Can the Dolphins Roster on Defense Improve Much?

There were three moves on the Miami Dolphins roster made today, all on defense. The team signed Cleveland Browns defensive end Porter Gustin, waving cornerback Javaris Davis and defensive end Daeshon Hall. Davis played just one game for Miami, in 2020, and Hall signed in February. Gustin’s stats for Cleveland in three seasons: 52 tackles and one sack. He also played 226 snaps on special teams. His signing shows the Dolphins are trying to find depth on defense, tinkering around the edges. Miami still can add to the defense. They still have $16 million in cap space. Teams must cut down to a 53 man roster before the season starts. The Dolphins may wait for those cuts to try add depth. How much more the roster improves between now and week one against the New England Patriots is an open question.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr remain unsigned. Suh played three seasons for Miami, signing the then largest contract for a defensive player at $114 million. He and Barr both play at positions of need for the Dolphins, but the team is not rumored to have an interest in either so far.

Former Cleveland Browns defensive end Porter Gustin signed with the Dolphins today (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Young Pieces Must Step Up on Dolphins Defense

Young players on defense, such as defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and safety Jevon Holland, need to continue to improve. Raekwon Davis and Wilkins need to help bolster the team’s run defense. Wilkins ability to improve as an interior rusher also could help. Miami blitzed heavily under former Head Coach Brian Flores to pressure quarterbacks. Fewer blitzes means more help for corner backs, and less one-on- one coverage. Third round draft pick Channing Tindall can help the teams issues covering tight ends. A big part of the defenisive starters are 25 or younger: Wilkins, Davis, linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel and Baker, Holland, and defensive end Jaelan Phillips. Yes, signing a veteran like Melvin Ingram helps, but all these players are in key positions. Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, as well as position coaches, must continue to help these players reach their potential.

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Melvin Ingram (24) signed with Miami as a free agent this offseason. the team expects him to help mentor defensive end Jaelan Phillips and be a situational pass rusher Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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