The Miami Dolphins added seven new players during the 2021 NFL draft, with the hope the rookie class can make an impact and hopefully sooner rather than later.
But the seven-player class, from Jaylen Waddle to Gerrid Doaks, also is likely to affect individual players already on the roster — either positively or negatively.
Here then is a list of Dolphins winners and losers from the 2021 draft:
WINNER - QB TUA TAGOVAILOA
That one should be obvious. A focus of the offseason was helping Tagovailoa take the next step in 2021 and adding the playmaking Jaylen Waddle, with his ability to turn any short gain into a long touchdown should do wonders for the second-year quarterback. The additions of Liam Eichenberg and Hunter Long also could help, though it's too early to tell how big of a role each will play in the upcoming season.
LOSER - WR/KR JAKEEM GRANT
Grant needed only five years to become the most prolific returner in Dolphins history, but the reality is he still hasn't develop into a reliable wide receiver. That spells bad news for him considering that both Waddle and second-round pick Jevon Holland have punt return experience. Combine the Dolphins' depth at wide receiver and the minimized impact of kickoff returners, and it's difficult to picture Grant on the 2021 roster considering the team can save all but $600,000 of his $4.7 million cap charge if he becomes a post-June 1 cut, according to overthecap.com.
WINNER - DE EMMANUEL OGBAH
Ogbah was a revelation as a free agent pick-up last season, but the reality is he could have been even better with maybe a bigger threat on the other side. That's what first-round pick Jaelan Phillips represents — and, yes, we understand that Andrew Van Ginkel had his moments last season.
LOSER - TE MIKE GESICKI AND/OR DURHAM SMYTHE
The selection of Hunter Long in the third round certainly was interesting because while he's a good tight end prospect — Scott Pioli predicted a Pro Bowl for him in the near future — this certainly wasn't a need pick. Actually, this looked like a pick made with the future in mind because both Gesicki and Smythe are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next offseason. And after having added Long, it's really difficult to envision the Dolphins extending both Gesicki and Smythe.
WINNER - RB MYLES GASKIN
This was a case of winning because of nothing happening, as in the Dolphins not taking a running back before the seventh round. The Dolphins reportedly were targeting Javonte Williams with the 36th overall pick and he instantly would have become the projected starter. But since that didn't happen, it's likely that Gaskin will enter training camp at the top of the depth chart.
LOSER - S ERIC ROWE OR BOBBY McCAIN
When the offseason began and potential salary cap casualties were mentioned, Rowe and McCain pretty much always were included because the Dolphins can save in excess of $5 million in cap space by cutting either one with little dead space, per overthecap.com. The selection of Jevon Holland in the second round followed that of Brandon Jones in the third round last year, and those two should expect to get a lot of playing time in 2021. With the Dolphins needing to create additional cap space, it's easy to project Rowe or McCain being moved.