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Great 2021 Draft, Mediocre 2021 UFA Class, and the Giants

The Dolphins will be facing some of their offseason acquisitions when they face New York at Hard Rock Stadium

It's been well documented, particularly lately, that the Miami Dolphins have gotten some significant contributions from the 2021 draft class, a group headed by the three J's (Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland).

It's a good thing, too, that the rookies have been able to make an immediate impact because the Dolphins really haven't gotten much contribution from their veteran acquisitions of the spring.

And, as fate would have it, they'll be looking at some of the biggest misfires when they face the New York Giants on Sunday.

Allow us to explain.

Between free agency (the UFA kind) and trades, the Dolphins brought in 14 veterans this year prior to the start of training camp. Six of them no longer are with the team. Three of them are with the Giants.

That group includes linebacker Benardrick McKinney, interior offensive lineman Matt Skura and tackle Isaiah Wilson.

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Yes, that Isaiah Wilson. He's not going to play against the Dolphins on Sunday — unless the Giants elevate him from the practice squad for the first time since they signed him Sept. 30. That he's with an NFL team in any capacity at this point, though, is pretty good considering how his very brief stint with the Dolphins went this past March.

McKinney was with the Dolphins much longer (comparatively speaking), but he had to accept a pay cut from his previous deal with Houston in training camp before the Dolphins sent him packing anyway. He will be playing his sixth game for the Giants on Sunday after first signing to the practice squad in mid-October and eventually being signed to the active roster.

And then there's Skura, who has started the Giants' last eight games, this after he couldn't get a single first-team snap with the Dolphins in training camp after arriving as an unrestricted free agent from the Ravens.


For the record, the other veteran acquisitions who failed to stick with the Dolphins past training camp were two more offensive linemen — D.J. Fluker and Jermaine Eluemunor — and cornerback CreVon Le'Blanc.

The eight veterans still on the roster all were UFAs, and right now the only ones playing key roles in the Dolphins' recent surge are defensive lineman Adam Butler and linebacker Duke Riley.

Three of them are on IR, including wide receiver Will Fuller V, along with RB Malcolm Brown and LB Brennan Scarlett, while Cethan Carter is playing almost strictly special teams, Jacoby Brissett is the backup QB and John Jenkins is inactive more often than not lately.

That's why the contributions of the top four 2021 draft picks, including starting left tackle Liam Eichenberg, have been so significant.