Dolphins Notebook: Mock Draft Musings, Potential History in the Making, FA Update, and More

The Miami Dolphins could make NFL history in in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft
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As we begin the month of April, we can expect to see more and more mock drafts popping up, including from some of the biggest names in the business.

The latest example came longtime ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, who presented his latest offering Thursday morning.

This mock had the two players we ranked as the best options for the sixth overall pick for the Dolphins already gone, with Atlanta taking tight end Kyle Pitts at 4 and Cincinnati following up with LSU wide receiver at Ja'Marr Chase.

It was one of the scenarios were explored after Pitts and Chase both lit up their Pro Day on Wednesday, though we didn't have the same response from the Dolphins.

In McShay's mock, the Dolphins followed the choice of three QBs in the first three picks and Pitts and Chase by taking Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

Based on college production and potential, that certainly would be a logical pick for the Dolphins, though it still says here the durability concerns given Smith's stature would make that a risky pick.

Where it gets interesting from this end is that McShay has Detroit moving down from 7 to 8 so that Carolina can take North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at that spot and the Lions would follow up by taking Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

What we would suggest from that mock would be for the Dolphins to engage Carolina in a trade down to 8 and then take whichever of the two Alabama wide receivers Detroit wouldn't take at 7 or even take Oregon tackle Penei Sewell.

Under that scenario, the Dolphins could pick up an extra, say, third-round pick to select a comparable player.

With the second first-round pick, the 18th overall, McShay had the Dolphins selecting USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING?

If the Dolphins end up taking either Smith or Waddle in the first round, they will be making NFL history — though the Bengals could beat them to it.

Allow us to explain.

Since the start of the so-called common draft (AFL and NFL both drafting together) in 1967, no team has ever selected a quarterback in the first round and taken a wide receiver from the same school the following year.

Well, the Dolphins could get that done by taking either Smith or Waddle to follow 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, though Cincinnati could do it at number 5 by picking Chase to follow their pick of Joe Burrow with the first overall selection in the 2020 draft.

For the record, the Dolphins have taken four quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL draft (Bob Griese, Dan Marino, Ryan Tannehill and Tagovailoa) and five wide receivers (Randal Hill, O.J. McDuffie, Yatil Green, Ted Ginn Jr. and DeVante Parker).

FREE AGENCY UPDATE

While the Dolphins signed defensive tackle John Jenkins as an unrestricted free agent, they also officially lost tackle Julien Davenport earlier this week when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

That has left two Dolphins UFAs still unsigned and looking for a team: safety Kavon Frazier and running back DeAndre Washington. Wide receiver Isaiah Ford and quarterback Jake Rudock also are without a team after not being tendered as a restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent, respectively.

This is the consecutive year Frazier has had to wait a bit to sign as a free agent. Remember that he joined the Dolphins last year on a one-year deal on the final day of the NFL draft.

Of the seven UFAs who have signed with other teams, four have gone to AFC East opponents: Ted Karras and Davon Godchaux to New England, and Matt Breida and Matt Haack to Buffalo.

Along with Davenport, the others were Ryan Fitzpatrick signing with Washington and Kamu Grugier-Hill signing with the Houston Texans.

LEAGUE MATTERS

The NFL released Thursday the list of rules and bylaws proposal on which owners soon will be voting.

In terms of playing rules, two proposals stand out:

-- There's the so-called "fourth-and-15" that would give teams the opportunity to attempt to gain 15 yards on one down to retain possession after a score instead of having to attempt an onside kick (that practically never succeeds).

From this end, it's a yes vote. And that's purely from a viewership appeal perspective because as it currently stands any team needing to recover an expected onside kick to come back pretty much is doomed and it renders too many late-game situations borderline meaningless.

-- Then there's the new overtime setup whereby a team would choose where to spot the ball to start the extra period and the other would have the option of starting overtime on offense or defense. Overtime would revert to sudden death and the option to pick the spot or play offense or defense would be determined by a coin toss.

This actually would get a no from me because although it would add an element of strategy to overtime, it doesn't solve the issue of fairness in terms of one team possibly never having the ball on offense, particularly when a field goal would win the game. Truth is, there's not easy way to make things completely even in overtime, unless it's adopting the college method of alternating possessions from the plus-25-yard line.

There's also a proposal to eliminate overtime altogether in preseason games, something that everybody should agree needed to have been done a long time.

In terms of bylaws, the most interesting one involves jersey numbers and the idea of expanding the options for most positions.

Under the proposal,

-- quarterbacks, punters and kickers still would have to worn a number from 1-19;

--defensive backs could now wear any number from 1-49 (currently 20-49); 

-- running backs and fullbacks could wear anything from 1-49 and 80-89 (currently 20-49);

-- tight ends and H-backs could wear from 1-49 and 80-89 (currently 40-49 and 80-89);

-- wide receivers could wear from 1-49 and 80-89 (currently from 10-19 and 80-89);

-- offensive linemen could wear from 50-79 (guards and tackles currently from 60-79);

-- linebackers could wear 1-59 and 90-99 (currently 40-59 and 90-99);

-- defensive lineman numbers would remain from 50-79 and 90-99.

The number proposal was submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs.