Need Number 1 for Dolphins: Linebacker
The Miami Dolphins improved their team on offense in free agency, but they still need to address other needs to make the playoffs in a crowded AFC. Targetting linebackers in the draft makes sense for a team that was in the middle of the pack in yards allowed rushing and passing. Linebackers wear many hats on modern defenses, run support, coverage, and pass rush. The Dolphins struggles to cover tight ends with linebackers has been known for years.
Miami gave up five draft picks for Tyreek Hill. That left them with no picks in the first two rounds in the upcoming draft. Overall the team is left with just five selections. Do they consider linebacker a big enough need to move back into the first or second round? The answer to that question may, in part, determine how the Dolphins win games next season, shootouts or defensive struggles.
Edge Rusher Improvement Can Help Dolphins Overall Pass D
Miami finished middle of the pack in pass defense because the team blitzed so much. Secondary is the strength of the defense, but leaving them in man coverage constantly leads to giving up occasional big plays. That’s why the Dolphins need to improve at edge rusher.
Just as with linebacker the question for the team is how to improve the pass rush with limited picks. Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah formed a solid pass duo last year, but in todays NFL there’s never enough pass rushers for a team. Finding a way to get pressure with the Dolphins defensive line makes a solid secondary even better, freeing up linebackers to support in coverage.
How Much DidDolphins Improve Its Oline?
Give Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel credit for addressing the huge need along the offensive line. Terron Armstead and Connor Williams lessen the need to find offensive linemen in the draft. This is a deep draft for offensive linemen and better protection for Tua Tagovailoa cannot hurt.
Miami, under McDaniel will run to set up the pass. A better run game protects Tua as well. Play action off the run game will mean more chances at bigger plays for Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki. Continued growth along the offensive line gives Miami the opportunity to be the offense it can be. It gives the team a chance to also end its playoff futility as well.
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