2015 Dolphins grades: Earl Mitchell


The Miami Dolphins expected more production from their defensive line in 2015. They got solid production from Ndamukong Suh but the same can’t be said about Earl Mitchell.

More from Dolphins News

Earl Mitchell – defensive tackle

2016 salary – $3.5 million

Mitchell was supposed to be the direct benefactor of the addition of Suh to the defensive line but Mitchell’s performance in 2015 was erratic, sloppy, and inconsistent. According to PFF (ProFootballFocus), Mitchell was given a 97 grade at his position. Out of 100. His overall rank was 64. Against the run, where Miami struggled most of the season, Mitchell graded out at 34.2 and improved to 76 in pass rush.

Mitchell appeared in 12 games in 2015 due to injury and recorded 22 tackles total. That isn’t good enough for a lineman who faced one on one blocking and could not control the line of scrimmage. 2015 was Mitchell’s worst season as a pro and missing those four games hurt his statistics but when he was healthy, he wasn’t doing his job.

2015 grade – D-

Why a D-?

While Mitchell deserves an F, he is receiving this grade based on the fact that he was injured and missed four games that could have helped him improve on his statistics. In reality it should be lower because when he was healthy Miami didn’t get the production they thought they would.

Should Miami keep him in 2016?

This is a tough question because statistically the answer should be a very big no. However his salary is low for a starting defensive lineman and if the Dolphins did release him they would take a $1 million cap hit in dead money and save roughly $2.5 million. That’s not a lot. When you look at the Dolphins roster, you have to wonder who would replace him. With the Dolphins having needs at linebacker, defensive end, cornerback, and safety, replacing a defensive lineman seems to be another added burden.

Miami has Jordan Phillips on the roster but it’s unclear if he can elevate his game to a full-time role. Miami is going to need to address the defensive line because frankly, they can’t afford to allow this kind of play and expect to win. What they should have done was released him last season and used some of that money to retain Randy Starks or Jared Odrick.