The Miami Dolphins have been known for their ability to stop the run over the past five to seven seasons, but that was not the case last season after signing LBs Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to replace LBs Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. Ellerbe and Wheeler failed miserably, while Burnett and Dansby continued to play well for their new teams.
Miami, looking for an upgrade at middle linebacker, selected Jordan Tripp, a division II LB, in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft as a developmental prospect who could actually see some snaps this season with the first-string defense.
Tripp, an outstanding athlete, has a prototypical linebacker body standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 234-pounds. His leadership, instincts and maturity are three qualities that GM Dennis Hickey really desires from his players.
Tripp is by no means a polished player, but he can be a darn good linebacker at the next level. He will likely serve as a special teams player for the next few seasons as he begins to carve out a role on his new squad, but the youngster could eventually push LB Koa Misi or Ellerbe for the starting middle linebacker spot on the first-string defense.
Tripp is a tough, intense and very physical player who brings a ferocious attitude on every play yet is one of the most mature individuals to walk through the doors. Not only is Tripp a smart and intense football player, but he is also very versatile in that he can play both inside backer and outside while also acting as an emergency long-snapper on special teams — he started all four seasons as the team’s long-snapper in college.
Tripp will likely compete with LB Jason Trusnik for the backup middle linebacker position and for Trusnik’s role on special teams. While I love what Trusnik brings to the table, he is a very expendable player, and Tripp offers a bit more ability in terms of versatility and athleticism.