The Miami Dolphins shocked the fan base when they drafted Raekwon McMillan in the second round, as the team already thought they had a middle linebacker in Lawrence Timmons. This decision may very well turn out to be a smart one.
Raekwon McMillan was one of the top middle linebackers in the draft- some had him ranked as the number two MLB behind Reuben Foster. But when the Miami Dolphins selected him 54th overall, the entire country jumped to the conclusion that he would slide over to an outside linebacker spot.
When the team added veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons, everybody thought he would come right in and lead this defense from the middle linebacker spot. This makes sense because he has been in the NFL for many years and truly knows how to handle himself and make the right calls.
Many concluded that McMillan would learn the defense from the SAM linebacker spot (strong side linebacker) then slide over to MIKE linebacker when Timmons decided to hang the cleats up. They backed their belief up with the fact that Raekwon is an excellent run-stuffing linebacker.
But it just goes to show that all the power lies within the coaches hands. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke saw McMillan as a starting middle linebacker, so that’s where he put him and that’s where he has stayed.
But rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan has shined so far in the offseason and has already mentioned that the game is slowing down for him, which is incredible at this stage in his young career.
For many days now, McMillan has seen first team reps at middle linebacker and seems to have a firm grasp of the role now. This slides Lawrence Timmons to the strong side linebacker spot and gives the team some major flexibility when it comes to the Nickel package.
Coach Burke all but guaranteed that the starting middle linebacker spot belongs to Raekwon McMillan after Friday’s practice. Many reporters were asking about his situation and Burke emphasized that McMillan has earned the job.
With so much time left in training camp, anything can happen. But this is also a good thing because it lets Raekwon know his role on the team and gives him nearly a month to adjust and improve on that role before the season starts.
Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso are going to make McMillan’s job easier, as they have played his position and been in his exact same spot. They will give him a great example off the field and they will help him on the field.
Many have said that Raekwon McMillan looks great so far and is really grasping the playbook. He is barking out orders like a natural (which he truly is) and looks comfortable in his own shoes.
The Miami Dolphins look like they found a gem in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft. Raekwon McMillan is going to be around for a while.
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