
Oct 10, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5) is sacked by Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Patrick Jones II (91) during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
DE Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
Jones meets plenty of the Dolphins’ thresholds to play up front. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he’s got the length and density to fit right in with Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah along the Dolphins’ front. Jones II is a hand in the dirt rusher and despite Miami’s development of LB Andrew Van Ginkel and the production from the linebackers in pass rush, more depth at the true “end” position would be a good idea.
Nov 28, 2020; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Ainias Smith (0) drops a pass while being covered by LSU Tigers linebacker Jabril Cox (19) in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
LB Jabril Cox, LSU
The Dolphins need more options to cover in the middle of the field. Cox transferred from North Dakota State to take on the 2020 season with the LSU Tigers and has plenty of appeal for what he can do in coverage and space. Is he the right piece to add to the puzzle for the Dolphins’ linebacker group? A week in Mobile may help Miami find out.
Dec 28, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oklahoma Sooners center Creed Humphrey (56) prepares to hike the ball during the 2019 Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinal game against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Humphrey has been a player long associated with Miami given the sore play of the interior offensive line. The interior was better in 2020 for the Dolphins, but it also wasn’t good. Humphrey is an early selection prospect with a wrestling background that shines at the point of attack. But is he pressed against his ceiling as a player? If so, Miami may opt for a more high-ceiling player. Mobile is a tough setting for offensive linemen with so much space for defenders to operate in drills; if Humphrey shines it would be a good sign.
Oct 12, 2019; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers offensive lineman Trey Smith (73) blocking in a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports
OG Trey Smith, Tennessee
If the Dolphins are looking for a long-term heir to Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Smith feels like the right candidate for the job. He’s massive and offers loads of punch power. Best of all, he was sampled some reps at left tackle at Tennessee — and while he may not play there full time, it does help to know that he’s experienced enough to go outside in a pinch if need be. Flexibility is the name of the game up front.
Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Trey Sermon (8) stiff arms Clemson Tigers safety Joseph Charleston (18) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
Few players helped themselves down the stretch of the 2020 season than Sermon, who exploded against Northwestern and Clemson in crunch time this season. If Miami is looking for a cheaper investment at running back, Sermon thrived in Ohio State’s spread attack and made good reads in the Buckeye’s zone concepts. Miami tried to operate the same way in much of 2020 — so it comes down to whether or not a new offense will require new ideologies and concepts.
Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Kadarius Toney (1) catches a touchdown pass against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Malachi Moore (13) during the first quarter in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
So you need some excitement at wide receiver? Look no further than Kadarius Toney, whose work in the open field is one of the most exciting film reels you’ll lay eyes on this winter. Toney is a RAC dynamo and given the fact that the Dolphins currently have none of that, this pairing would make a lot of sense. Mobile is a great chance to set the tone for Toney.
Michigan receiver Nico Collins makes a catch over Michigan State safety David Dowell during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.11162019 Ummsu 2ndhalf 13
WR Nico Collins, Michigan
Collins is something of a forgotten prospect because he did not play college football in 2020. But if Miami wants more receivers cut from the same cloth as DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, Collins is another target who wins with size and attacks the ball in the air. Best of all, Collins is very dynamic — he’s an explosive athlete who will test well. His first impression of the 2021 draft cycle comes in Mobile and Miami, with their needs at wide receiver, should hope for a front row seat.