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2017 Training Camp Preview: DL

Posted Jul 14, 2017

Players on the roster: DE Andre Branch, DE Cameron Wake, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Jordan Phillips, DE Terrence Fede, DE William Hayes, DE Nick Williams, DT Vincent Taylor, DT Davon Godchaux, DE Joby Saint Fleur, DE Arthur Miley, DE Julius Warmsley, DE Cameron Malveaux, DE Praise Martin-Oguike, DE Charles Harris, DT Lawrence Okoye.

Offseason transactions: Signed DE Arthur Miley and DE Julius Warmsley to futures contracts (Jan. 10). … signed DT Lawrence Okoye to a futures contract (Jan. 12) … released DE Mario Williams and DT Earl Mitchell (Feb. 16) … signed DE Cameron Wake to a contract extension (Feb. 18) … restructured the contract of DE Nick Williams (March 9) … re-signed DE Andre Branch (March 10) … acquired DE William Hayes in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams (March 10) … waived/failed physical DE Dion Jordan (March 31) … selected DE Charles Harris in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft (April 27) … selected DT Davon Godchaux and DT Vincent Taylor in the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2017 NFL draft (April 29) … signed DE Cameron Malveaux, DE Praise Martin-Oguike and DE Joby Saint Fleur as undrafted college free agents (May 5).

What stood out in the spring:

John Congemi: Rookie first-round draft choice Charles Harris looked quick off the ball and I was very impressed by his overall athleticism. He settled into a really good rhythm and seemed to learn how to match his quick feet to his hands while rushing the passer during OTAs.

Alain Poupart: As with the offensive line, it’s difficult for defensive linemen to make much of an impression in the spring, but rookie first-round pick Charles Harris was able to do just that. Harris showed a very quick first step, which shouldn’t change after the pads go on, and that obviously is a desired trait for any pass rusher. Beyond that, Harris impressed because of the way he went about his business, most notably his eagerness to learn from the veterans on the team and even Hall of Famer Jason Taylor.

Training camp focus:

John Congemi: Who's going to step up at the defensive tackle position beyond Ndamukong Suh? Can Jordan Phillips play 50-plus snaps with consistency and will one or two of the young tackles raise their game high enough to contribute during the regular season? It's a position that needs to grow and improve to stop the run.

Alain Poupart: The Dolphins have four starter-caliber players at defensive end with Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, veteran William Hayes and Harris, and figuring out how best to utilize that group is going to be a big part of the summer agenda. More importantly, the Dolphins need to find some answers at defensive tackle where there are no proven commodities behind projected starters Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips. 

Player to watch:

John Congemi: William Hayes is the guy I want to see this season and how will he help the run defense from the end position. Hayes is known for his consistent play and disrupting the way offenses attack the running game. The rotation at the position will be strong with Cam Wake, Andre Branch and the young Harris, which should allow Hayes to play with controlled aggression.

Alain Poupart: One of those players who will be looking to earn a role at defensive tackle is Lawrence Okoye, the former rugby player and British Olympian in the discus. Okoye has been trying to get on an NFL roster since 2013 and is far from a finish product, but he’s got intriguing athletic ability.