The Dolphins are building a nice foundation of young defensive players along the defensive line. The last 2 years, the Dolphins drafted 2 key pieces for the D-line, 2019 1st RD pick (#13) Christian Wilkins and 2020 2nd RD pick (#56) Raekwon Davis. WIlkins has played a ton of snaps at both NT and DE while Davis slowly increased his playing time at NT, especially after NT Davon Godchaux went down due to injury. Godchaux who was drafted in the 5th RD of the 2017 draft had been a very solid, if unspectacular player for the Dolphins. He played all 16 games in 2019 finishing with 75 tackles, 7 QB hits and 4 TFL along with 2 sacks. He’s a free agent in 2021 and I’d like to sign him, even with the emergence of Raekwon Davis. The problem is, the salary cap shrunk this season due to COVID-19 ramifications to revenues but if he’s willing to take a deal with the team that’s cap friendly, he may be back in the fold.
Emmanuel Ogbah made a big impact early in the season but then almost faded out and disappeared later in the season. Through the first 8 games of the season, Ogbah had 7 sacks. The 2nd half he managed on 2 more sacks in 8 games. Ogbah will be a free agent after this season. That could be good for the Dolphins in 2021 because Ogbah will be playing for his next contract, whether that’s here or somewhere else. Another important free agent acquisition, although it was late 2019, not 2020 was DE Zach Sieler. Sieler was a pleasant surprise last season. Sieler was a 7th RD draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens. What nice gem unearthed by the Dolphins. Sieler barely got any playing time in Baltimore but the Dolphins obviously saw something there. He played 52% of the defensive snaps last season and he was very active if you watched the games.Sieler finished with 48 tackles, and check this out, 11 tackles for loss. That’s getting into the opposing teams backfield a lot, and finishing the play.He also added 11 QB hits and 3.5 sacks.
Raekwon Davis, the giant on the DL got 12 starts at NT last season. His presence may allow the Dolphins to move on from Davon Godchaux, that will depend on how much it takes to keep Davon here and how much he wants to be here. Davis is such a presence on the D-line at 6’6 311 and I think he might get even bigger and add more bulk. Davis showed a lot of promise last season. I think what we really need is another pass rusher. That can be accomplished by getting either a DE or a pass rushing OLB. In the 2021 NFL Draft, edge rusher Gregor Rousseau would be a nice pick. Very long, and not just another speed guy. Rousseau actually wins with leverage and technique. Rousseau is 6’7 260 and has elite size. One caveat is he only gave 1 full season of production. He opted out last season due to COVID-19, but in 2019 he had a great season for the Miami Hurricanes, posting 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. forced 2 fumbles and recovered 1. That’s making an impact! Other edge rushers would be Michigan’s Kwity Paye (6’4 272), MIami’s Jaelan Phillips (6’5 266), Pitts Patrick Jones II (6’5 260) and I’m sure as always, you have your favorites not yet listed.
We could also be looking for a DT/DE in the draft. Alabama’s Christian Barmore (6’5 310), slightly undersized Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike (6’3 288), Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon (6’3 305). I do think there is potential we can re-sign Davon Godchaux, he definitely excelled here, but he may only be a rotational piece in our defense and therefore he could easily get outpriced if he can get starter money elsewhere. Carlos Basham Jr. (6’5 280) is another athlete can play multiple positions. He could play either DE or inside on pass rush downs. He has the size, length and quickness and is very disruptive spending a lot of time in opposing teams side of the LOS. In free agency, there are quite a few young D-linemen available. I can’t see us spending major money on one, but Leonard Williams (27), Larry Ogunjobi (27), Trey Hendrickson (27), and Deatrich Wise (26). We also have our own depth guys that will hopefully take a step forward like DT Benito Jones and DE Jason Strowbridge. I don’t expect us to be active much in FA but we may choose to get one or two pieces on either side of the ball.