Dolphins Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2021

Dolphins Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    With two first-rounders and plenty of ammunition after that, the Miami Dolphins are in great position to improve their roster through the 2021 NFL draft. 

    That's great news for some current Dolphins players. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats, and the talent level on South Beach is about to get higher if Miami brass plays its cards right. Thus far, general manager Chris Grier has done enough to earn a level of trust from the fanbase. 

    After all, this is a squad that saw massive improvement in 2020, yet they have the draft capital of a team coming off a horrible season.

    That should give them the opportunity to bolster the roster with multiple difference-makers. Which means some people's outlook on the 2021 season is about to change. 

    Whether it's an improved situation, a new role or more competition for touches and snaps, these players are set to be the most impacted by the draft. 

QB Tua Tagovailoa

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    This is the obvious choice to get this list started. The future success of Tua Tagovailoa as the franchise quarterback could hinge on this draft.

    The Alabama product has some limitations. He's an accurate passer with good mobility in the pocket, but he doesn't have the huge arm or elite athleticism of some of his peers. That doesn't mean he can't succeed in the NFL.

    Like pretty much every other quarterback, it means he needs the right talent around him to succeed. 

    Whether that's additional protection on the offensive line from a first-round tackle or guard, an elite wide receiver like Ja'Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith early in the first round or the ultimate Swiss Army knife Kyle Pitts, Tagovailoa's situation in Miami is set to drastically improve with the blue-chip prospects the Dolphins will have the opportunity to take with the sixth pick. 

    Last season, Tagovailoa threw 11 touchdowns to five interceptions while going 6-3 as starter. That was throwing to Mike Gesicki as his only consistently healthy target of note and playing behind a line that ranked 28th in the league, according to PFF. 

    Tagovailoa has to prove himself as the man for the job, but he should be in a better position to do it in 2021.

T/G Robert Hunt

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Robert Hunt proved in his rookie season that he's capable of starting in the NFL. The only question that remains is what position.

    Hunt played at both guard and tackle in his rookie campaign. The 6'6" 323-pound mauler's run blocking and physicality translated right away, and his pass protection wasn't horrible. He surrendered three sacks on 722 snaps, per PFF, but he was also the site's fifth-highest rated right tackle from Weeks 12-16. 

    After the draft, Hunt should have a better idea of where he will play more permanently. 

    Who the Dolphins decide to take with the sixth and 18th picks will say a lot about how the Dolphins view the lineman. With Austin Jackson at left tackle, Hunt is likely to get kicked inside if the team spends a first-round pick on a tackle. 

    That wouldn't be the worst idea. Hunt has All-Pro potential if he's able to stay at guard. His athleticism also makes him a starting-caliber tackle, so the Dolphins will likely tip their hand on their plan based on the draft. 

WR DeVante Parker

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    DeVante Parker has had six seasons to prove himself as a legitimate No. 1 receiver and hasn't done it.

    Since being taken with the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft, he's had one season with over 1,000 yards. Some of that lack of production has been injuries. Parker has only played all 16 games one time, and it was the best year of his career in 2019. 

    After years of trying to shoehorn the receiver into carrying the corps, the Dolphins should be looking to add a pass-catcher who can ease the burden on Parker and allow him to play the role of No. 2.

    Parker may not be able to beat the best coverage on a consistent basis, but he would be a high-end second receiver lining up across from a true threat. Add in Mike Gesicki's presence over the middle and Parker is really the third option in the passing game. 

    That's a role that fits his talents well and would allow him to thrive. He may never live up to his draft status, but moving him down the target list could create the opportunity for him to be more efficient and thus raise the ceiling of the Dolphins offense.