Dec 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) runs past Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jelani Jenkins has turned into a very good linebacker and continues to get better. He is starting to emerge as a leader on defense. Unfortunately he is the only linebacker on the roster worth anything. Koa Misi struggles in pass protection, run defense, and pass rushing and his contract is coming due. Re-signing Misi would be a mistake and the team needs to look at free agents who fit their scheme or towards the draft to find a replacement. It’s far easier said that done.
Making matters worse is that Misi is the 2nd best linebacker on the squad. Middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard is not an answer to the Dolphins defensive problems. He doesn’t read offensive schemes well and his reaction time is too slow to make impact plays. Like the lineman and the corner position, the Dolphins need two linebackers in 2016. They won’t likely be able to get both in the draft and if they can somehow draft to starting linebackers they will have found success where they have had little.
Zach Vigil has shown some talent but he is far too raw to play every down. If the Dolphins are run out of playoff contention it might be a good idea to start Vigil and let him develop this year quickly. Doing so would give the team time to evaluate the need in the middle of the unit.
The Dolphins have not had much success in the draft for quite awhile. The best player is Jelani Jenkins of course, taken in round four 2013. Misi was taken in round two of the 2010 draft. Since 2010 the Dolphins have drafted A.J. Edds, Austin Spitler, Josh Kaddu, and Jordan Tripp. All of them are no longer on the teams roster and at most they made marginal impacts on special teams. The larger problem however came in free agency when they overspent on Phillip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, and Karlos Dansby. Only Dansby was the only one who actually fit the scheme the Dolphins ran but his attitude eventually cost him his position on the team.
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