I’m a homer. We all are in one way or another. So naturally, it was easy to like the pick when the Dolphins drafted a player —at the most significant area of need (IMO). But what about the next day after watching some tape and truly getting a grasp of the player outside of a few YouTube highlights and fancy PFF Grades?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Because despite having the top-5 linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft as follows:
- Devin Lloyd, Utah
- Nakobe Dean, Georgia
- Chad Muma, Wyoming
- Troy Andersen, Montana State
- Leo Chanel, Wisconsin
I never believed any of these players would be available at 102. Channing Tindall as well. And yet, with Nakobe Dean free falling and other linebackers coming off sooner than expected, it happened.
And I’m glad it did.
Here are my quick thoughts on Miami’s newest linebacker Channing Tindall.
With the 102nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select:
Bio and stuff
Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
Weight: 230 pounds
2021 Stats: 67 total tackles (35 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and one forced fumble.
What I like about the Channing Tindall pick
I mean, outside of science making him grow a few inches or giving him longer arms, I don’t know that there’s much of anything I’d change about Tindall. At pick 102, the value was terrific, and again, the need was at the top of my list heading into the 2022 offseason.
But on the field, woo-wee, the Dolphins drafted a heat-seeking missile.
(I know I said the same thing with Nakobe Dean —but bah Gawd almighty!)
Channing Tindall might be one of the most underrated linebackers in all of college football because he plays on the same team as Nakobe Dean. Absurd athlete with insane closing speed in pursuit. pic.twitter.com/8Mir03kwkW— Cory (@realcorykinnan) November 18, 2021
On film, he’s as fast as any linebacker I’ve studied and packs a mean punch. Tindall has sideline to sideline range and does well weeding through bodies to track down the ball carrier. His ability to change direction—which helps in coverage and when SPYING THE QUARTERBACK—is equally impressive and should come in handy when playing Josh Allen and the Bills two times a year.
Tindall has also improved each season, which is something scouts look for when evaluating talent. Despite Georgia's talented supporting cast, his play on the field last season was enough to earn more playing time. With Miami’s current stable of linebackers, Tindall will battle for playing time with veterans Elandon Roberts, Sam Eguavoen, and Duke Riley. All three of those linebackers are on one-year deals. Roberts is an excellent two-down linebacker that has shown his value as a run-stopper over the last few seasons. But outside of that, Miami needed help at the position.
The difference, however, is in how versatile Tindall is. Yes, Miami’s newest linebacker is a run stopper with speed unlike anything we’ve seen at the position (in Miami), but he can also rush the passer. Most of his pressures have come on designed stunts and exotic blitzes. Nevertheless, having an inside linebacker that can rush the passer is extremely important in Miami’s defensive scheme and something Tindall is looking forward to playing in.
Here’s what he said after being drafted by Miami about his versatility and how it’s perfect for Miami’s defense.
“The way they use their linebackers is different. They use their linebackers everywhere. They put them on the edge sometimes, they put them on the line, they put them at Mike, Will. They are very versatile and I feel like I fit into it.” - Channing Tindall on Miami’s LBers.
Chris Grier echoed that statement.
For us, it’s the versatility, the speed is what we like. He can play, he has the ability to play all three downs and play special teams as well. In talking to Kirby Smart the other day again about him, he was just talking about what tremendous speed and toughness and the character of the kid and how Kirby really loved and thinks he’s going to be a really good player in the NFL. We’re really excited to get him. We were kind of holding on hoping he would be there. We tried to move up a couple of times to make a move and those things were – people wanted to make their picks. It was a long wait for us, a long day not picking until 11:20 or whatever it was on day two. It’s been a long couple of days. We haven’t been used to that.”
Tindall finished 10th last season in ‘pass rush win rate’ according to Pro Football Focus.
New @MiamiDolphins LB Channing Tindall had a 23.3% pass rush win rate in 2021 - that was 10th best among all LBs in college football, per PFF.— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) April 30, 2022
What I dislike about the Channing Tindall pick
Besides his size, the thing I’d like to see Tindall improve on most is his pass coverage. Now, I understand that most linebackers in the NFL are not cover corners —and I’d argue that Tindall is already as good, if not better, than the linebackers currently on the roster in this area—but in today’s game, I want to see more. He has the speed; I’ve SEENT it on tape. Now, I’d like to see it all come together.
Admittedly, I’m a little concerned with how he may play outside of Georgia’s defense. The Dolphins do have a very talented defense in place, but without Jordan Davis eating up blocks and Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean alongside him, how —if at all—will that affect his transition to the NFL.
if lightning mcqueen played linebacker he’d be channing tindall— josh houtz (@houtz) April 30, 2022
There is also an argument that could be made that the Dolphins should have drafted Wisconsin LB Leo Chanel or maybe Texas A& M RB Isaiah Spiller (BPA?). I know some wanted a tackle too, but in my opinion, that would be Grier admitting he whiffed on Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson, and I don’t think he’s ready to accept that.
Miami Dolphins Round 3 Draft Grade
As I said at the beginning, I’m a homer. And after watching the film, this is a home run pick. Is Tindall the missing piece in the Miami Dolphins defense? I don’t have the answer for that now. But after watching the film —and knowing what Miami needed to do this offseason to improve—I’d say the answer is much closer to ‘yes’ than before.
Channing Tindall A-
What were your thoughts when the Miami Dolphins drafted Channing Tindall? How do you feel about the pick and his fit in Josh Boyer’s defense? Are you concerned with his ‘size’? What do you hope the Dolphins do on day two of the draft? Let us know in the comments section below!