Dolphins look for LB’s to flourish behind Suh

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) dabs after recovering a fumble against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) dabs after recovering a fumble against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

In order for the Miami Dolphins to fix their atrocious defense, they must not only address the linebacker position this offseason, they must knock it out of the park.

For the past three seasons we’ve seen the Dolphins defense get manhandled; we’ve seen them get punched in the face repeatedly and do nothing about it. Please, please, please stop the agony already.

Despite acquiring the best defensive tackle in football last year, the Dolphins defense continued to struggle and had no solution to the abuse they would take each Sunday. In short, they were helpless.

But wait, there’s some good news: despite their struggles, the Dolphins have an anchor on their defense by the name of Ndamukong Suh. Suh is the key piece to this defense, and if the Dolphins acquire the right linebackers this offseason, we’ll see why Suh was such a good acquisition last offseason.

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We thought Suh’s ability to man the defensive line, plug holes, and cause the opposition to double and triple-team him would open up the playmaking abilities of our inexperienced linebacker’s. We were wrong—painfully wrong. No matter who it was back there, the Dolphins linebackers were the biggest weakness on this team’s defense.

If Miami does their homework and opens their wallet, the Dolphins could have a shot at having one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

There are a number of opportunities out there for Miami to get excited about. For one, Danny Trevathan of the Denver Broncos is an attractive option. Trevathan is coming off a year in which he led the top ranked defense in the NFL in tackles. He excels at every aspect of the position and doesn’t have one hole in his game; he’s quick, agile, and is extremely efficient against both the run and the pass. Trevathan is athletic enough to cover quick tight ends and running backs one-on-one and strong enough to fight off blockers and attack ball carries. He’s a complete linebacker and would flourish behind Ndamukong Suh.

James Laurinaitis is another option for the Dolphins to consider. Laurinaitis, like Trevathan, is quick and agile at his respected position. Laurinaitis is versatile and can play both inside and middle linebacker and has seven years experience playing both positions in the NFL. In his career, Laurinaitis has posted a couple of 100 plus tackle seasons and is a proven commodity against the run. Like Trevathan, Laurinaitis can also benefit playing behind Suh.

The draft, however, also possesses a number of highly talented linebackers for the Dolphins to consider. Unlike free agents, the players from the draft can be a huge bargain for the small price tag they carry. A player I like a lot is UCLA’s Myles Jack. A former running back, Jack is extremely athletic and is the prototypical “new-age” linebacker: he’s smaller, lighter, quicker, and more agile than linebackers like Alabama’s Reggie Ragland.

What excites me about Jack is his upside. With his versatility, Jack has the chance to be productive at the next level instantly. Like Trevathan, Jack can cover quick offensive players in space and is strong enough to hold his own on the inside against the run. Unlike free agents, however, Jack is still unproven and the Dolphins are desperate to strike big in this upcoming draft. If Jack participates and performs well in all the pre-draft workouts, he’ll garner a lot of attention from GM’s around the league. If he’s still available at the number eight spot when Miami’s name is called, it would be nice to see the Dolphins pick up a player that I believe can be special and really help out their defense.

Whatever avenue Miami takes, they must improve at the linebacker position—their defense depends on it. With an improved linebacking corps, Miami can find that solution that has plagued them week-in-and-week-out.