The Dolphins X Factor For 2021 NFL Season, And It’s Not Tua Tagovailoa
The Miami Dolphins are in need of some new weapons on offense, and they could end up having some big help on the other side of the ball. This is why the team has traded up in the draft to select Tua Tagovailoa. The former Alabama quarterback was the Heisman Trophy winner last season. He’ll join Ryan Tannehill, who is coming off a season in which he threw for 4,192 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
There are a few things the Miami Dolphins have going for them to win the Super Bowl this year, and one of them is their potential quarterback of the future.
The uber-talented Miami Dolphins go into 2021 with their eyes set firmly on a postseason spot after finishing 10-6 and barely missing out on the playoffs in 2020. It’ll be a great season to watch Tua Tagovailoa and the rest of the team’s bright young core develop as they fight for the top position in the AFC East with the Patriots and Bills in their third year under head coach Brian Flores.
On both sides of the ball, Miami has a talented skill position group led by Tagovailoa and versatile running back Myles Gaskin, as well as an outstanding pass receiving group led by Will Fuller V, Devante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki. While the Dolphins are perhaps even more exciting on defense, as they maintain much of the same squad that led the NFL in takeaways in 2020, headed by Xavien Howard, the league’s interception leader in both 2018 and 2020 with seven interceptions (10).
To move from excellent to great, the Fins will require young players to make significant strides in their development, as well as breakthrough seasons from lesser-known players. These kind of X variables will be crucial for Miami to win big games when they count most, something they were unable to accomplish during a four-game losing streak at the conclusion of 2020. That run, which includes a defeat to the lowly Broncos and a 56-26 thrashing at the hands of divisional rival Bills in a crucial Week 17 match to decide the Wild Card winners, would be intolerable in 2021 for the Dolphins now that they have a team that has played together for a season.
However, the question remains: who will be Miami’s X factor? When it counts the most, who will take their game to the next level? Despite the uncertainty surrounding Will Fuller’s health (not to mention his one-game ban for PEDs) and Miami’s lack of a genuine WR2 last season, the solution is Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins’ 6th overall selection in this year’s draft.
Waddle, a shorter receiver at 5’9″, possesses game-breaking speed and a deep threat potential, as shown by his 4.37 40-yard sprint. He also has the potential to go up and win 50/50 balls, much like Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown, simply because his ball skills and natural sense for going and grabbing the football are among the finest we’ve seen from a small receiver in a long time. His NFL.com prospect profile indicates he has virtually no flaws.
His arrival to the club will make opposition defenses a nightmare, particularly in games when Fuller is healthy. Those two have the potential to be two of the top ten deep threats in the NFL.
What Waddle will offer as a complement to Devante Parker and Mike Gesicki is maybe even more essential than his ability as a stand-alone player. Last year, the Dolphins didn’t have a single receiver with an 800-yard receiving yardage, and Parker would have easily surpassed that mark if he had another weapon to spread the field and allow him to do what he does best, which is win routes underneath with his fast feet and flexible route tree.
The Dolphins defense is capable of winning postseason games; the offense, on the other hand, has yet to develop that killing instinct. Jaylen Waddle’s emergence and dependability will be critical in this regard.
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