Dolphins pre-free agency position analysis: LB’s


The Miami Dolphins are reportedly searching for not one but two starting linebackers this off-season. Can they afford that and will those linebackers come from the free agency market or the draft? Where should they come from?

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Jelani Jenkins still has some growing to do but looks to be on schedule to become a very good outside linebacker. Inside however it’s a mess with Kelvin Sheppard playing strong only in the final few weekends of the 2015 season. Koa Misi had a decent season last year but he is inconsistent in almost every area of his game. And it’s not game by game as much as it is series by series.

How the Dolphins attack the linebacker position this off-season will be critical for their immediate future. Miami could go with a top tier linebacker like Danny Travathan or they could go to a lower tier like Rolando McCain. They just need to go somewhere. Miami’s linebacker production was very poor in 2015 and the unit needs major attention this off-season.

This year is a very good season for needing inside linebacker help but it will also be costly at the top. Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs, James Lauraintis, Mclain, Jerrell Freeman and more. And those are the interior linebackers.

The Dolphins have seven linebackers on their roster and while Neville Hewitt showed some very positive play towards the end of his rookie season, the question of whether he will be a future starter is still unknown. Aside from Misi, Jenkins, and Sheppard, the Dolphins are stocked with undrafted players like Mike Hull and Zach Vigil and veterans James-Michael Johnson and Spencer Paysinger. Paysinger was an abomination most of last season.

The Dolphins are not physical at the position and that needs to change. They lack a true leader on that unit and that leader needs to be able to direct the rest of the front seven. This is where the Dolphins need to focus their initial attention.

Team Need – yes

Free agency need – High

Target in free agency or draft – Both