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2016 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Tackles

Posted Jul 13, 2016

With the start of training camp less than three weeks away, Dolphins.com breaks down each position. Today, we take an in-depth look at the defensive tackles.

The Dolphins made a huge move at defensive tackle last offseason when they signed Ndamukong Suh as a free agent, but they decided to keep the group pretty much intact this spring.

The one addition of note was that of Chris Jones, who was claimed off waivers from the New England Patriots. We also could include veteran Jason Jones, who has started games at defensive tackle during his eight-year career but is listed as a defensive end on the Dolphins roster.

The top three defensive tackles from last season are back, those three being Suh, veteran Earl Mitchell and 2015 second-round pick Jordan Phillips.

Interestingly, the Dolphins don’t have a single rookie on the roster at this position.

The most interesting thing to watch in training camp at this position will be the starting battle between Mitchell and Phillips, with Chris Jones a dark horse in that competition.

BREAKING DOWN DOLPHINS DEFENSIVE TACKLES

RETURNING VETERANS

Deandre Coleman (6-5, 341) — Coleman, who appeared in five games for the Dolphins over the past two seasons, added weight in the offseason in the hopes of becoming a bigger factor against the run. Because of the credentials of the other players at defensive tackle, Coleman has to be considered a long shot to make the 53-man roster.

• Earl Mitchell (6-3, 310) — Mitchell started all 12 games he played in 2015, his second season with the Dolphins, but he will face a strong challenge for his starting job from Phillips based on Phillips’ potential upside. However that battle plays out, Mitchell should remain a significant contributor for the Dolphins defense.

• Jordan Phillips (6-6, 335) — Phillips said in the spring he was disappointed in his rookie season, during which he had some flashes but lacked the consistency necessary to make an impact. But Phillips’ rare combination of size and athleticism makes him a potentially dominating player if he can maximize his ability, and that’s what the Dolphins want to see sooner rather than later.

• Ndamukong Suh (6-4, 305) — Suh will enter his second Dolphins training camp with the status of being one of the marquee players in the NFL. Suh will be looking to build on what was a much better 2015 season than he was given credit for, and being reunited with assistant coach Jim Washburn and being put in a scheme with which he had great success in Detroit should only help.

VETERAN ADDITIONS

• Chris Jones (6-1, 293) — This was an under-the-radar acquisition that could pay off nicely. Jones didn’t play in 2015 after being sidelined with a calf injury, but he was good enough to start 22 games for the Patriots the previous two seasons and made his share of plays, both against the run and as a pass rusher. He had six sacks in 2013.

• Jason Jones (6-5, 278) — Jones has to be included here because of his starting experience at defensive tackle. His ability to play both defensive end or defensive tackle could alter the number of players the Dolphins keep at defensive tackle on the 53-man roster.
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