Barry Jackson at the Herald shared this article about the analytics of ranking the Dolphins defense.
I usually agree with much of Jackson’s commentary, but he is way off base here. You see, the ratings had the Dolphins’ linebackers ranked pretty low, and our defensive line ranked even lower. No surprise there. But I’m shocked that Barry Jackson thought the grades were unfair. He thinks the Dolphins LBs and D-Line are better.
Why? What did he watch last year to indicate our non-secondary guys were any good? Andrew Van Ginkel had a very exciting fumble recovery for a TD against the Rams, but can you name one other play from an LB last year? Any game-changing sacks? A huge hit to end an opponent’s rally? No, there were none.
THAT is why I was so adamant that we needed two draft linebackers in the draft. Jalen Phillips is technically a defensive end, but he can work as a linebacker, so that’s a big improvement. I’ve said this before, and I think Jerome Baker is a good player but he’s no superstar. Our front 7 needs stars just like our back four are already stars. I have no idea how Barry Jackson can argue with someone who ranks our linebacking corps as pretty mediocre.
The same holds true for our defensive line. Christian Wilkins is the life of the party, but he’s not blowing anyone off the ball and making opponents fear him. Fun jesters don’t win you ball games. Raekwon Davis has a chance to become a stud, but he’ll need some help from the rookie Phillips. Zach Sieler is very consistent and valuable, but I don’t see him as a game changer either.
Maybe Barry Jackson sees hidden value in these guys, but I am forced to critique them based on their statistics and watching every single play several times when I review the games. They’re not a horrible group of lineman, but I cannot argue when the analytics prove that these guys are ranked 28th.