Undrafted – The Network

How Not To Use A Top 10 Pick…

I think throwing a wide receiver screen in your own end zone might have sealed it for me. I am and always have been a very patient and positive Miami Dolphins fan, but golly am I being tested. Our offensive ‘coordinators’, lack the imagination to correctly utilise a player like Jaylen Waddle. They’re under qualified, we knew that, but the Dolphins are taking the approach to develop coaches within the system rather than bring them in from the outside. Okay, however, once again, we’re seeing a top draft pick being used incorrectly. At this point it seems we either draft talent and use it poorly, or just draft poorly in general. Minkah, Waddle, Tua. Talented, all being used badly. Noah Igbinoghene, Austin Jackson, Charles Harris, fine examples of drafting poorly.

While the offensive line struggles to give anybody the time to even collect the snap let alone throw it anywhere, fans are noting the pass on Oregon stud offensive tackle Penei Sewell already. But I think they might be a little bit more understanding if the offence knew how to utilise a guy like Jaylen Waddle. I mean, we did draft him 6th overall… surely there’s a plan? Right? Right?

Chris Grier is starting to lose the fan base at this point. With offensive tackle Austin Jackson having the pass blocking skills of a tree stump, and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene not even making it on the field. Both were first round picks, and the latter picked over every single running back in the 2020 draft. We’re talking Jonathan Taylor, JK Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Miami had their pick of the litter, and went for nickel corner Igbinoghene instead. Both of those are questionable as it is, and the fan base is divided on Tua too, putting it politely.

I personally think Tua is an excellent quarterback, we just can’t see it. Can’t see it because he was sacked three times in nine snaps, the ninth of which he exited the game in a blindside hit, after a total whiff from right tackle Jesse Davis. In all three of those scenarios, Tua was sacked in less than three seconds. Including the first play of the game, which I clocked as a 2.45 second sack. Not only is the line a horror show right now, but Myles Gaskin is one of the worst pass blocking running backs in the entire NFL. That’s another issue. My exact feelings on the blocking you can watch here, so if you get to the end of this article and want to see a Dolphins offensive line break down (don’t do it to yourself), the video is below.

Anyway, Jaylen Waddle. The very Jaylen Waddle that has explosive 4.3 speed. The same Waddle who graded a perfect 99.9 on PFF for deep targets in 2020. Now remember that Waddle didn’t play all that much in 2020 due to the ankle injury, but when he did play he was targeted on 7 occasions at 20 yards or deeper. On those seven targets he caught 6 of them, for an AVERAGE of 54.8 yards per catch. He contributed 329 yards and 3 touchdowns off of 6 catches.

But how did he fare with medium routes, between 10 and 20 yards? A 93.3 grade, 8 catches for 135 yards and a TD. He has blown right by an entire secondary on numerous occasions. He was the missing piece to a group of receivers who succeeded in possession catches in Miami. Devante Parker, and Mike Gesicki, your main pass catchers in 2020, who are not speed guys. You couldn’t push the ball down the field or stretch a defence. So you added Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller in order to achieve that. But so far, we haven’t stretched a defence at all.

Waddle has taken 32% of his receptions BEHIND the line of scrimmage. Why? You’re going to get him hurt. The blocking isn’t good enough on the perimeter and the play calling isn’t good enough to successfully create gaps for him either. What you’re asking him to do right now is perform miracles, and bail out shoddy play calling with jukes and weaving and bobbing through all 11 defenders all by himself. We need to be running far less wide receiver screens. As for the one in our own end zone, resulting in a safety? Well.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 26: Casey Hayward Jr. #29 of the Las Vegas Raiders tackles Jaylen Waddle #17 of the Miami Dolphins in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter of the game at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When you compare Waddle to his first round buddies, it makes it look even worse. How about this… Target depth of 9 yards or less for first round receivers in the 2021 NFL draft are as follows.

  • Ja’Marr Chase: 43.8%
  • Devonta Smith: 42.9%
  • Jaylen Waddle: 88%

I guess he’s very similar to Henry Ruggs though, and the two were used in almost identical fashion at Alabama. Probably a better comparison than Chase or Smith, right, so let’s give Miami the benefit of the doubt here. What was Henry Ruggs percentage for targets at 9 yards or less in his rookie season last year? 44.2%. Right. No excuse then huh?

88%. He is averaging one target per game deeper than 9 yards. It spells to me a total lack of competence. You are handing a Ferrari to a toddler and asking them to drive it. These two coordinators do not know how to utilise the number one talent you brought in during the off season. The 6th overall pick of the draft. Not a clue how to use him. It’s truly abysmal, and we are once again spoiling talent in south beach. I know it’s only been three games, but I have seen NOTHING at all that says to me this offence is going to begin to tick. It’s recipe for disaster. A young QB, with a terrible offensive line, and a run game you can’t rely on to win games single handedly, paired with two co coordinators who are not qualified to be running the show. You could maybe get away with one of those things if the others are adequate. But all of them being a very current problem? Horrific.

I stood on the side of Minkah Fitzpatrick when he requested a trade. You were asking him to do a million different things, which is fine, but let him get his feet under the table first. I remember he was on the field for 45% of our defensive snaps or something like that. In all different positions. The 11th overall pick, on the sideline for more than half of the defensive plays. Make it make sense, and what do you know, he’s a pro bowl talent who came from a Nick Saban line of pure breeds. Sound familiar?

What I will say is that Jevon Holland looks great. That’s it. That’s the only sentence of positivity I can muster about the Miami Dolphins right now.

Tua is the exact same problem. You’ve drafted a quarterback who built his legend off of pocket passing and sublime accuracy. So he needs an offensive line to succeed. He’s a pocket passer. He needs a pocket. That makes sense does it not?!

Can he read the field, go through his progressions, make decisions, in 2.45 seconds? No. Is he going to get badly injured and have his career ruined by the Miami Dolphins? Probably. Tua doesn’t have time to go to his second read, ever. It’s not possible. The pass blocking is so devastatingly poor that I’m beyond hopeful about it now and just mad. Miami are predictable, Miami are easy to defend against. It’s just bad. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, and for me, things need to change in the coaching department, and in the locker room before the trade deadline.

Surely Miami is an appealing gig to a young, talented offensive mind. A chance to really prove yourself, with all those weapons? Where’s our Shanahan, McVay type brain? Why can’t we have a Joe Brady?

Figure it out Miami. You have weapons of equal talent level in your receiver room to near enough any other franchise in the league. How do you think the Chiefs would be able to use someone as talented as Jaylen Waddle? How are other NFL franchises having success with pocket passers reliant on accuracy rather than evasiveness? How is it that these teams have coordinators who are getting the best out of their players, before being pushed to head coaching roles themselves, while Miami shares the workload between not one, but two under qualified coaches. I’m all for developing your coaching pool and giving them a shot, sure, but at the cost to the success of the franchise and winning football games? The scheme is dreadful. The blocking is dreadful. The usage of the talent at your disposal is dreadful. Figure it out, before the fan base totally loses its’ mind. You’re quickly running out of time.

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