The Miami Dolphins have made their first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, adding Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick. What are the Dolphins getting in Wilkins? We take a quick look back at Wilkins’ time at Clemson to get a little bit of an idea about his play.
Wilkins played in 11 games as a true freshman, recording 33 tackles with 4.5 for a loss, two sacks, and one forced fumble. He then backed that up in 2016 as a sophomore, playing in 15 games with 48 tackles, 13 of them for a loss, 3.5 sacks, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
As a junior, Wilkins played in 14 games, recording 60 tackles with nine for a loss, along with five sacks and four passes defensed. Last year, as a senior, he played in 15 games with 51 tackles, 14 of them for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
He was a unanimous All-American in 2018 and was a First-Team selection in 2016 and 2017. He won the William V. Campbell Trophy in 2018 as the college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field play. He won the Bill Willis Trophy in 2017 as the top defensive lineman in college football.
Former NFL defensive end Stephen White broke down Wilkins’ Clemson film, explaining, “Clemson moved him around from a five-technique on the outside edge of the tackle on a couple of plays, to a 4i on the inside shade of the tackle, to a three-technique on the outside edge of the guard, to a 2i with an inside shade on a guard, to a one-technique on either edge of the center, to some zero nose. And he held up well in all of those alignments.”
The Dolphins are expected to see their defense become extremely versatile this year under former New England Patriots de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who now serves as Miami’s head coach. Having a versatile defensive end who can fill multiple roles in both 4-3 and 3-4 alignments could be exactly what the Dolphins had in mind with Wilkins’ pick.