The Miami Dolphins need to prioritize in middle linebackers.
This has been something many of us have been calling out for a while now. The Miami Dolphins are wildly weak at the middle linebacker position.
Looking at the two number one seeds, the Ravens and the 49ers, they take middle linebacker play very seriously. Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith are manning the middle for Baltimore while Fred Warner and company command the middle in San Francisco.
Even the Chiefs have Nick Bolton, who is a terrific linebacker and the Lions have a young guy in Alex Anzalone, who is no slouch.
The playoffs largely come down to getting stops (real newsflash, am I right). Stops mean even more when you're playing the upper-echelon quarterbacks. Stopping Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, or Josh Allen means even more when you can do it in the postseason, and these middle linebackers are not letting these quarterbacks throw over the middle easily. Instead, they make them make plays outside the numbers where the percentage of completing the ball is lower.
That, and they are stuffing the run before it becomes a problem thus keeping momentum down.
The Dolphins are down so bad at middle linebacker that, diamond in the rough Andrew Van Ginkel, would have seen much more time there if Jaelan Phillips didn't get hurt.
David Long Jr. had a very nice season and I know the wizardry of PFF has him ranked high. I thought he had a solid year but not anything that jumped out at me. Jerome Baker is a guy we're not sure will be back. He costs a lot, and he's older now. I wouldn't be shocked or upset if the Dolphins looked to upgrade if they can.
It's funny, the middle linebacker position is considered the running back position of the defense, where you don't need to draft high or get a stud in there. I think that the middle linebacker position is coming back.