2017 Training Camp Preview: LB

Posted Jul 19, 2017

Players on the roster: Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons, Koa Misi, Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt, Trevor Reilly, Raekwon McMillan, Deon Lacey, Lamin Barrow, Brandon Watts, Chase Allen.

Offseason transactions: Signed Lamin Barrow, Deon Lacey and Brandon Watts to futures contracts (Jan. 10). … placed the exclusive-rights tender on Mike Hull (March 8) … placed a first-round restricted free agent tender on Kiko Alonso (March 9) … signed Lawrence Timmons as an unrestricted free agent (March 10) … signed Kiko Alonso to a contract extension (March 21) … signed Mike Hull to his exclusive-rights tender (April 17) … selected Raekwon McMillan in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft (April 28) … signed Chase Allen as an undrafted college free agent (May 5).

What stood out in the spring:

John Congemi: Second-round draft choice Raekwon McMillian was a nice find in this year's draft and should make an immediate impact in the linebacker rotation. McMillian is young, fast and instinctive, and should be able to play significant snaps right away. I really liked his confidence when speaking to him this spring and after watching him practice, it's nice to know he can back it up.

Alain Poupart: Heading into the spring, a major question centered around who would line up where at linebacker because Kiko Alonso started at middle linebacker last year, Lawrence Timmons was an inside linebacker for the Steelers and second-round pick Raekwon McMillan played inside as well at Ohio State. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke warned against trying to project players at specific spots because he said he wanted his linebackers to be interchangeable. That said, it was interesting to see McMillan line up inside between Alonso and Timmons during practices open to the media.

Training camp focus:

John Congemi: The big question mark is the health of Koa Misi and when he will be cleared to play this summer. Misi worked out on the sidelines during OTAs and is a player that would complete the linebacking group for the Dolphins. His experience and toughness will only add to this group upon his return.

Alain Poupart: You certainly can expect Burke to continue moving the linebackers around to find the best combinations possible for the start of the regular season. How much playing time McMillan ends up getting as a rookie very well could depend on what he can show during training camp and the preseason.

Player to watch:

John Congemi: Mike Hull gained valuable experience last season when the injury bug hit this position, and his flexibility when playing all the special teams units should be factored in again this season. Hull plays the position with passion and consistency, but must fend off strong competition during camp and the preseason games.

Alain Poupart: McMillan’s progress could be even more important depending on the status of veteran Koa Misi, who did not take part in spring practices as he continued to recover from a neck injury that cut short his 2016 season. If he can get back to 100 percent, Misi brings a physical presence at linebacker along with plenty of starting experience.
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