2024 NFL Draft: 3 top prospects Miami Dolphins must draft if they slide to No. 21

The Dolphins can't pass up on these top prospects if they slide in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Miami Dolphins head coach mike McDaniel
Miami Dolphins head coach mike McDaniel / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Although the Miami Dolphins suffered some tough losses in free agency, the team is still a top team in the AFC East.

With obvious needs along the offensive line and defensive line, Mike McDaniel’s team will be looking to use the No. 21 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a quality player who can address an area of need.

3 prospects Miami Dolphins hope slide in the 2024 NFL Draft

With depth at some of those key positions of need, it is possible top prospects could fall within range of the Dolphins.  If they do, a Dolphins team that lost some gas during the end of the 2023 NFL season could find the re-fueling they need through the draft.

Let’s look at 3 top prospect that could potentially slide to the Dolphins at No. 21.

J.C. Latham, the tackle of the future

One of the top needs for the Dolphins entering the draft will be help along the offensive line.

Even before losing Robert Hunt, the Dolphins needed to beef up along the offensive line.  They did add center Aaron Brewer in free agency, which allows them to turn their attention to a tackle in the draft.  The question is, should they use the No. 21 overall pick on an offensive lineman?

2024 NFL Draft prospect JC Latham
Alabama tackle JC Latham / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Well, if one of the top tackles is available, it would be hard to pass up, especially if that tackle is Alabama’s J.C. Latham who ranks as the No. 5 tackle according to PFF and is projected to go in that 18-21 range in the draft.  Perfect for the Dolphins, but is he undervalued?

In an appearance on “Lexus Sports Xtra”, Latham’s agent Drew Rosenhaus is confident the Alabama prospect won’t be around when the Dolphins select at No. 21.

“We should have a top-10 pick in J.C. Latham, the offensive lineman from Alabama,” Rosenhaus said. “Forget about it, Dolphins fans. Dolphins fans who are dreaming about J.C., he’s not making it all the way down to 21.”

Unless the Dolphins trade up, Latham’s agent is saying forget about any chance of the 6-foot-6, 342-pound tackle playing in South Beach in 2024.  But, given the depth at the position in the draft, Rosenhaus could be overvaluing Latham as far as team’s needs in front of the Dolphins. 

Depending how the board plays out and which trades are made, it’s possible Latham could slide.  If he does, the Dolphins can’t pass up an opportunity to get a player who could be the future of the offensive line.

Cooper DeJean, a replacement for Xavien Howard

The Dolphins released Xavien Howard this offseason but could afford to do so because they still have Jalen Ramsey locking it down at the corner position.  They also signed Kendall Fuller and safety Jordan Poyer who will help stabilize the defensive secondary.  But, why not add another explosive defender to the secondary in Iowa prospect Cooper DeJean?

This would be more of a best player available selection and a player the Dolphins or any team selecting in the later round of the draft can’t pass up.  As a versatile defender who can play outside corner and safety, DeJean would be a fascinating prospect for the Dolphins with his ability to make an impact in the defensive backfield and his ability to return kicks.

In his latest mock draft, CBS Sports write Garett Podell has DeJean going to the Dolphins because of that versatility as a defensive back.

He writes:

“While NFL teams had to wait for Cooper DeJean's pro day workout because of a leg injury, it ended up being worth the wait. He ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.4s and recorded explosive vertical (38.5 inches) and broad (10-foot-4) jumps, according to The Athletic. Thanks to this strong showcase, Miami selects him to beef up its secondary where he could line up as outside corner, nickel or safety.”

Not a top positional need for the Dolphins but given how the league has gone as far as passing offenses, Miami could opt to strengthen their secondary to help the front seven.  DeJean will flourish playing alongside Ramsey and Poyer.

Laiatu Latu, edge rush insurance for Jaelan phillips

The Dolphins may be motivated to find a potential replacement for Christian Wilkins, but a bigger short-term need will be on the edge where both Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips will be rehabbing season-ending injuries.  If a player like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu slides down to the early 20s in this draft, the Dolphins will be both smart and fortunate to snag him with that No. 21 pick.

NFL Network Host Rhett Lewis has Latu sliding to the Dolphins in his 2024 NFL mock draft 1.0.

He writes:

“If the medicals check out, this seems like a no-brainer. Latu is a straight-up technician off the edge. And with the uncertainty around when Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips will be fully healthy following their season-ending injuries, the former Bruin fills a need, as well.”

If Phillips and Chubb are healthy, great, but the Dolphins will also be thinking future by selecting Latu who is ranked at the No. 3 EDGE rush prospect in the draft.  His pass rush moves will remind Dolphins fans of Phillips and if both are on the field at the same time will give opposing offenses nightmares.