For 2018, the Miami Dolphins will definitely have a new look on the defensive line, especially at defensive end. Most notably, on March 2nd, the Dolphins traded for Rams DE Robert Quinn, sending a 4th RD pick and swapped 6th RD picks to the Rams. What the Dolphins are probably hoping for is the 10.5 sacks he achieved in ’14 as a true DE, or the 19 sacks he got in 2013, but the Dolphins would love something in between the two. Cam Wake returns at the age of 36, but we all know and understand that Wake treats his body like a temple, and is in prime physical condition. Charles Harris will be entering his 2nd season, and although he won’t be a starter, the theme at DT also applies to DE, so there will be plenty of rotation going on, and Charles Harris will get plenty of opportunities to show some improvement. Also returning this season is Andre Branch, who had a down season last year as he was maligned by minor injuries. William Hayes also returns, and although he was also hampered by injuries last season, Hayes continues to be a productive player in run support and is probably our best edge setter.
Robert Quinn RDE – 6’4 250
Although we will be rotating players often, Robert Quinn will likely be starting on the right side. If Quinn is healthy, specifically his back, he could be a huge help to the Dolphins defense. Last season used as an OLB in the Rams 3-4 alignment, Quinn managed 8.5 sacks, along with 32 total tackles with 2 FF’s and 2 FR’s. If Quinn can give the Dolphins production like he had in 2013 or 2014, this defense will be significantly better than last year. Unfortunately, it’s been 4 years since he’s done that, but I admire the Dolphins gamble on the former All-Pro DE.
William Hayes LDE – 6’3 278
Hayes played in 10 games for the Dolphins last season and although he didn’t start, he’s our best run defending end. Hayes will also play some DT, and he will do that on obvious passing downs to give the defense some more of a rush from the middle. Whether he starts or not is unimportant, Hayes will definitely be leaned on for help on the DL, whether it’s at LE or DT.
Andre Branch RDE – 6’5 263
Branch had 14 starts last year, but as I previously mentioned, he is 2017 season was marred by minor injuries. Branch’s tackle total dropped from almost 50 to 23, and his sack total was down from 5.5 to 4.5. The Dolphins would be happy with his 2016 production or better, and if healthy, Branch may well be the starter, as they save Robert Quinn for pass rush duties.
Charles Harris RDE – 6’3 250
Last year’s first RD pick showed some potential although overall it was not an overwhelmingly successful season. While the rookie showed some explosive get off, he managed only 2 sacks, but did get 23 QB hurries. This season, some of those hurries need to turn into sacks. The Dolphins have enough talent at DE that Hayes won’t need to be leaned on heavily, but there’s no question they need to bring him along from last season. The 23YO will definitely get his pass rushing chances, but he will also get some work in the run game too. It’s time for Harris to start developing into a complete player, and not just a pass rush specialist.
Cameron Malveaux DE – 6’5 276
The big Houston Cougars DE showed some flashes last season, mostly in preseason action. He definitely has good size, and the 2 sport athlete (Basketball, Football) has the athleticism to play DE. The 2017 UDFA will get his shot to make the team, but the considerable depth after the Quinn trade will make it more difficult. At worst, Malveaux is a developmental player worthy of the PS.
Jonathan Woodard DE – 6’6 271
Woodard was a 2016 7th RD draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars cut him, and then the Atlanta Falcons picked him up and put him on the PS only to release him from the PS which enabled the Dolphins to pick him up and place him on the Dolphins PS. Woodard recorded 15 sacks in 24 (16 starts) games at Central Arkansas, so he certainly made the most of his opportunities there. Another DE with the right size and athleticism who needs to be brought along and developed. Not to be repetitive, but with the current depth, Woodard faces a high climb to make the team.
Claudy Mathieu DE – 6’6 250
The former California-Pennsylvania and Notre Dame (Ohio) Falcons player came into the NFL last season as a 25YO rookie. Another player will excellent physical traits, but a long way to go to being a finished product. The Dolphins picked up Mathieu as an UDFA this season. At the moment, Mathieu is a longshot to make the cut.
Quincy Redmon DE – 6’5 240
Redmon was signed by the Dolphins as a 2018 UDFA. The former Fairmont College Fighting Falcon DE was a 2016 was named All-MEC 1st team defensive lineman with 52 total tackles and 12 sacks. Injuries sidelined Redmon in 2017 as a Senior as he missed the final 5 games. Another athletic specimen who faces an uphill climb to make the roster.