2018 Dolphins defensive draft needs

Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General overall view of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General overall view of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins spent all but two draft picks in 2017 on the defensive side ofthe ball. In 2016 the draft was offensive heavy.

The 2017 NFL Draft is over and done with. The Miami Dolphins must be mindful of aging players, injuries, salaries and contracts that are getting close to expiring.

In the 2017 NFL Draft, Miami added weapons on each level of the defense. DE Charles Harris, LB Raekwon McMillan, and CB Cordrea Tankersley were all picked in the first three rounds. DT Davon Godchaux was picked in round 5, and DT Vincent Taylor was picked in round 6.

Below is a list compiled of Miami’s defensive players who have contracts expiring in 2018 or 2019 (Players that are underlined – denotes starter in 2016).


DE – William Hayes, Terrenece Fede; DT – Nick Williams; ILB – Mike Hull, Lamin Barrow; OLB – Koa Misi, Neville Hewitt, Trevor Reilly; CB – Lafayette Pitts; S – Michael Thomas,  Nate Allen, Walt Aikens, T.J. McDonald; LS – John Denney; P – Matt Darr; K – Andrew Franks.


DE – Cameron Wake, Julius Warmsley, Arthur Miley; DT – Jordan Phillips, Lawrence Okoye; ILB – Lawrence Timmons; OLB – Deon Lacey, Brandon Watts; CB – Tony Lippett, Bobby McCain; S – A.J. Hendy.

Dolphin’s top 4 areas of need on defense for 2018:


  • Quin Blanding – Virginia – HT.6-1. WT.205.
  • Godwin Igwebulke – Northwestern – HT.6-0. WT.200.
  • Armani Wallace – Texas A&M – HT.5-11. WT.200.
  • Marcus Allen – Penn State – HT.6-1. WT.205.


  • Da’Ron Payne – Alabama – HT.6-2. WT.319.
  • Christian Wilkins – Clemson – HT.6-4. WT.310.
  • Vita Vea – Washington – HT.6-5. WT.332.
  • Daylon Mack – Texas A&M – HT.6-1. WT.335.


  • Arden Key – LSU – HT.6-6 WT.231.
  • Bradley Chubb – N.C. State – HT.6-4. WT.275.
  • Duke Ejiofor – Wake Forest – HT.6-4. WT.270.
  • Harold Landry – Boston College – HT.6-3. WT.250.


  • Harold Landry – Boston College – HT.6-3. WT.250.
  • Kendall Joseph – Clemson – HT.6-0. WT.230.
  • Malik Jefferson – Texas – HT.6-3. WT.250.
  • Marquis Haynes – Ole Miss – HT.6-3. WT.222.

FS is the most important position on the defense that should be addressed. Miami needs a safety they can be a perfect match with Reshad Jones. With Jones roaming close to the line and firing off on instincts more times than not, the Dolphins need a safety who has great range and coverage skills. Intelligence and being able to lead the secondary are a must, also. After filling the FS need, the next focus should be on DE, followed by OLB, and finally DT.

The defensive unit wasn’t good last year, plain and simple.

On defense, last year the Dolphins ranked third in total rush yards allowed, with 2,247. They also ranked third with140.4 yards per game permitted. Running backs averaged 4.8 yards per carry, which tied for first. Miami also ranked second in 20+ yard runs, with 18. When it came to attempts per game and total attempts allowed on the year, Miami ranked fifth.

Basically, the run defense was horrible.

We all remember seeing Darrius Heyward-Bey’s big 60-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins in their October matchup. Or how LeGarette Blount made Miami defenders look like bowling pins in Week 2.

Miami’s passing defense was average among other NFL teams last season. Allowing 242.2 yards per game, ranked them 15th. Opponents threw for a total of 3,875 yards, which ranks 18th. 20th in completion percentage with 62.3%, 9th in attempts at 36.9 per game and interceptions with 16. However, Miami split a three-way tie at 6th allowing 30 passing touchdowns.

There were a few games where the passing defense just got out of hand. There were four opponents (Patriots, Chargers, Bills, Ravens) Miami couldn’t stop from gaining over 300 yards through the air. In Week 13, the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco threw for a whopping 386 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, and a passer rating of 119.2.

What do you believe is the biggest need on defense in the 2018 NFL Draft for the Dolphins?

Stay tuned as we consider the biggest offensive needs for the Dolphins in 2018.