Why this Mississippi State linebacker should be on the Miami Dolphins draft radar

Arkansas v Mississippi State
Arkansas v Mississippi State / Justin Ford/GettyImages

During the 2023 offseason, the Miami Dolphins released Jerome Baker which many considered a cost-cutting move. By cutting Baker the Dolphins cleared $9.8 million dollars in cap space.

At the time, releasing Baker left the Dolphins very thin at the linebacker position. Since then Miami has signed several linebackers to the roster, including Shaquil Barrett formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barret is 31 years old and is on a one-year contract. Suffice it to say Miami will be looking for or should be looking for linebacker help in next week's NFL Draft.

With only 6 picks entering the draft, Miami needs to make the most of their selections. Enter Nathaniel Watson, an inside linebacker from Mississippi State University.

Nathaniel Watson is a 4-year starter who spent six seasons at Mississippi State. What Watson lacks in speed he more than makes up for in tackling and quarterback-hunting.

Nathaniel Watson has led the SEC in sacks since 2021 and tackles since 2022. In 2023 Watson led all linebackers in college football with 10 sacks. Watson was also the number-one linebacker in total pressures.

Next Gen Stats had Nathaniel Watson ranked 3rd in production score, topping both Payton Wilson and Edgerrin Cooper. Watson is durable and reliable, having missed one game since becoming a full-time starter in 2021.

When you turn on the tape to watch Nathaniel Watson you see a linebacker who is quick to diagnose plays. Watson is quick to read and react to plays without hesitation, making sure not to overpursue.

His felony street racing charge in 2018 could keep some teams away. However, it's his lack of speed in coverage that likely has Watson with a 5th or 6th-round grade.

The right scheme could maximize Watson's talents and make for a headache at the linebacker position. Needing youth at the linebacker position would make Watson a great pick for the Dolphins in the 6th or 7th round.