The Miami Dolphins may only have four draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, but that won’t stop them from leaving no stone unturned in their search for talented players. On paper, the Dolphins’ biggest needs (IMO) are tight end, right tackle, linebacker, and left guard. But with a new defensive system in place and defensive tackle John Jenkins leaving for Las Vegas, the Dolphins are reportedly searching for depth on the defensive line.
According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Dolphins are set to visit with Nebraska pass-rusher Garrett Nelson sometime this week and have requested a ‘30’ visit with Bowling Green defensive tackle Karl Brooks.
Brooks spent five seasons with Bowling Green but had his best season in 2022, recording 49 tackles, ten sacks, two forced fumbles, and one recovery. The 6’3, 303-pound defensive tackle started 48 games for the Falcons and has shown the versatility to play both inside and outside — something Vic Fangio’s defense would definitely welcome. He’s a massive player that can play three-tech but also has the quickness to rush from the outside.
“The inclination to shrug off Brooks’ production based on level of competition — or because of questions about his positional fit — might be a mistake. Brooks’ snap quickness, footwork, hand usage and motor are all translatable play qualities. His movement and counters are intuitive, allowing for quick access into the backfield. Against the pass, he frequently beat tackles as a bull rusher off the edge. Brooks has the size of a three-technique but the versatility and athleticism to move around a defensive front. He flashes disruptive, three-down talent as a future starter in a one-gap scheme.”
Garrett Nelson back to back plays shows his versatility rushing and covering the slot. Damn. pic.twitter.com/ZT34oQbmmE— Jim in MN (@HuskersMN) August 16, 2022
Nebraska’s Garrett Nelson also had his best statistical season in 2022, when he recorded 65 tackles, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. The 6’4, 245-pound EDGE is expected to be a day three pick but has shown relentless effort and versatility.
Cons: While the effort blows you away, you do wish there were more raw traits to work with. Garrett Nelson is a bit of a hybrid type and while I do think he has sufficient athleticism, he doesn’t have a dynamic first step or steep angles in his lower half to bend and flatten effectively and challenge the quarterback off the edge without help from interior push on the line. I don’t think he has great natural length either—he’s more of a close-quarters combat player who executes in compact spaces. While I do think he can project to a hybrid role given his frame, I do feel his current presentation as an athlete is a little too much in between standard archetypes for odd or even front EDGE roles.
What are your thoughts on the Dolphins using two of their ‘30’ visits on defensive linemen? Do you think Karl Brooks would be a game-changer in Vic Fangio’s defense? What about Garrett Nelson? Let us know in the comments section below!