The Miami Dolphins‘ rebuild has become a ticking time bomb. The 2019 tank job was supposed to yield solid players throughout the roster due to a litany of draft picks. And the Dolphins did get their picks — 11 in the first three rounds of the past two NFL drafts — but their hit rate has created the mess that is a 1-6 start to the 2021 season. The campaign, for all intents and purposes, is lost, but there is still time for Miami to evaluate its prized asset from those lowly years: Tua Tagovailoa.
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The problem with evaluating the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is that the Dolphins have protected him at every turn. Certainly, some of that has to do with their lack of faith in the offensive line. This unit is a big reason the rebuild hasn't given way to good play out of the young players. Miami drafted four offensive linemen in 2020 or 2021 who have played at least 250 pass-blocking snaps since the start of 2020. Between Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Solomon Kindley and Liam Eichenberg, none of them grade higher than Hunt's 65.0 pass-blocking grade. Not only is that not good enough overall, but it's not good enough for the draft capital spent on those players.
Certainly, these are all young players who can develop, but Miami would have liked to at least accidentally hit on a player like Rashawn Slater or Tristan Wirfs. There is always going to be a waiting period for anyone drafted, but finding a player who immediately features as solid NFL pro hasn’t happened for the Dolphins.