1: Jelani Jenkins – Jenkins was the only player consistent enough to come close to warranting the best at the position. Jenkins registered 71 tackles on the season and one fumble. He was very good against the pass but fell short against the run. Jenkins is a good linebacker but he needs support around him and the Dolphins didn’t give him enough.
2: Kelvin Sheppard – It pains me to put Sheppard at number two because for most of the year he was largely ineffective and out-of-place. In his last two games of the season he played far better but is that because he will be a free agent or because he finally figured out how to play in the system? His 105 tackles is 2nd best on the team but most of those were well beyond the line of scrimmage and Sheppard rarely made impactful plays at the line. He gets two because Misi was worse.
3: Koa Misi – After what, four, five, six seasons now, Koa Misi is still not grasping the defense. Out of position, poor pursuit angles, biting on the inside fake, Misi has done all of these. He is very inconsistent for having been in the league six seasons now. Despite his 78 tackles on the season, Misi didn’t give fans any reason to believe they didn’t need two new linebackers on the roster. Luckily for Misi most believe that Sheppard should be the first replaced.
4: Nevill Hewitt – Hewitt gets the four spot based on his final game of the season against New England. Probably the best game played by a linebacker all season. He had 39 tackles on the year good enough for 4th on the Dolphins linebacker unit.
5: Zach Vigil – Vigil got a lot of playing time this season and it’s clear he needs to be better developed but he showed signs that he can compete at this level. It’s just too early to tell what the undrafted rookie has in front of him.
6: Spencer Paysinger – Paysinger has no real value to the team at this point. He is outplayed by undrafted rookies who really should have been playing over him from the start.
Next: secondary units