As my teaser alludes, the Miami Dolphins have work to do on defense, especially at DE and LB, but we cannot ignore the defensive tackle position. Our front 7 allowed the 31st most rushing yards per game, on top of being tied for dead last giving up 4.8 yards/rush. Unacceptable.
Free agency comes first, so let’s take a quick glance at 5 of the top free agent defensive tackles (in no particular order). I will provide PFF rankings, but that doesn’t mean I “S PFF’s D”, just providing a little more context than my conjecture. Here we go:
Brandon Williams, 6’1”, 340 - PFF #39
The host of Phinsider Radio, Matthew Cannata, has heard rumors of the Dolphins targeting the big fella Day 1 of free agency. He’s an absolute bowling ball, relentless motor, and would assuredly help patch up the run defense. He hasn’t missed a game in the last 3 years of his 4-year NFL career.
He just turned 28 years old.
(Spotrac market value: $12.9 million)
Calais Campbell, 6’8”, 300 - PFF #2
Aside from Kawann Short of the Carolina Panthers, whom I’m omitting from this article because I think there’s zero chance Carolina lets him leave, Calais Campbell is the prize of the DT class. And yes, although he played a hybrid DT/DE position on the 3-4 of the Arizona Cardinals, I think he’d play DT for the Miami Dolphins if the front office made such an aggressive move.
The one downside is he’ll be 31 when the 2017 regular season begins. He is the total package, a phenomenal run defender, and one of the elite DT pass rushers with Aaron Donald and a boy named Suh.
(Spotrac market value: $8.3 million) - I disagree with this figure...
Dominique Easley, 6’2”, 285 - PFF #26
The Los Angeles Rams’ DL is stacked, and they may let the former 1st round pick of the New England
Assholes Patriots go in lieu of focusing on improving that anemic offense (don’t know how you do that with Jared Goff, but I don’t root for them so who cares). He’s a bit of an under-the-radar guy who showed some serious flashes last year after he got healthy, something he was unable to do up in Foxborough, yo. Ho. Joe Schmo. OK, I’ll stop.
He’ll be 25 when the season starts.
He’s above average in both pass rushing and run defense, but not dominant in either. You may remember him getting 2 sacks against us in the Week 11 tilt in Los Angeles.
(Spotrac market value: N/A)
Dontari Poe, 6’3”, 346 - PFF #59
Just a massive man. He’ll be 27 when the season starts, and is probably most known for his jump pass TD, but his defensive tape doesn’t jump out at me. This is one of those former 1st rounders that fans like more than his tape suggests, but I’m trying to err on the side of positivity. Put it this way: he’s better than Earl Mitchell.
He does show some good pass rushing skills for such a monstrosity of a human being, and his PFF run defense grade probably does not reflect the amount of double teams it takes to contain him.
He has pretty nimble feet for a big fella. He’s just not the type of player who gets crazy production on his own, but rather, can influence the 1-on-1 chances of the players around him.
(Spotrac market value: $12.1 million)
Chris Baker, 6’2”, 320 - PFF #18
Not a household name from the Washington Redskins, and he’ll be 30 early in the regular season, but is an absolute stout run defender with above average pass rush capabilities. He’d be a nice complementary piece in a rotation with Jordan Phillips and Ndamukong Suh.
(Heads up play by the veteran, and one of the crazier plays you’ll see. Dalton alerts to a QB sneak, and Baker is able to rip the ball out and give his team a chance to win in overtime [would ultimately result in a tie]).
(Spotrac market value: $7.3 million)
Anyone have under-the-radar DT’s (I’m sure I might hear a Jonathan Hankins) worth pursuing or someone else not mentioned in the article? Send it to the Comments Section! Fins Up!