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Is First Round Linebacker The Right Option?

Is First Round Linebacker The Right Option?

Will LB be the first pick for Miami, and if so, who?

Will LB be the first round pick for Miami, and if so, who?

It’s guessing game at this point, maybe it will be LB in the first round?

The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Miami Dolphins need to pull off one of their best drafts to improve on last year… and the first round will be critical.

This draft is considered by many to be especially loaded on Defense. This is a huge advantage to the Dolphins, who definitely need to add more pieces on Defense than on Offense. But, however “loaded” it is or not, hitting on the right players is the real key.

Depending on how the first round shakes out–prior to Miami’s selection–will have a lot to do with what Miami eventually does with the 22nd overall pick. Most NFL football fans are betting that Miami is going to use this first pick on defense, even though interior line is a serious need. But if they do go defense, and go linebacker specifically, there are two that should be on the board and are definitely worth selecting; T.J. Watt, and Zach Cunningham.

First round could be several different positions, but LB makes a lot of sense.

I lean towards Cunningham, because he is a tackling machine that’s phenomenal against the run. Last year he had 125 tackles, with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 3 passes batted, and 2 forced fumbles. He has excellent instincts and excels against the run, which is exactly what we need on this team. While his natural position is inside linebacker, it appears that the Dolphins new signee Lawrence Timmons is most likely going to be the starting inside linebacker. But that ‘s fine, because Cunningham can play on the outside to start his career, then move back inside later on.

The other option might be J.J. Watt’s younger brother,T.J. He isn’t even near the talent of J.J., but he’s definitely starting linebacker material in the NFL. And considering the pedigree that he comes from, I wouldn’t bet against him. T.J. has gotten better each season, and last year he made 63 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 4 passes batted, and 2 forced fumbles. Whenever you watch tape on him you can see that he has a nose for the football.

First round picks must start and Miami can’t afford not to make the right choice.

The best thing about these two players–besides being guys that can and should start from day one–they could be had even if Miami trades down and gets an extra draft pick in the process. With Zach Brown a Redskin now, they must find someone to pair will Koa Misi, because FA options are currently very limited. The Dolphins WILL draft a LB. The question is, when?  What are the rest of the Miami Dolphins News fans thoughts about selecting either of these two Linebackers with our first round pick?


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  • Steve

    I’m a believer that the Patriots cannot handle a Duo R/B threat?
    Wining games against the Patriots


    Why not Draft Dalvin Cook if available New England can not handle Duo R/B
    Dalvin Cook in my observation will be a NFL Hall of Famer

    Dolphins AFC Champions 2008 (Dolphins not playing sloppy Football)

  • Steve

    Recently, statisticians have said that given the history of the NFL draft, you’re just as likely to find a Pro-Bowler in the 7th round than you are in the 1st. That is to say, it doesn’t matter where you have a selection, only how many selections you have. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are a fine example of that. They had 6 Pro Bowl players, only two of which were first rounders: Earl Thomas and Marshawn Lynch. Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were both 5th round picks, Russell Wilson was selected in the 3rd round, and Max Unger was a 2nd round selection.

    I would attribute their success to good coaching and Pete Carrol’s knowledge of today’s college players.

  • Steve

    There are four teams in NFL history that have never had the 1st overall draft pick: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, and Denver Broncos. Three of those four teams are expansion teams, so they’ve had fewer go’s at it, but Denver’s the surprising one on that list, having been around since 1960. They’ve had some bad teams over the years, but never bad enough it would seem.

    NFL Teams with the most 1st round draft picks?
    10. Cincinnati Bengals — 3 First Overall Picks
    9. San Francisco 49ers — 3 First Overall Picks
    8. Arizona Cardinals — 4 First Overall Picks
    7. Buffalo Bills — 4 First Overall Picks
    6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 4 First Overall Picks
    5. Atlanta Falcons — 4 First Overall Picks
    4. Detroit Lions — 4 First Overall Picks
    3. New England Patriots — 5 First Overall Picks
    2. St. Louis Rams — 6 First Overall Picks
    1. Indianapolis Colts — 7 First Overall Picks-1955, QB George Shaw, 1967, Pro Bowl DE Bubba Smith, 1983, they draft John Elway, 1998, Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee, 1990 QB Jeff George and 1992 DT Steve Emtman.

    These are the facts now how many of the above teams are still losers meaning never won a Super Bowl nor Made it there?

  • Steve

    Base on Armando Salguero the Dolphins are ranked 30th in run defense? My questioned is how much of this is coaching?, Do we have the best defensive line coach if not, why not?

    Do we have the best linebacker coach, if not why not? To beat the Patriots when it counts means having the Best out there!

  • Frantz

    Zach Cunningham is even more lean than Peppers …Im a bit scared about him . Watt is underrated in my opinion but many thinks hes not first round material , Reddick will be probably gone at 22 , Jarrad Davis is the best “pure” LB in the draft (except Foster) and he has run an excellent 40y time in his pro day showing he totally recovered from an injury.

    • admin

      Frantz I’m not a Draft expert in the least, so I kinda’ just go with the flow. I won’t say who is going to be there, but I’ve heard Davis could be gone too. Yeah, Cunningham is a bit slim… at SLB that’s not good, unless you use speed and technique to compensate to set the edge. In my limited knowledge, I really like Reddick… hope for a nice fall to use. We got Tunsil last year, so anything can happen.

  • phinfreak

    I’ll be happy w any D player pick at 22, phins need too much impact talent to trade down. Getting an immediate starter on D will be critical, getting the LG later is fine, but one might pull the trigger if Njoku is there, this intrigues me but I doubt he’ll be there.
    Fins have way too many holes and I for one am not a fan of Misi, he wont last an entire season.

    • admin

      There is loads of talent where they could trade back and get it, BUT do we believe this FO can find it? I’m more in your camp and feel that they need to play it safe with the 1st…They can’t miss on that one… And yeah, Misi is a damaged wreak that has been avg. at best, except for run support. Can’t argue any of your points.

      • Steve

        So that means strengthen the offensive line may be the best sound pick? So that we don’t have this conversation next season about about O/L. I would draft two lineman and bring 7 as undrafted free agents.

    • Lemmus

      …a few simple facts, eh

      1) this draft is loaded with starting defensive talent well into the 3rd

      2) this draft is notably short of starting offensive talent, many of those being mentioned by the draft gurus as possible 1st rounders would have been 3rd round picks last year

      3) we have a glaring need at three positions …LB, LG, and RG in that order …Misi, Larsen, and Bushrod respectively are warm body backups at best who will start at those positions if the current roster stands

      4) it is likely that a good starting LB will still be available at 54 per item 1 above based on a slew of scouting reports

      5) it is likely that a good starting LG/RG will NOT be available at 54 per item 2 above based again, on a slew of scouting reports

      6) it is highly likely that neither will be available at 97 which is our comp pick at the very bottom of the 3rd …we have no 4th round pick

      7) so we really have only 2 picks where we are likely to find a high caliber rookie who can start this year

      …think about that …if you take a defensive player at 22, it is highly unlikely that a starting G will be available at 54, much less 97 or in the 5th …and imnsho, we absolutely must have one

      …but if you take the best available OT/G at 22, it is very likely that a high caliber LB will still be there at 54, which I agree, we do need

      …the solution that is being offered is that we trade out of the 1st to get more picks in the 2nd or 3rd …I think its a losing idea because there are teams behind us in the 1st that are just as desperate for OL as we are …and thus the 2 possible starting Gs will still be gone …if they are not already

      …one possibility I’ve not seen mentioned is swapping positions with the Texans at 25 for their 3rd round pick if a QB run has started …they are in desperate need of a QB …we need their 3rd rounder …it depends on a lot of things going right but it is a viable move that would likely work for both …if

      …the other thing I think is often missing is the credibility of our FO in finding starters in the 2/3 rounds even with extra picks …look at the record …with the exception of Tunsil falling into their lap last year, their remaining picks either did not earn a starting role, or in Howard’s case, did not start often enough to mark him as a success …and the guy we traded both of our 3 and 4 picks this year away for barely made the field because he couldn’t break the starting line-up …is that the FO we think can trade out of the 1st and still find starters for August? …I don’t …and while Gase can certainly coach, his early appraisal of last year’s turnstile twins leaves me little confidence that he can make a difference in this year’s draft

      …so there it is …I firmly believe that if we stay at 22, then we must take the best available Guard (barring some incredible repeat of a Tunsil type falling into our hands) and then the best available LB at 54

      …and if we do trade positions, we don’t trade completely out of the 1st and still take a G

      …fire away if you must, I’ve made my case as clearly as possible 🙂

      • admin

        “the other thing I think is often missing is the credibility of our FO in finding starters in the 2/3 rounds even with extra picks …look at the record” This so true, but it is also a big issue long term. If they can’t solve this, then it doesn’t matter who they grab in the first, because they will come up short in the end. Every good franchise finds stars late. Look how much Ajayi, Landry, Jones, and Wake make an impact on this team. You get one first, for the most part, and if you can’t find players later forget it, it’s a wrap because your team will eventually be talent deficient. So, they must prove they can find players in the later rounds… if they hold true to this quote, this regime will stall and eventually die.

        • Lemmus

          …hell yeah, its a big issue

          …I was tickled pink to see them fire Philbust …Gase has so far, proven to be much better, maybe even the long term answer

          …but they also gave the real GM reins to Tannenbaum …and fired the only GM with a record of back-to-back draft successes in like forever, replacing him with a nominal sop for T’baum

          …and Tannenbaum was the man who bombed the ’16 draft …looked great at first with manna falling from heaven in the person of Tunsil …but looking back with hindsight after a year, the T’baum picks had minimal impact on the team except for Tunsil whom I refuse to credit T’baum with (even Phinfreak would have got that pick right 🙂 …and the trade up for Caroo is devastating in immediate hindsight

          …yes, I know …the ’16 draft results may look different after another year …but “may” is a big word and we need to believe T’baum can pull another rabbit out this year …three of them in fact …and I just don’t

          • admin

            totally agree. Only thing I can think with the Carroo pick is they aren’t certain Landry will be back and need someone tough to work some of those routes. If they do sign Landry, then all those picks and Carroo’s skillset don’t offer much… and that will the hope that Carroo escapes the cellar this season.

            This draft will be a huge fork in the road for this franchise.

        • Steve


          Ajayi was on my draft board along with Tony Lippett I struck out with Turner. I think it’s important that we try to make our case on players both individually and collectively. I think if the Dolphins don’t listen to the sports experts they will fair better.

  • Steve

    Draft down or out of the 1st round for more draft picks is the key to filling the many holes on defense and offense. But my huche is that this management will fine away to trade away the 2018 draft picks?

    • admin

      It’s tricky… every round back gets harder to find “sure” talent, but– as you well know–that’s what separates the boys from the men in talent acquisition.

      • Steve


        Two seconds round picks and a 3rd round warrant a trade out of the 1st round for me.

        • admin

          yeah, if Miami were to leave the 1st. If someone at the top wanted to move up, that would be a different scale.