Perhaps the one position, if there is a singular position, that needs addressed both in the draft and in free agency, it’s linebacker. The Dolphins recent draft history is abysmal at the position in recent years. The team has not drafted a linebacker since Jordan Tripp was taken in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. He is long gone.
Prior to 2014, Jelani Jenkins was taken in the 4th round of 2013. Jenkins developed into a starting linebacker but he has really had only one solid season with the others being average. Injuries have played a large part in his development and now he is an impending free agent.
The last time a Dolphins team drafted a linebacker in the first three rounds was 2012’s 3rd round when the Dolphins drafted Olivier Vernon who was then moved to defensive end. Koa Misi was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010 and his future in Miami is very doubtful.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins their choices in free agency have not proved as valuable as the contracts they were given. As a result, names like Karlos Dansby, Dannell Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler, and others have simply come and gone leaving not only a lack of continuity but a lack of top-level tacklers that are needed in a 4-3 defense.
The Dolphins can not simply sign two linebackers in free agency and call it a day. They need to sign one, re-sign Kiko Alonso and add another in the top three rounds of the draft. If not the first. The Dolphins can no longer neglect this position in the draft.
Free agency should provide the Dolphins one starter to work with Alonso and then, again, the draft should provide the third. If not, the Dolphins are likely going to overpay for a free agent.