The Miami Dolphins have a significant lack of depth at the defensive tackle position and will need to address this as soon as possible.
While the offensive line is the biggest need for the Miami Dolphins, a recent roster move has left somewhat of a gaping hole in the team’s depth at the defensive tackle position.
The Dolphins announced that they had waived six players ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, freeing up roster spots for the rookies that the team will be picking this coming Thursday.
One player that was waived by the team was DT Gerald Willis, who made two tackles in two games he played for the Dolphins in 2019 before being placed on injured reserve.
While not a significant piece to the team’s puzzle, Willis was the only official backup at the nose tackle position behind starter Davon Godchaux, leaving the Dolphins with a hole that needs filling.
Godchaux is the unquestioned starter for the Dolphins in the heart of the trenches on the defensive side of the ball, registering 75 tackles (33 solo) and two sacks during his third season with the team.
Christian Wilkins, the team’s first-round (13th overall) selection last year, is capable of stepping in to relieve Godchaux, but projects to be a starter on the end of the team’s 3-4 defensive line.
Taking Wilkins away from the end to fill the gap inside would leave the Dolphins short in another area, making the need to add a new defensive tackle far higher than originally expected.
This could be an indicator as to the team’s plans with Thursday’s draft, with a number of promising players at the position available right the way through the rounds.
Auburn’s Derrick Brown and South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw are expected to be immediate impact players for a team wanting to spend a first-round pick at the position, something that the Dolphins aren’t likely to do.
Outside of Brown and Kinlaw, however, there are a number of players projected to be available on day two of the draft that the Dolphins could reasonably be expected to target, either at pick 39 or 56.
Alabama’s Raekwon Davis could be the best option available for the Dolphins’ defensive scheme, having ideal size (6-foot-6, 311lbs) and quick hands to play the nose tackle position.
TCU’s Ross Blacklock, Missouri’s Jordan Elliott and Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike could also be worth consideration though their size, shorter and significantly lighter than Davis, might have them fitting a 4-3 defensive front more effectively.
These four players all project to be starters in a year or two of development and could provide the Miami Dolphins with some real quality and competition behind Godchaux.
The Dolphins could also find some value later in the draft, with Georgia’s Tyler Clark or Mississippi’s Benito Jones likely available in the fourth or fifth rounds, providing Brian Flores with a solid backup option, while having some tools to work on developing.
If the Dolphins don’t add a defensive tackle in the draft, then free agency will be the route they take to address the lack of depth.
Marcell Dareus could be an interesting option for the Dolphins, with the former 3rd-overall pick in 2011 already having had his best days, but could still look to see the field in 2020 after finishing the 2019 season on the injured reserve list.
Whichever route the Dolphins take, they will need to bring in at least one new face at the position to ensure that they are adequately covered in a worst-case scenario.