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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Last week I wrote about watching the offensive line, and they performed well, better than what could have been hoped for. The offensive line will be tested again against what is a better front against the Bills, but with injuries to the linebackers they now become the more scrutinized unit.
Last week Elerbe was lost for the season, Misi was also injured and will miss a couple games, Wheeler was ruled out for the game, so the back ups had a go, and they were pretty good. This week Wheeler returns, but with a cast, so he may not get the start, so the Dolphins may be starting this game with three backups, and at the very least two.
As has been seen many times in the NFL, starting is different than coming off the bench. Many players play well coming off the bench, only to struggle once they are inserted as starters. How will these mostly young players perform this week, Wheeler will most likely be limited in his action so much will fall on the shoulders of these mostly young players.
Jason Trusnick, Chris McCain, Jelani Jenkins and Jonathan Freeny will be used heavily in this game, Jordan Tripp is still nursing an injury and won't play this week, and as I already pointed out, Wheeler is in a cast. Kelvin Sheppard was signed to fill a spot after the Elerbe injury, but it's unclear right now how much he'll actually play. Regardless, much will fall on some of these mostly young players, how will they respond in this game, they won't be home as they were last week, and they have a week to think about it, that can be tough on younger or inexperienced players.
Chris McCain flashed during the preseason, and kept right on flashing when his number was called last week, with a blocked punt and a sack, this young rookie could be a future starter and star for the Dolphins, but he'll have to continue where he left off last week. Jason Trusnik is the reason I put "mostly" in front of young players, because he's 30. An undrafted free agent by the Jets in 2007, then with the Browns until Miami picked him up in 2011. He has been a steady back up, but he has played like a back up, he looked as good as he ever has last week, will that continue. Jelani Jenkins was a 4th round pick in last years draft, he didn't do much last year but played well last week, can we expect that to continue. Jonathan Freeny has been a project for the Dolphins since 2011 when they signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, which is about 10 minutes from where I grew up and lived most of my life. He has looked like he's finally paying dividends as a developmental player, will his play from last week continue.
It's a shame that Tripp is injured, like McCain, this rookie stood out in preseason, many Dolphin fans think he is a future starter for the Dolphins, he really seems to have linebacker instinct, a natural feel for the position wherever he lines up. I wonder if these two impressive young rookies are the future linebackers to star on this team, it almost seems to good to be true, but sometimes when it rains, it pours, we can hope.
So how will this group of players respond, all coming by different routes to the Miami Dolphins, will they have some hiccups, will they pick up where they left off last week, will they look lost out there, it's anyones guess right now. As fans all we can do is watch and hope, mistakes can be forgiven, especially from the rookie McCain, he is a rookie after all, but they're far from alone out there, they have a great defensive line in front of them, led by all world DE Cameron Wake, and a great set of tackles, so they will have those players to lean on. Many of us are really excited to see McCain out there again, is he going to continue to produce big plays, we'll all be watching these mostly young players this week, lets hope we get what we want, emerging stars at the linebacker position.