@gardner_rake pulls the sheet off an undervalued middle linebacker expected to start for the Miami Dolphins.
The Miami Dolphins broke training camp last season with two key players suffering season-ending injuries on each side of the ball. The most impactful injury on the offensive side of the ball wiped out quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s season and set in motion the unceremonious return to playing from a ‘retired’ Jay Cutler.
And the season-ending injury on the defensive side of the ball is giving IDPers the chance to quietly nab a promising young player.
The Palm Beach Post wrote last month the time to begin watching McMillan closely is here. Even going far enough to say the middle linebacker is the closest the team has to a sure thing on defense. And the Dolphins coaches are quoted saying he is the man for the middle of the defense.
Raekwon McMillan, selected 54th overall by the Dolphins last year out of Ohio State, will reassume the starting MLB position in Miami. The former Buckeye suffered a knee injury covering a kickoff in the first preseason game, and like Tannehill, McMillan would be forced to miss the 2017 season.
McMillan, 22, was drafted young at the age of 20. He stayed at Ohio State for three years before declaring for the NFL draft. The linebacker started for two years, leading the team in tackles each of his two starting seasons. He is 6’2 with weight heavy enough to keep him able to play the middle.
The Pro Football Focus scouting report spoke highly of McMillan. The report says the linebacker reads the run well, and is not fooled by counters. He can wrap up the ball carrier very well
CBS Sports published an article before the 2017 draft ranking the 32 best players available. The piece, published April 25, 2017, ranked McMillan 14th. Slotted directly behind eventual 2017 defensive rookie of the year Marshon Lattimore, the Dolphin is ranked ahead of 2017 first-round linebacker picks linebacker Jarrad Davis and TJ Watt.
So what kind of stats can we expect from McMillian?
The PFF scouting report left a player comparison to Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley.
And can you guess where our own IDP Guys Notes On Preseason Rankings 2018: Linebackers Part 1?
I’ll let you click through to find out.
The floor, I think, is 70 solo tackles. And anything less than that total would be underwhelming. McMillan won’t play great against the pass. Concerns defending the pass plagued the linebacker when he entered the draft. And the PFF scouting report again points out pass-coverage concerns.
Sacks are unlikely to be a part of McMillan’s production and overall stats. He is expected to man the middle and play as a run-stopping linebacker.
But the real intrigue with McMillan remains in the unknown. The missing rookie season we never got to see him play. Because as a high second-round pick from an elite school, he fits the part of an impact player.
And he could be available in your league.
Follow Christian Gardner on twitter @gardner_rake!