I’m going to start with the negatives, and then have a happy ending later on with the positives. Not the Robert Kraft happy endings either.
First was Jaylen Waddle. I don’t mind the pick, as this kid seems to be highly touted. No doubts about his abilities or speed. The “negatives” surrounding him aren’t really his fault at all, as he doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game. Rather, the Dolphins blew this. Chris Grier gambled, overspent, and lost badly. How, you ask?
By almost all consensus, Waddle would have been there at #12 if we stayed put after the 49er deal. We went from 3rd to 12th and had an extra first round pick in 2022 and in 2023. Chris Grier probably wanted Kyle Pitts of JaMarr Chase. He thought they would be there at #6 (his first mistake). So he panicked (mistake #2) and overpaid to move up 6 spots (mistake #3). We gave up a first round pick next year to move up 6 spots, and STILL didn’t get the men we wanted.
Chris Grier, quite literally, gave away a first round 2022 draft pick to get a man he didn’t want. Inexcusable.
Let’s say we kept both first-round picks and stayed put at #12. The Eagles would be at 6, and they take DeVonta Smith. 7 Detroit still takes Sewell. 8 and 9 Carolina and Denver take the CBs they wanted. 10 Dallas takes Micah Parsons. 11 Giants trade to the Bears, who select QB Fields. 12 Miami Dolphins select Jaylen Waddle.
There are no two ways about this. Waddle woulda been there at 12. Grier blew this. Gave away a #1 for nothing.
Did you notice what the Cowboys and Patriots gave up to get their man? Nothing! Belichick sat back patiently and go the QB he wanted. Dallas traded down and STILL got the LB they wanted. Dolphins gave away a #1 pick to trade up, and did NOT get either man they wanted. An F to Chris Grier so far.
There is a small, fast WR in Kansas City. I won’t mention his name, because every single draft report has said his name 5,000 times when talking about Jaylen Waddle. We get it. We know who Waddle compares to. We can’t fault Waddle for the comparisons people make, but it seems like his only skill is to catch a short pass and then turn on the burners. Could be a great addition. I think of Jakeem Grant as that type of player, but last season, Grant’s stone hands cost us many receptions. He killed many drives with his drops. Let’s hope Waddle upgrades that.
I won’t judge Waddle’s character yet, because I don’t know the young man, but he doesn’t seem too humble. He mentioned that he wants to show off his skill set. I know it’s just words, but I prefer someone who says the normal stuff like I’ll do anything the coaches want me to do. I don’t know…his interviews so far rubbed me the wrong way.
Plus, don’t forget when they recently asked him if Mack Jones or Tua was better, and Waddle said Mack Jones. Not very endearing!
So the kid’s game is solid, but this pick draws some negatives from me because Chris Grier blew it badly.
Now onto Jaelan Phillips. You know, the guy who quit the UCLA Bruins. Some say it was because of his numerous documented concussions. Others say it was because he wanted to be a musician and not a football player. Either way, we just drafted a guy with 6 previous concussions. A guy who retired and gave up on football. Then changed his mind. Then came back, but wanted to go to a different team on the other side of the country. Then…well, who knows what is next? Let’s just hope Chris Grier vetted Phillips’ passion and health more carefully then he vetted who the Falcons and Bengals were going to select.
Okay, those are the negatives.
On the positive side, it seems like Waddle’s skills are for real. He can catch and then turn on the afterburners. His routes are precise. He can be a kick and punt returner (Although I’d be hard pressed to take that job away from Jakeem Grant). He and Tua have some familiarity. The Dolphins ran about 5,000 bubble screens last year, and none of them seemed to work. But Waddle is a step above the likes of Malcolm Perry or Lynn Bowden. I don’t see Waddle getting tackled by the first man. Even if our awful blocking fails as usual, Waddle can make guys miss.
As for Phillips, he can be a beast. Emmanuel Ogbah had a great year, and he might get better if Phillips can draw some attention to himself. He essentially replaces Shaq Lawson. If might take him a while, but if he can stay healthy, he seems to be far more intimidating than Lawson ever was for us.