More mocks than not have projected the Miami Dolphins to take a receiver with the sixth overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, but their fans apparently would be OK with Oregon tackle Penei Sewell.
At least that's what a Twitter poll reveals if the option of taking either tight end Kyle Pitts or LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is off the board by the time the Dolphins get to make their pick.
In a choice among Sewell, Alabama wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, or "other," Sewell came in first with 42 percent of the votes, followed by Smith at 30, Waddle at 24 and "other" at 4 percent.
Being honest, this actually was surprising given the social media outcry for the need to provide better options on offense to give Tua Tagovailoa as much help as possible.
As for Smith over Waddle as the wide receiver of choice past Chase, this is not surprising given Smith's Heisman-winning performance in 2020.
Not long after the Dolphins made their two trades involving top 10 picks, moving from 3 to 12 and then to 6, I broke down what I figured would be the five potential options at that spot: Pitts, Chase, Sewell, Smith and Waddle.
My ranking of the five back then was Pitts, Chase, Waddle, Sewell and Smith.
One month later, the only change I might make would be flopping Waddle and Sewell.
The reason is simple: The Dolphins are much better at wide receiver right now than they are on the offensive line.
Yes, there are durability concerns at wide receiver because of previous injuries sustained by DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and newcomer Will Fuller V, but there's also proven veteran talent.
On the offensive line, three of the projected starters are second-year players, who had varying degrees of success in 2020 and who might become quality NFL players. But there's no guarantee of that.
And it says here a quality offensive line will get the Dolphins further than a quality wide receiver corps.
The question, of course, will be to gauge how much better Sewell projects as an NFL player compared to other offensive linemen in the draft versus how Smith/Waddle project as NFL players compared to other wide receivers.
That's an evaluation the Dolphins not doubt already have made what ultimately should dictate their decision.
THE GREAT 49ERS DEBATE
Just got word that apparently Trey Lance has overtaken Mac Jones as the betting favorite to be selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the third overall pick.
It still remains difficult to imagine that the 49ers gave up TWO future first-round picks to move up from 12 to 3 without knowing at the time who their target was given the hefty price they paid to move up.
Sure, it's possible they've known all along they wanted Lance but kept toying with the media, but it sure doesn't feel that way.
OTHER TRADE-DOWN SCENARIOS FOR THE DOLPHINS
But here are couple of things to think about.
Simply put, would (and should) the Dolphins consider trading back further down in the first round to pick up additional assets?
For example, what if they're on the clock at 6, Pitts and Chase are gone, and the Chargers call looking to move up from 13 to take Sewell? Or how about if the Chicago Bears, looking to move up from 20 to land a franchise quarterback, makes that call?
From this end, it again comes down to how much better the Dolphins see one of the targets at 6 becoming in the NFL than prospects that might wind up at 13 or 20.
Because additional draft capital is never bad.
RANKING THE RECEIVERS
Quick thoughts here on why I like Chase, Waddle and Smith in that order at wide receiver.
Well, one NFL comp for Chase is Anquan Boldin, who the Dolphins should have drafted in the second round in 2003 instead of Eddie Moore and who went on to have a borderline Hall of Fame career. And when I look at Chase, with his strength, toughness and feistiness, I can't help but see Jarvis Landry. Except Chase is faster. Much faster.
The NFL comp is Tyreek Hill. That's all you should have to hear. And, as pointed out in this article yesterday, it was Waddle — and not Smith — who was Alabama's most productive wide receiver in 2020 before Waddle was sidelined by a fractured ankle. So if so much of the fervor for Smith is about his numbers last year, just don't forget about those first four games.
Then we get to Smith, who is an absolutely wonderful NFL prospect. Let's get that out of the way immediately to eliminate any notion of a personal bias against him. The numbers he put up last year absolutely are insane, but projecting somebody to the NFL entails more. Smith's stature, like it or not, always will be a concern — despite somebody like Isaac Bruce having a great success at a similar size. Along with the concerns about durability, one would expect opposing defenses to get very physical with Smith at or around the line of scrimmage, and his ability to consistently beat press coverage will be tested. The bottom line is that those question marks put him a tad behind Chase and Waddle from this vantage point, even though he's also got enough attributes to become a very good NFL receiver.