The Miami Dolphins have been one of the most active teams in the 2021 NFL Draft. With the NFL’s annual selection event just one week away and with rumors swirling of more trades to come, multiple sources close to Pro Football Network suggest that Chris Grier has a specific player in his sights. If he’s available with the sixth overall pick, the Dolphins are expected to select Florida’s Kyle Pitts.
Speaking on the April 21 episode of Draft Insiders, PFN’s Chief NFL Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline shared inside information with Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo:
“I’m told that the Dolphins, right now, are very content where they’re at because they’re either going to take Pitts or one of the outstanding wide receivers. Right now, if they stand pat, it looks like the pick is going to be Pitts.”
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Will Kyle Pitts be the pick for the Miami Dolphins at No. 6?
Pauline’s assertion that Pitts is likely to be the pick at No. 6 for the Dolphins corroborates information that sources close to the franchise tell PFN about Miami’s plans. The selection would make perfect sense. Miami needs to surround quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with offensive weaponry, and Pitts is arguably the greatest weapon in the class.
The Florida tight end enjoyed an astonishing year. He displayed sensational pass-catching ability, hauling in 43 receptions for 770 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns at a ridiculous 17.9 yards per catch. He is essentially a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. His athletic performance at Florida’s Pro Day only confirmed he is an exceptional athlete.
Could Miami make a move again?
Despite all the trade rumors, don’t expect the Dolphins to make a move up to grab their “guy.” If he’s available at No. 6, they’ll presumably take him. If he’s not there, Grier could pick up the phone and call other teams, as Pauline explains.
“I’ve not heard anything about them being interested in moving up. What I’ve heard is they’d be interested in moving down. But they’re not really going to move down a whole lot of spots, from what I’ve heard. I’m told that if they could move down a few slots to get one of the receivers, they’re open to that.”
According to sources close to PFN, the phone has already been ringing. Although specific teams have not been divulged, we were told that “interest is high” and that Grier “likes to deal.” That much is apparent from the trades the Dolphins have executed in this 2021 NFL Draft process.
If not Pitts, then a different pass catcher will be the pick
If they don’t land Pitts at No. 6 and trade back, who is the likely pick? There are three outstanding receivers in the class in Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. They’re all uniquely talented. Still, they all have their own complications as far as the Dolphins are concerned, as Pauline details in speaking about Smith, who weighed in at 166 pounds at Combine medicals last week.
“Somebody said to me, somebody close to the organization, they said when push comes to shove, they don’t know if Chris Grier is going to draft a receiver that is under 170 pounds. So, if they move down — it’s a possibility — I think it’ll only be a few slots, and it will be whatever wide receiver is there. It could be Smith. It could be Waddle. I’m told that if they move down, then all of a sudden Chase comes back into the conversation.”
Could players that opted out be barred from being selected by the Dolphins?
The latter point is interesting. One of the reasons touted for the Dolphins originally trading out of the third overall pick with the San Francisco 49ers was that some within the organization weren’t willing to take a shot on players that opted out of the 2020 college football season.
Sources effectively confirmed the reasoning this week. PFN was told that Chase has a “big grade for play but is being knocked for opting out.” Described as the “clear top WR on our board,” the former LSU wide receiver may prove too good an opportunity to pass up.
“They didn’t want to take Chase because he opted out,” concludes Pauline. “But, there comes a point in time where Chase is just too great a value to pass up. So, I’m told if they move down — and Chase is there — he’s going to be part of the conversation.”
Dolphins’ plans at No. 18 are clearer with one week until the NFL Draft
The conversation has been focused on the sixth overall pick. Yet, the Dolphins have two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. For the longest time, the 18th overall pick has been associated by many — myself included — to be the optimal landing spot for Alabama running back Najee Harris.
However, according to Pauline, this is becoming increasingly unlikely.
“Harris is still in the conversation. But, my sense from talking to people is it’s probably not going to be Harris at 18. What I was told tonight is look for the Dolphins to move towards a pass rusher at 18. If Kwity Paye is there, I think it’s a great fit for a Brian Flores type of player.”
“We’ve talked about Azeez Ojulari. I can’t get a feel for how much they do or don’t like Zaven Collins. Obviously, Jaelan Phillips, would they take him at 18? I don’t know. But, what I’m hearing right now at 18, moving away from Harris, and moving towards a pass rusher.”
It’s just one week until we find out for sure what the Dolphins will do in the 2021 NFL Draft. Right now, it’s either stand pat for Pitts or try to trade back for a different pass catcher.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.