The Dolphins defense has some elite talent on their side of the ball. Unfortunately, some of those players are their oldest players – either over 30 or approaching 30 years old.
Will age start to show in some of the Dolphins’ defenders? Will there be a decline in play or an injury? The Dolphins defense lacks depth at some positions. A decline in play of the veteran players will lead to a worse defense in 2017 than 2016.
Last year, Cameron Wake came back from an Achilles injury and had 11.5 sacks. Will he be able to repeat that performance or will he start to slow down?
Ndamukong Suh is 30 years old and entering his 8th year in the NFL. Suh is double teamed in every NFL game. The constant double teams and banging in the middle of the line start to deteriorate the human body. Does he start to show a decrease in productivity?
The newly added Lawrence Timmons is 31 years old and entering his 11th season. The Pittsburgh Steelers opted not to resign Timmons, thinking his best days are behind him. Were they right in their assessment? The Dolphins have signed older defenders in the past, and it has not paid off.
Last year, the Dolphins signed free agent 31-year old Mario Williams, and he contributed very little to the team. He is no longer with the Dolphins.
Also last year, Reshad Jones injured his shoulder and missed the last 10 games of the 2016 season. He is 29 years old and entering his 8th season. Will he regain his Pro Bowl form in 2017 or will his shoulder bother him the rest of his career and lead to a decline in play?
Other older expected contributors for the Dolphins defense in 2017 are Nate Allen, age 29, Koa Misi, age 30, William Hayes, age 32, and Byron Maxwell, age 29.
The Dolphins drafted a lot of players on defense this past year, but they might not be able to contribute right away. The depth on defense is still in question. They may need one more draft to add that much-needed depth to that unit in order to become a top 10 defense.
The Dolphins defense has a good mix of young and old players on the defense. However, if the old players decline earlier than expected and the younger players don’t develop as quickly as expected, then the Dolphins defense may be worse in 2017 than they were in 2016.