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The Dolphins add pass rushing depth in the NFL draft and address their need at receiver

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NFL Draft Football
Former player Richmond Webb meets with Miami Dolphins fans during the second round of the NFL football draft, Friday, April 26, 2024, in Detroit. Paul Sancya / AP

After losing a handful key contributors in free agency and releasing several more to save money, the Miami Dolphins used the NFL draft to add depth with players they feel can develop into starters.

General manager Chris Grier has taken win-now approach over the past two seasons, adding pricey stars including Tyreek Hill and Jalen Ramsey through free agency and making trades to build a contending roster. Grier still wants to win, even after selecting several players with raw talent but in need of coaching and development.

"We're always talking about how we think the player fits in or what he can contribute this year possibly," Grier said. "There's no guarantees or absolutes, but we feel strongly in the players and believe in them. And we're still trying to win this year. This is not about worrying about two, three years down the line. We're all about having the best team possible to win games this season."

The Dolphins used the 21st overall pick to select Penn State linebacker Chop Robinson, who might need to become an immediate contributor while linebackers Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb rehab season-ending injuries from 2023.

Miami addressed its needs at wide receiver on Saturday, drafting Malik Washington of Virginia in the sixth round and USC's Tahj Washington in the seventh.

Grier has said Miami expects to extend quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, which could leave the Dolphins in a salary cap crunch with several other players potentially vying for extensions. With that in mind, he attempted to replenish the roster with some low-cost talent.

"We had a deliberate approach to the entire draft on getting guys on the team that would compete and make us better right now," coach Mike McDaniel said. "Some guys are determined by other people that they have a higher ceiling or whatever. We just get the guys in the building and let them prove that themselves."

The Dolphins had more immediate holes than pass rusher, but they did need depth behind Chubb and Phillips and with linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel leaving in free agency.

Robinson had just 11 1/2 sacks over three seasons with the Nittany Lions, but Grier said those statistics don't reflect his NFL ceiling.

"Is he a finished product? No. And I think he'd probably admit that to you as well," Grier said, "and not many players who come into the league are. So we think he has obviously the get-off and speed that everyone talks about as kind of rare and his athletic tools."

Robinson's fast first step, agility and athleticism have drawn comparisons to All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons.

Big 12 Pro Day Football
Houston offensive lineman Patrick Paul smiles during a drill in the Big 12 NCAA college NFL football pro day Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Frisco, Texas. LM Otero / AP

The Dolphins used their second-round pick to select Houston offensive tackle Patrick Paul, who has size and athleticism but will need to be developed into an NFL starter.

Paul is 6-foot-7 and more than 300 pounds with an 86-inch wingspan. His long arms allow him to be an effective blocker even when he's out of position, Grier said. But Paul's technique and timing need improvement.

"All is on the table, not because there's a hole, more because we're going to coach this guy to be the best player he can be," McDaniel said, "and we know he wants to be great."

The Dolphins feel Paul can be a swing tackle who can learn under offensive line coach Butch Barry and veteran right tackle Terron Armstead, who is expected to retire after the 2024 season.

McDaniel likes speed, which likely explains why the Dolphins traded into the fourth round to select running back Jaylen Wright of Tennessee despite seemingly being set at the position. Miami entered the third day of the draft without a fourth-rounder but traded a 2025 third-rounder to Philadelphia to take Robinson with the 120th pick.

Wright's 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine makes him a perfect fit for McDaniel's offense. He averaged 7.4 yards per rush for the Volunteers last season with 1,013 yards on 137 carries.

The Dolphins signed Raheem Mostert to a new contract in March that keeps the veteran in Miami through 2025, and De'Von Achane had a standout rookie year in 2023. Both rushers battled injuries last season, so bringing in speedy insurance makes sense.



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