Despite having a delayed start to their 2017 season, the Miami Dolphins took advantage of the “Chargers being the Chargers” to win their first game of the campaign. Now possessing a 1-0 record, Miami will prepare for their first divisional contest of the season when they head to New Jersey to take on the rival Jets.
However, before all of this unfolds, it’s time to once again look back at this past Sunday’s game and evaluate how the rookies on the Dolphins roster performed in their first NFL game. With six rookies suiting up for the season opening game in Los Angeles, Miami has a clear cut class of talented youngsters to work with over the next four-plus months.
Adding to this number are the four Dolphins’ rookies that did not suit up for the week two game in LA. While this may be down to injury or depth at the position, I am positive that we will be seeing these players on the sideline before the end of the 2017 season.
Charles Harris — Defensive End
Week 2 Stats: 27 defensive snaps (46.6%), One tackle
Playing in just under 50 percent of the Miami Dolphins defensive snaps, Charles Harris proved to many that his development and acclimation to the league will take time. Recording a single tackle during the contest, Harris underperformed along with the entire pass rush in this contest.
However, this is only the first game of the rookie defensive end’s career. For now, I will reserve judgment on Harris and what we can expect from him going forward. That said, Harris needs to step up. A single tackle will not cut it, especially for a first round pick.
Davon Godchaux — Defensive Tackle
Week 2 Stats: 32 defensive snaps (55.2%), Two tackles
A fifth round selection during the 2017 NFL Draft, Davon Godchaux dominated most of the early rookie headlines during training camp and the preseason. Beating out Jordan Phillips for the second starting defensive tackle spot, Godchaux played wingman to Ndamukong Suh during this contest.
Recording two combined tackles, Godchaux helped plug some gaps along the line of scrimmage but did end up behind Phillips in terms of combined tackles. That said, Godchaux played in more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps in this game, solidifying his status as the early season partner for Suh.
Chase Allen — Linebacker
Week 2 Stats: 14 defensive snaps (24.1%), Three tackles
A tackling machine during the preseason, Chase Allen was a late replacement for the now suspended Lawrence Timmons in the linebacking corps. With Miami forced into a two linebacker defense for most of the game, Allen did take advantage of his chances when he was called upon.
Recording three combined tackles during the contest, Allen also played a big role on special teams for Miami, participating in both kickoff and punt coverage plays. With the Timmons situation still up in the air, I expect Allen to get a strong run of games over the next few weeks as he attempts to nail down a role in this Dolphins defense.
Matt Haack — Punter
Week 2 Stats: Three punts, 130 total yards, 43.3 average
Winning the team’s punting battle during the preseason, Matt Haack put in a solid performance during his first NFL game. Recording three total punts, Haack averaged 43.3 yards per kick, which is just slightly lower than Matt Darr’s 44.3 yards per kick last season. With all this said, Haack is off to a solid start for Miami.
Vincent Taylor — Defensive Tackle
Week 2 Stats: Three defensive snaps (5.2%), One tackle
Seeing most of his playing time on special teams, Vincent Taylor also saw a small role on the Dolphins defense this past week. Recording a single tackle, Taylor is not someone that we will be hearing from on a regular basis. With Davon Godchaux likely to get the rookie headlines at defensive tackle, Taylor’s shot at glory will be relegated to plays he makes on the special teams.
Maurice Smith -- Cornerback
Week 2 Stats: 14 special teams snaps
Playing exclusively on the special teams this past week, Maurice Smith is another player we are unlikely to hear much from this season. With the depth and youth at the cornerback position, Smith is unlikely to feature much for the defense this season and will likely be a special teams warrior going forward.
Week 2 Rookie Scratches: Isaac Asiata (G), Torry McTyer (CB), Eric Smith (OT), Cordrea Tankersley (CB)