Previewing the Miami Dolphins defensive line starts with Christian Wilkins.
The Dolphins’ offseason plan was obvious from the beginning. Invest in guys who play on or close to the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to look at the defensive side of the ball and the players who will make up “the front seven” in 2020.
The Dolphins spent their first-round draft choice in 2019 on defensive tackle Christian Wilkins from Clemson. The 6’4” 315-pound rookie had a very solid season in 2019. Wilkins played in all 16 games for the Dolphins, starting 14 of them. Wilkins notched 56 total tackles last season (30 solo and 26 assists) as well as 2 sacks. He also chipped in with two passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Almost more important than the numbers is the attitude that Wilkins brought to the team. A fun-loving, hard worker who celebrated his teammate’s success more than his own. Wilkins was often seen as the first player down the sidelines to congratulate his offensive teammate after scoring a touchdown. Guys like this are loved in the locker room.
Wilkins isn’t the prototypical big-bodied space-eater on the defensive line but has enough size combined with above-average athleticism for a man his size as evidenced in his touchdown reception in week 16 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Wilkins will have some competition heading into year two as the Dolphins drafted one defensive tackle and were quick to sign another as an undrafted free agent. Competition is good and will likely bring out the best in a player like Wilkins. Look for Wilkins to improve on his rookie campaign and make an impact in the middle of the defensive line.
No matter what Wilkins will have a big role on the defensive line in 2020 and beyond.