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Miami Dolphins: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch

miami dolphins offseason Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports



Miami Dolphins: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch

Another NFL Combine and NFL Draft are approaching, and the Miami Dolphins have some interesting decisions to make on the defensive side of the ball. The 2017 NFL Combine as always is a key area of focus. Jelani Jenkins, Andre Branch, Mario Williams, and Earl Mitchell will no longer be on the roster. Mike Tannenbaum has a reputation to fill needs in free agency and draft for depth. That may need to change this year.

Dolphins fans should become accustomed to the word defense over the next month or so. This off-season, defense is a number one priority in Miami. Ranking near the bottom of defensive efficiency two years in a row is less than ideal coming off a playoff appearance.

2017 may be the year Miami spends their first round pick on a defensive player, which would mark the first such pick since 2013.


Zach Cunningham – Linebacker – Vanderbilt University

Cunningham looks to be the next athletic freak out of the South Eastern Conference (SEC).  He impressively lead Vanderbilt in tackles the past two years. While Kiko Alonso and Mike Hull will probably return, Miami has to find a way to boost their defensive front seven. The Vanderbilt standout recorded 16.5 tackles for loss this past year, and is an absolute stud while rushing the passer. The lengthy linebacker excels in coverage. In addition to being a three-down linebacker, he could be a solid contributor on special teams.


Jarrad Davis – Linebacker – University Of Florida

The Miami Dolphins need play makers on defense, and Davis has IT. Despite being bothered by injuries almost every year, he recorded 100 tackles two out of three years. At 6’2, 238 lbs, he possesses the right body and athleticism to play outside linebacker. Since Miami has seven draft picks this year, two linebackers may not be out of the question. If Davis stays healthy, he has the potential to be an impact player as a rookie. Earning Second Team All-Conference honors was a major accomplishment with him missing four games at the end of the year. If he can shake off the little injuries, Davis will end up being a multi- year NFL starter.

Derek Barnett – Defensive end – University of Tennessee

Even though free agency has yet to truly begin, Barnett is being slotted to the Miami Dolphins by a few mock drafts, including NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah. Barnett is an absolute monster coming off the edge, and when he gets into a groove he is near impossible to stop. In addition to leading Tennessee in career sacks, Barnett recorded 9, 10, and 13 sacks in consecutive years. This year, he looks to make his mark in Indianapolis with a solid combine. Even if Andre Branch returns next year, him and Cameron Wake aren’t getting any younger, and Barnett is a rare talent to pass up. In 2016 he was named a CBS Sports First Team All-American, as well as an Associated Press First Team All-American.