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The Miami Dolphins need help at wide receiver. You already know this. But what you may not know is some of the new contenders to become Miami Dolphins this spring at the position — and there are a number of them coming onto the Dolphins’ radar courtesy of the 2021 Senior Bowl. The most prominent among them is Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge; who has spent the first two days of practice in Mobile shredding any and all comers in one on ones.
There’s plenty to like. He’s fast (4.33s 40-yard dash, fast). He’s slippery. He creates separation. He creates explosive plays. Eskridge feels like a home run for a Dolphins team who simply needs help crafting explosive plays. But is he a fit for the Dolphins based on where we can now expect him to be drafted?
That is the million dollar question.
Eskridge’s performance this week has all but guaranteed he will be a top-100 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, meaning Miami will have five shots at him unless they manufacture some additional picks. Miami’s top selections sit at 3, 18, 36, 50 and 83 in the pecking order. You can cross the first two selections off from a possible fit — he’s not going to generate that much buzz and get drafted in the top-20.
But this is where things get interesting. Eskridge is an older prospect and he’s played defense as recently as 2019 for the Broncos program. For all of his success as a route runner, there seems to be more awaiting beneath the surface. But the risk of a 24-year old rookie is that by the time a player like Eskridge adjusts to the mental aside of the game, his physical skill set will begin to fall off.
So where do you covet that type of player?
For the Dolphins, Eskridge probably won’t be around by 83, leaving just the two 2nd-round picks as fits from a value and demand perspective. And given the depth of the wide receiver class, attacking him at No. 36 overall feels ambitious. Eskridge brings everything Miami needs at the wide receiver position. But they should be stubborn in avoiding reaching to guarantee to land him — meaning if he’s on the board at No. 50 overall, he becomes an ideal draft target for Tua Tagovailoa moving forward.
We’ll see how realistic that is in the coming weeks and months as the NFL Draft process puts the Senior Bowl in the rear-view mirror.