Dolphins pre-free agency position analysis: DT’s


On the surface one would think that the Miami Dolphins do not need to look at defensive tackles in this years free agency period but the surface can be deceiving. Taking a deeper look at what the Dolphins need reveals problems along the defensive line that need to be addressed.

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To say that Miami has a top need at defensive tackle is not accurate but to say that they don’t need a defensive tackle is also inaccurate. As of today the Dolphins have four defensive tackles on the roster. Deandre Coleman, Ndamukong Suh, Earl Mitchell, and Jordan Phillips. Phillips will be a 2nd year pro in 2016 and while he showed flashes of being able to transition to the NFL level, we also saw that he will indeed, at times, take plays off. Luckily for him those moments are few and far between.

What Phillips needs more than anything else is playing time. Last season Phillips saw most of his snaps at seasons end when Earl Mitchell missed time with an injury. Phillips has the physical make-up to become dominant but does he have the mental make-up for that leap?

Earl Mitchell missed time due to injury but when he was healthy he wasn’t effective. In fact, Mitchell performed worse than in 2014. The Dolphins are not paying Mitchell much in 2016, $3.5 million but they would save $2.5 million by releasing him. That would create another hole and with the lack of depth on the defensive line already, it will make it hard to find someone who can start and provide depth should Phillips win the starting job.

There are little questions surrounding Ndamukong Suh outside of whether the Dolphins will exercise and contract option to convert some of his salary to signing bonus. Finding pieces that fit around Suh is imperative.

One player that could be coming back to Miami and it’s been reported there is mutual interest is Paul Soliai. Soliai didn’t fit well into the Falcons system but he does fit in Miami’s and he will be at a reduced rate than when he left. This is a player that could bolster the Dolphins front defensive line, give Suh some help, and challenge Phillips to develop faster.

Team Need – Yes

Free agency need – light to moderate

Target in free agency or draft – both, Miami needs depth.