Free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe is scheduled to visit with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday as part of his tour to decide where he lands for the 2017 NFL season.
While defensive tackle may not seem like a priority for the Dolphins this offseason, there’s no denying the fact that the addition of Poe would instantly upgrade the defensive line which faced several challenges against the run last year and is facing depth issues this offseason.
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After not re-signing Earl Mitchell, it’s likely that third-year defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips, would step into the role as starter; but if Poe was added to the defensive line, he’d join Ndamukong Suh to form one of the most dominant pair of interior defensive lineman in the league. This would also allow Phillips to get his snaps in a backup role, which he may be better suited for at this time, as he hasn’t proven to be an everyday starter at this point in his career.
One issue with signing Poe, besides the fact that he’s likely to command a hefty contract – which may end up being just a one-year deal – is the fact that he (like Suh) is more impactful against the pass than he is against the run.
If Miami is able to force teams into passing situations, this would be great as Poe, Suh, Cam Wake and Andre Branch would all be allowed to play to their strengths as pass rushers. However, in close games where the opposing team is able to operate with a healthy pass/run balance, the defensive line may still face similar challenges that it has the last couple of seasons.
With that being said, there’s no denying the fact that the addition of Poe instantly upgrades the defensive line and can help mask some of the remaining issues on the defensive side of the ball.
There are still potentially opportunities to upgrade at defensive end, linebacker, cornerback and safety, so adding Poe would most likely mean that the team wouldn’t be addressing these positions in free agency, but rather in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, this should be seen as a plus as the amount of quality players in this year’s draft is very high compared to the depth of drafts we’ve seen in the past.
So while Poe hasn’t signed with the Dolphins yet at this time, the potential of him signing should be seen as a clear upgrade to the defense rather than the team possibly overpaying for another stud at a non-premier position.