The Miami Dolphins Aren’t as Concerned About Defensive Tackle as Their Fans Are

The Miami Dolphins have replaced Christian Wilkins in the aggregate, signing a bunch of DTs in free agency. Will they add another one early in the NFL Draft?

A popular mock draft pick for the Miami Dolphins at 21 is Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II, which makes sense after a free agency cycle in which they lost Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis.

If that’s how next Thursday shakes out, Dolphins GM Chris Grier certainly would not be disappointed. Murphy is an excellent player, and it’s believed some teams have him ranked in their top 10, regardless of position.

But based on Grier’s comments during his pre-draft news conference Tuesday, the Dolphins aren’t going to force the issue with any defensive tackle, including Murphy.

Miami Dolphins’ Situation at Defensive Tackle

Why? The coaching staff does not view the position as a dire need after signing or retaining eight defensive tackles since the season’s end.

Those eight are:

Of that group, expect at least three (and as many as five) to emerge from what should be a fierce training camp battle to play alongside Zach Sieler, whose 10 sacks in 2023 not only were second-most on the team but ranked third among all NFL players at his position.

And per Grier’s comments Tuesday, if this is their complete collection of interior defensive linemen come Week 1, they won’t be stressed.

“The group we have were targeted players,” he said. “We really liked their potential and what they can be. We feel good about the group.

“… They’ve been in, working hard already, and it’s a really good group. Starting to see that bond come together with that group and they’re all competing hard. So with the roster, it’s not a priority, but it’s obviously any player that we can add that helps our roster and is a good impact player, we’ll take. It doesn’t matter what position.”

In other words, don’t expect a trade up for Murphy or Illinois’ Johnny Newton, who are the only two interior DLs that make sense for the Dolphins at 21.

And even if one (or even two) of them are available when the Dolphins are on the clock, it’s no sure thing that they’ll take a defensive tackle. Offensive line — at this point — is a bigger need, and this is a historically deep OL class.

When asked Tuesday if the team’s hyperactivity at defensive tackle in free agency is a reflection of concerns about the strength of this year’s draft class at that position, Grier replied:

“No, not necessarily. I think it was more just the availability, and for us, people wanted to come play here. They’ve looked at what Austin [Clark] and Anthony [Weaver] have done in their careers as coaches, so they’re excited for the opportunity to come play for these guys and learn and compete.

“They know nothing has been promised to any of them, and that’s the exciting part. They all know they’re coming in to compete. I just think it was the opportunity to add guys that we thought are quality players that had good upsides.”

KEEP READING: NFL Draft History Suggests Dolphins Probably Can’t Do Better Than Tua Tagovailoa

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