After last years loss in the playoffs to Pittsburgh this Dolphins roster had many areas of need to be addressed and the front office and coaching staff did a very good job addressing those needs. They added a tight end who has the ability to get down field and make plays in the passing game, they went out and used their 1st round pick to get a pass rusher with very high upside and who showed in college the ability to get to the quarterback, they brought in two veteran safeties to secure the secondary, and added a proven veteran middle linebacker. What was surprising is Miami ignored the defensive tackle position.
Even with Phillips being an inconsistent player he is still pretty good. So ok that's a good starting defensive tackle tandem and Miami is looking OK there. Let's now talk about the depth behind those two starters...oh wait, there is no depth! Literally after those two players there isn't another proven defensive tackle on the roster.
|Rookie Vincent Taylor|
Now yes of course when the games start for real on passing downs you will see defensive ends William Hayes slide into the defensive tackle position and even last year at times Andre Branch moved in and played DT on passing downs in certain packages so there are ways to be creative and mask the problem here. The big issue and question mark is when you play the "WHAT IF...." game which is what all NFL GM's and Head Coaches do all the time. WHAT IF Suh or Phillips blow out a knee? Or hurt their back? Or essentially go down to any injury that puts them out for multiple weeks or even worse the entire season. You can't play Hayes or Branch at DT full time, you need a legit proven DT to step into that role and Miami doesn't have one.
Do I expect Miami to go dumpster diving for a DT once training camp starts and look for a more proven guy who is cut by another team; yes of course. And there are some veterans still on the open market who Miami could sign today to fill in as a third defensive tackle for depth. Mind you these guys are well past their prime and on the downside of their career. They are Dan Williams, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick, and Vance Walker to name a few.
The fact remains that Miami let this area go unaddressed this entire offseason and that is a bit surprising. While Miami has two starters at this position that are capable we all know injuries happen in this league and Miami is one injury away to Suh or Phillips from having a giant hole in the middle of their defensive line that might destroy their entire 2017 season. The Dolphins need at least one and probably two veteran defensive tackles to add to this roster and I am not sure why they are waiting to bring at least onet in. I am sure they want to see what the rookies they drafted do when the pads go on and the hitting begins but even if one stands out I still think they will need a veteran who has been around the block once or twice at DT on this roster to back-up the position.
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