During the 2023 NFL Draft last month, the Miami Dolphins reportedly considered the idea of taking a tight end with their top pick before ultimately deciding on cornerback Cam Smith.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler looked at the draft for each of the NFL’s 32 teams and noted how a couple of tight ends in particular were likely on the Dolphins’ radar. Those two players were no longer on the board when Miami made its first selection.
“The Dolphins scanned the tight end position early in the draft,” Fowler wrote. “My sense is if Luke Musgrave or Sam LaPorta were available at No. 51 overall, the Dolphins — who lost Mike Gesicki this offseason and could use a do-it-all player in coach Mike McDaniel’s offense — would have had something to seriously consider. They were intrigued by both players. The Dolphins believe South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith has potential to be elite, so perhaps they would have made that pick anyway. But Miami’s low draft capital — four picks after a tampering charge and various trades — prevented it from getting a true difference-maker at the tight end position on Day 2.”
LaPorta ended up being chosen by the Detroit Lions with the 34th overall pick, and Musgrave was taken by the Green Bay Packers eight spots later with the 42nd pick. In addition to those players, two other tight ends were also selected before the Dolphins had their first chance to make a pick.
Given the dearth of picks for the Dolphins, finding the right fit when it came to tight end wasn’t really addressed because of other needs for the team.
In the sixth round, the Dolphins did select wide receiver Elijah Higgins from Stanford University. While he played as a wideout at the collegiate level, there have been indications that he’ll be converted into a tight end.
Higgins is 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds, which is on the smaller side for a tight end. For example, Gesicki is 6-foot-6 and in the range of 250 pounds, but he saw his visibility decline in McDaniel’s new offense and recently signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots.
Durham Smythe is back with the Dolphins this season, and he figures to play a big role at the tight end position.
The Dolphins already have a pair of potent weapons at wide receiver in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and are hoping that rookie running back Devon Achane can offer a passing option out of the backfield.
Whether Higgins can successfully make the transition to tight end is something that’s likely to be explored during training camp. For now, however, Smythe needs to become more of a threat for this particular position to be a relevant part of the Dolphins’ offense.
In the 2022 campaign, the Dolphins finally broke through after consecutive seasons of near-misses in the playoff hunt. The goal this season is to make a deeper run, and the play of the team’s tight ends may help determine whether or not it’s a successful year for the organization.