The Miami Dolphins opened organized team activities recently and shifted last year’s “Sam” linebacker, Koa Misi, to the “Mike” linebacker spot. The move also shifted last year’s “Mike” linebacker, Dannell Ellerbe, to Misi’s “Sam” position.
This idea has been a large rumor for the past two or three seasons, but never came to fruition for Misi as he lacks the instincts that a “Mike” linebacker in a 4-3 defensive front must possess. Misi has yet to surpass 65 combined tackles in a season and recorded a career high six TFL (tackles for a loss) last season. The fifth-year former Utah Ute will likely have to impress defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle, and his staff to remain the man in the middle.
So, the question to be answered is, can Misi really handle the duties of a 4-3 “Mike” linebacker?
Misi, a former defensive end during his collegiate years, has played multiple positions during his four previous seasons with the team, and has yet to stand out after being selected in the second round with the 40th overall selection. He is not incredibly athletic, tends to disappear from time to time and lacks the instincts that this Miami defense really needed last season.
Time will only tell if Koa Misi has what it takes to become the “answer” that Miami has desperately been searching for to solidify their defense and catapult them into the conversation with some of the best in the NFL. But from what I have been able to see from Misi over the past four seasons, I am not ready to name him the Day 1 starter as the “Mike” linebacker in this crop of linebackers Miami currently has.
The team may be better suited with an option such as Ellerbe or even signing a free agent such as Jonathan Vilma, who has the instincts needed to play at a high level in Miami’s defensive scheme. The concern with Vilma, however, is if he is fully healthy and if his age has caught up with the former Pro Bowler.
On a side note, do not sleep on rookie fifth-round draft selection, Jordan Tripp of Montana. Tripp is someone who I am extremely high on and I believe can push for that “Mike” position sometime in the near future, potentially even at some point this season. If Tripp can seize the opportunity and take control of the “Mike” position, Miami’s linebackers will look much, much better than they did last season.
What do you think? Does Misi have what it takes to be a stud “Mike” backer? Or will his inability to make impact plays catch up with him leading to the team shifting Ellerbe back to the inside? Leave me a comment in the section below!