The Dolphins Have A 1St-Round Draft Pick For The 1St Time Since 2021 With Several Needs To Address

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel talks with reporters during an AFC coaches availability at the NFL owners meetings, Monday, March 25, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel talks with reporters during an AFC coaches availability at the NFL owners meetings, Monday, March 25, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Mike McDaniel joked during last year's NFL draft that he couldn't wait to finally have a first-round pick.

The Miami Dolphins head coach hasn't had that luxury since taking over the team in 2022, but that will change this year, as the Dolphins will pick on the opening night of the draft for the first time since 2021.

Miami will have the 21st selection, along with five more in this year's draft, leaving the team with more flexibility in the opening round than it has had in years — and general manager Chris Grier said Miami is weighing all of its options.

“I think you have to be open to everything," Grier said earlier in the offseason. "If it’s a possibility of moving up or moving down for something and get in a better position to get a player that we may say is a home run for us, we’re definitely open to moving up. If someone wants to drop to our spot and we move down and pick up extra picks, we’re very open to that too as well.”

Miami didn't select until the third round in 2022 after using its first- and second-round picks to acquire Tyreek Hill from Kansas City. The Dolphins forfeited their 2023 first-rounder after they violated the league’s antitampering policy by communicating with Tom Brady and Sean Payton, and they traded another first-round pick away to acquire star pass rusher Bradley Chubb from Denver.

The Dolphins have lost a slew of free agents that were key contributors to a roster coming off a second consecutive postseason berth. Standout defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, right guard Rob Hunt and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel all signed deals elsewhere. And the Dolphins also cut linebacker Jerome Baker and veteran cornerback Xavien Howard, leaving the team with several holes to address in free agency and the draft.


Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for more yards (2,813) than any other wide receiver duo in the NFL in 2023. Miami has depth concerns at wide receiver beyond those two, which was evident late last season as Hill and Waddle dealt with injuries. Other priorities for Miami include adding help to the interior offensive line to protect quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins could also use another edge rusher, with Chubb (ACL) and Jaelan Phillips (Achilles tendon) coming off significant injuries.


The Dolphins appear to be set at running back after extending Raheem Mostert, who set career highs in rushing yards (1,012) and total touchdowns (21). The Dolphins also having speedy second-year running back De'Von Achane, who had 800 yards rushing and 7.8 yards per carry his rookie season.


Miami needs a third receiving option behind Hill and Waddle. No other Dolphins receiver had more than 27 catches or 300 yards last season — their third-leading receiver was tight end Durham Smythe with 366 yards on 35 catches. The Dolphins have not addressed the position yet in free agency, although they held a visit with veteran Odell Beckham Jr. in March and made him an offer, according to McDaniel.

“Things went great with him,” McDaniel said during the NFL's league meetings last month. “We did make him an offer and business takes time, especially with players like Odell, who’s had a phenomenal career and still has really good football in front of him and has options. I think those conversations will be ongoing. We’ll see where they go.”


While the Dolphins are set at quarterback with Tagovailoa, whom Grier said the team intends to reach a long-term deal with, Miami could use a late-round pick to add insurance at the backup spot. Backup Mike White is set to become a free agent next offseason, and Skylar Thompson did not play last season. The Dolphins could also use a tackle to develop under veteran left tackle Terron Armstead, who was sidelined multiple games the past two seasons because of injuries and briefly considered retirement after the 2023 season.


The Dolphins also forfeited their 2023 third-rounder for tampering and sent their fourth to the Broncos in the deal that brought over Chubb.