Dolphins Warned to Avoid ‘Polarizing’ Tight End

Mike McDaniel

Getty Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel at Hard Rock Stadium on December 24, 2023.

The Miami Dolphins are in need of talent at the tight end position, but one analyst warns that they could be courting trouble if they try to grab one with their first-round pick.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay compiled a list of the potential first-round draft reaches, pegging the Dolphins as a likely contender to take Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders at No. 21 overall. While the pick could address an area of need on Miami’s roster, Kay warned that it would be a high-risk move that could blow up in the team’s face.

‘Desperate’ Dolphins Could Reach in First Round

Kay noted that the Dolphins have not had a “prolific” tight end on their roster in decades and found little production from the position last season. Despite a potent offense and a strong passing attack, the team’s two tight ends — Julian Hill and Durham Smythe — combined for just 41 receptions for 416 yards and no touchdowns.

Kay suggested that the Dolphins could try to inject some talent into the position through the draft, but would be relegated to the second-best as top prospect Brock Bowers is expected to be off the board long before they pick.

“The team enters the 2024 draft with a chance to massively overhaul the position but could end up coming away with a polarizing prospect who might be a tad overrated,” Kay wrote.

While Kay added that Sanders is seen as the “clear No. 2 behind Bowers,” the tight end is undersized at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds and struggled at times with his production. Bowers had just two touchdowns in 14 games last season with the Longhorns.

“As desperate as the Dolphins may be for a prolific tight end to round out their offense, Sanders’ chances of developing into the top-tier tight end this draft slot would suggest is simply too low to feel great about the selection,” Kay wrote. “That may not stop the ‘Phins from taking a chance here, but it would hardly be a shock for Sanders to underwhelm and disappoint as a pro.”

Dolphins Could Go Another Direction

The Dolphins have some other roster holes to fill heading into the NFL Draft, especially after the departure of defensive lineman Christian Wilkins. analyst Peter Schrager suggested that Miami could go for defense with their first pick, selecting Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse.

“At this point, Verse could come off the board at various junctures of the top 25, and I wouldn’t be surprised,” Schrager wrote. “In a relatively down year for D-line prospects, Verse does a lot of things well. Versatile and experienced, he lined up everywhere for the Seminoles as a productive game wrecker. The Dolphins’ D lost two big pieces up front in free agency: Christian Wilkins and Andrew Van Ginkel.”

The Dolphins could have an opportunity to address other needs and still grab Sanders if they choose. ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates predicted that the Texas tight end would fall all the way to pick No. 100, where he would be taken by the Washington Commanders.

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