The Dolphins were busy trading picks long before the 2021 draft got underway in late April and they wound up adding four players in the first 42 selections.
Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, safety Jevon Holland, and offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg join a roster that General Manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores have overhauled over the last three years. The goal of all of that work has been to build a playoff team and falling short of that mark in 2021 would be a disappointment.
It would also be a mark against quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The fifth overall pick of the 2020 draft had his ups and downs as a rookie and will come under a lot of scrutiny if they play a role in the team falling short in his second season. Flores told Peter King of Football Morning in America that everything isn’t on Tagovailoa’s shoulders, but acknowledged the importance of his improvement.
“I never like to put it on one player,” Flores said. “I think we’ve got a lot of young players, and we’re looking for all of those players as well as really everyone on our team to improve in a variety of ways. If they’re putting all the work in, I expect them to improve, get better, and perform better. Tua is obviously at the top of that list. He’s been working. All signs point to — or I would say based on my experience — he’s doing everything necessary to make some improvements. That’s really all we can ask for. My thing is if you put the work in, the results will take care of themselves.”
Whether it’s about one player or not, a lot will be riding on those results in Miami.