Defensive Line Key To 2017 And Phillips Key To DL
Phillips is a question mark that must become an exclamation mark
We know the story: The Miami Dolphins were terrible against the run last season. And even though the linebackers had a huge part to play, the Defensive Line didn’t occupying the opposing linemen the way they should.
With the Draft coming up, and limited bullets to shoot at several big holes, it’s absolutely crucial that Jordan Phillips—who is training with Ndamukong Suh—finally lives up to his talent and draft status.
Despite many NFL football fans feeling that the Dolphins have overpaid for Suh, the truth is, he has been excellent. But he can’t do it on his own. The Dolphins have brought in Lawrence Timmons and William Hayes, which on paper should help. With Miami parting ways with Earl Mitchell, Phillips and the question mark surrounding his performance is the elephant in the room.
Miami looked around for a third DT and was willing to spend to bring in talents, so they aren’t completely confident in Phillips… and that is a little troubling–especially with the draft around the corner.
Phillips is a second round pick that must become a starter
This feels a bit like last year, but with the running back position. The Dolphins didn’t get into a bidding war over Lamar Miller. When they lost him to the Houston Texans they said they had confidence in Jay Ajayi, that he could fill the void. However, even though the Dolphins said they thought Ajayi could be the guy, that didn’t stop them from trying to sign C.J. Anderson… and a list of other running backs. The Dolphins finally did add Foster and Drake, but luckily for them Ajayi had a breakout season and was a real blessing.
At the moment, Phillips is going to be paired with Suh and will be given every opportunity to start. There is no question that Phillips has talent, because he has flashed it during games. But Phillips well known problem is being consistent. Before Phillips was drafted, the rub on him was that he was not known as a hard worker and sometimes took plays off. Unfortunately, that stigma has not disappeared, because there are times during the game where Phillips is completely blown off the line of scrimmage.
Phillips is at a crossroad with the Dolphins organization
What is Miami to do in this draft? If they believe in Phillips, then they don’t need to spend a blue chip on a DT–which would be a huge plus. But if he isn’t starter worthy, this will be a long season. This is why Phillips is key. If he plays to his potential, the Dolphins get a stud to go along with Suh and can use a high draft pick on another issue. But what if they don’t believe and draft a DT high and Phillips pans out? Then they expended a high pick that could be used elsewhere. This scenario wouldn’t be terrible in the long run, but would limit this season. It seems like Gase and Co. are believers. For the team’s sake, and for the sake of the 2017 season, they better be right.
Miami is most likely not going to use a 1st or 2nd round pick on a DT, but they still must add another DT, either through the draft or in free agency. But with limited cap space, and so many other pressing needs to fill, their evaluation in Phillips will be a top 5 reason for the success or failure of 2017. Go Fins!!!