I recently got the chance to catch up with Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys, SBN's Dallas Cowboys blog, to get his thoughts on Akin Ayodele. After all, he's watched Akin more than any of us have over the past couple of seasons. So who better to tell us a little bit about him than Dave.
Below are his thoughts on Ayodele:
Akin Ayodele was a solid player for us but he wasn't very dynamic. He started at WILB for two years and was the kind of guy who made his 4-6 tackles in a game but never did anything that stood out after it was over. There were no big hits that fired up the defensive or caused turnovers, only occasionally did he make a play in the backfield of the opponent and his blitzing wasn't very effective.
On the other hand he was usually where he was supposed to be on his assignments and in combination with Bradie James controlled the middle of the field well against the run. Both years it seemed to me that he was better early in the season but as the games rolled on into November and December he became less effective. He's an athletic guy who can move but he didn't particularly impress in terms of shedding blocks. If the Dolphins run the 3-4 defense under Parcells/Sparano that we ran in Dallas two years ago (a two gap scheme), he will have to take on blocks from guards a lot.
I never had any major complaint about Ayodele on defense; he was never the guy who I thought was terrible or blew the game for us. But he was never the guy who I thought helped us win the game or did anything special. All in all, an average player but not a playmaker.
That works for me. I'm not expecting Ayodele to be a play-making ILB in this 3-4 defense. All I'm looking for him to do is be consistent and stop the run. At this point, the Dolphins just need players who will be in position to make plays and then actually make the play. Ayodele strikes me as a player who will be effective against the run, and that's all I'll be asking out of him.
As it stands now, Ayodele will enter camp in a battle with Channing Crowder and Reggie Torbor to be one of Miami's 2 starting interior linebackers. In the end, though, I'd expect Ayodele and Crowder to win the starting jobs.
Again, a big thanks to Dave for his time. For more Cowboys insight, head over to Blogging The Boys.