The Miami Dolphins are looking to make a big turn around on the defensive side of the ball in 2023 and this edge group should be a big part of that.
One of my favorite things to do is break down individual position groups. For a position group to be special (in my estimation), it needs four things:
- A minimum of one top-end “dude”
- Reliable veterans
- High-upside players
That Top-End Dude
You need that guy that offenses have to game plan around to really be a dominant pass rushing unit (unless you’re an aggressive blitzing unit). This player needs to be accounted for, or he’s going to ruin your quarterbacks day.
For the Dolphins, this has to be Jaelan Phillips. He was an exciting prospect coming out of Miami and showed a lot of potential his rookie season. His year two went extremely well and Phillips looks like one of the 5-10 best edge defenders in the NFL... at only 23 years of age (will be 24 next season).
Jaelan Phillips came up HUGE in the second half. He continues to string together strong performances and is quickly becoming one of the best young pass rushers in the NFL. #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/503aT7WVR8— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) October 25, 2022
There are two players that I’m going to put in this category for the Dolphins: Bradley Chubb and Emmanuel Ogbah. Some fans expected to see Von Miller out there when the Dolphins added Chub last year, but that just isn’t who he is. Don’t get me wrong, he is capable of some really impressive reps/games but on average he’s going to a solid player week in and week out. You can rely on Chubb to make a few impact plays each week.
Indianapolis @ Denver - week five 2022— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) November 4, 2022
All of Bradley Chubb's pressures/sacks/run stops pic.twitter.com/YCM2oDCxIR
Folks kind of forget that Emmanuel Ogbah is still on the team since he had an injury plagued 2022, but he’s still one of the 32 best edge defenders in the NFL. He wasn’t able to be consistent last year, but was still able to show some of that upside at times and I would expect a bounce back 2023 under Fangio.
4⃣ man rush. Ogbah with a beautiful outside chop. Can't bring Allen down but flushes him out and forces a bad decision. pic.twitter.com/O8h6XaXQgZ— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) September 27, 2022
You need these reliable/solid veteran players to pair with your top-end guy. It gives teams fits when they have to account for so many solid pass rushers. If you don’t have solid bookend tackles in place, watch out.
They’re probably not done adding to this group, but so far, this would be Malik Reed for me. Last year this would probably have been Melvin Ingram, who stepped up and performed in some really big spots for Miami last season.
Reed has been highly productive at different points of his career and is extremely valuable to have in that reserve/rotational role that he is likely to play in 2023.
If we’re being honest, this could describe all three of the previous players mentioned (Chubb, Ogbah, Reed). Though I never miss an opportunity to explain how Andrew Van Ginkel is criminally underrated and I think he fits this spot better than the rest.
He was added after all the others and has the largest variance between outcomes. By this I mean he could end up as just a special teams contributor, but has the potential to be their second or third best pass rusher.
Here is your weekly reminder that @AndrewVanGinkel needs more pass rushing snaps in 2021.— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) April 6, 2021
The offensive tackles he's beating in these clips:
Let AVG Cook! pic.twitter.com/xKW1zykzLP
Van Ginkel always seems to be in the right place at the right time. That along with his high motor has made him a massive fan favorite in Miami. Don’t let that fool you into thinking he can’t put high end reps on tape though because he absolutely can.
Per Barry Jackson, Fangio even reached out to AVG in order to get him to resign with Miami (this was after he had visited with the Patriots). If Van Ginkel gets his defensive reps, he’ll make an impact-that has always been the case. This all just hinges on how many snaps he’s given.
A Group on the Rise
The most interesting thing to monitor with this position group will be the snap distribution. Having too many good players isn’t really a “problem,” but finding ways to get them all involved will be challenging.
A lot of the attention next season will be on Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey. Deservedly so, but it could end up being this group of edge defenders that really fuels this defense’s turn around in 2023.