Neville Hewitt burst onto the scene, making enough of an impression as an UDFA out of Marshall University to stick on the squad. He’s started 7 games for the Miami Dolphins thus far in his 2-year career, with 5 of those games coming in 2016 filling in for the injured Jelani Jenkins.
I became sold after his rookie year that he can carve a role at LB in the NFL.
Not only is Hewitt capable depth, but also he’s young (with 2 years of experience) and hasn’t reached his ceiling (at least in my opinion). I’m hoping he finds a niche in nickel (you’ll see why in a second), where his flow skills and pass coverage skills can be utilized.
Neville Hewitt, 6’2”, 232
Turned 24 about a month and a half ago. If you’ve ever seen him in an interview, he strikes me as a soft-spoken, humble young man who knows he has to work to survive in this league. Being an UDFA, the Dolphins front office would hold the upper-hand in negotiations going into 2018.
Game Tape - #46
(Bottom of screen) The infamous “running step for step with Rob Gronkowski” play from his rookie year, sticking to Gronk’s hip on a wheel route, as he ultimately contests the ball at the catch point. Gives him a little taunt at the end. Hewitt plays with passion, and he self-admittedly is one of those players who elevates his game when he’s animated.
Very next play after running with Gronk? A TFL on a shuffle pass. The Patriots’ center overextends himself, and Hewitt is tackling the ball carrier as the center realizes that he sucks and totally blew it and he’s a failure and he has a horribly skinny wiener and Belichick is going to tar and feather him during the OL meeting. Would those be considered jabs or uppercuts?
Long story short, when Hewitt plays without hesitation, he uses his athleticism to flow and make plays.
Tyrod Taylor gets about 3 steps before Hewitt is wrapping him up. LeSean McCoy was visibly frustrated, but Taylor had about 2 seconds to make a decision. It’s possible that Hewitt would have even deflected the ball if Taylor tried to pitch it considering Hewitt’s “Superman” lunge. Aggressive play by Hewitt in the red zone and it helped hold Buffalo to a field goal on this drive.
In case you forgot, we needed a 55-yard field goal as time expired to tie this game up.
Why He Might Succeed
24, blue-collar approach, do-whatever-the-coaches-ask-me-to-do attitude. He’s added weight since beginning his pro career, and if he can maintain the weight and explosion, he’ll be better off in run defense.
The pass coverage skills are on tape. With the amount of nickel and dime coverages played, Hewitt will likely find opportunities to hone those skills. Expect the Dolphins coaching staff to play LB’s depending on situational and match-up based football and highlighting player strengths, and there’s reason to believe Hewitt fits into this equation.
Hewitt has shown the highest ceiling in pass coverage of the entire LB corps, in my humble opinion.
Why He Might Not
There are 11 LB’s currently on the roster, and I see the Dolphins carrying 6 LB’s, maybe 7. Raekwon McMillan, Lawrence Timmons, and Kiko Alonso are locks; Misi would be in this group, but you never know how his neck will respond to live action. That’s 2 or 3 spots for Hewitt, Mike Hull, Chase Allen, Lamin Barrow, Deon Lacey, Trevor Reilly, and Brandon Watts.
Anything can happen when some young 20 year-olds are fighting for their professional career, and that’s the exact cohort Hewitt will be going up against in Training Camp.
Odds of Making Roster
70%. He serves as both LB depth and a key ST player. There are enough young LB’s who occupy this dual LB depth/ST role, so I can’t be entirely certain he’ll make the roster, but it seems likely at this point. He may have squandered an opportunity to “get noticed” last year (given his starts for Jenkins), but there’s enough tape and enough versatility for Hewitt to stay in aqua and orange.
Competition will churn out the last few members of the LB unit, and I anticipate Neville Hewitt being one of the young LB’s to survive.