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Defining Christian Wilkins’ position: Versatility

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Defensive end? Defensive tackle? Nose tackle? Fullback? What position does Christian Wilkins play for the Miami Dolphins? All of them. And he is proud of that.

“Definitely something that I pride myself on is versatility,” the Dolphins 2019 first-round pick said this week. “Our defense is based off a multiple scheme with multiple fronts and guys who can do a lot of different things; so that’s what a lot of us pride ourselves on. Really, the biggest thing for me is I just like to – wherever I am, I like to try to make an impact and help the team as best as possible. That’s my job. That’s what I’ve got to do and that’s what I try to do down in and down out.”

In his first two seasons in the league, Wilkins has recorded 103 tackles with 3.5 sacks, one interception, and one fumble recovery. He has not tallied huge stats, but that is also not the role he is asked to play for Miami. “The biggest thing for me is I just try to just be a good teammate,” Wilkins explained when asked about a key stat he feels shows if he is playing well. “I pride myself on that first and foremost. So whatever I’m asked to do, whether it’s hold guys up, whether it’s to make a play, whether it’s to knock guys (down); whatever I’m asked to do, I just like to play within the scheme and be the best I can within my role and be a good teammate first. That’s the No. 1 important thing to me.”

Heading into his third season, Wilkins, despite only being 25, is one of the veteran leaders on the defense. How will he fill the role of a leader on the team? “For me it starts with just the work. You’ve got to put in the work in the film room, in the weight room, on the field and then hopefully guys will follow that. It doesn’t always have to be a vocal rah-rah guy or anything like that, but really just serving my teammates is a big thing for me. Whatever anyone needs – rookies, older guys, younger guys – they need someone they can talk (to), anything. That’s what I pride myself on, so definitely just the work, leading by example and then always being myself, bringing that energy, bringing that juice to every day because I really do love this game. As much as it is work, it’s a game and it’s a lot of fun, so bringing that energy and bringing that juice and just being myself.”

When it comes to his expectations of himself for the 2021 season, Wilkins explained, “Really just the day-in and day-out improvement. Just get one percent better and the rest will take care of itself. Just get better at the small things and the big things will come. So every day, just locking in on the little details, just trying to find ways to finetune my body, try to find ways to finetune my spirit, my game, all that. Like I said, the little things so those will lead to the big things.”

Big things are expected of the Dolphins’ defense this year, with Wilkins expected to be a big part of Miami’s success. And that may be at defensive end. Or defensive tackle. Or nose tackle. Or even fullback.