“Offense sells tickets. Defense wins Championships”. This is the age-old saying that has been around the NFL for decades. The Miami Dolphins are looking to address their offense, but there are still ways to improve their defense. The defensive line is the area of need on that side of the ball.

Miami had an impressive season on defense in 2020, allowing the sixth least points and recording the eleventh most sacks across the league.

So how do they improve an already well-functioning defense? Here are some sleeper picks that the Dolphins should consider in the later rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Wyatt Hubert (Defensive End-Kansas State)

The Kansas State defensive end comes in at 6”3 and 270 lb. Hubert took a while to get going, with just 4.5 sacks during his first college season in 2018. It was 2019 and 2020 where Hubert saw huge strides.

Hubert recorded 7 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2019 before seeing further improvement in 2020. He sacked the quarterback 8.5 times and managed 13 tackles for loss.

So why is his draft stock so low?

Hubert is said to have issues in disengaging from blocks after the initial push and had 28 missed tackles in college after 110 attempts.

However, Huberts’s durability has been highly praised, and he had a 90.7 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus.

The pass rush was an issue for the Dolphins in 2020. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah had 9 sacks, but the next best defensive lineman was Shaq Lawson, who had four sacks.

Lawson is no longer a Dolphin. He was traded to the Houston Texans, with Benardrick McKinney coming to South Beach. McKinney has never had more than 5 sacks in any single season.

Miami needs another defensive end to complement Lawson should he be double-teamed. An extra threat on the edge would help the Dolphins’ defense go even further.

A sleeper pick such as Hubert could make all the difference.

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Victor Dimukeje (Defensive End)

Dimukeje spent four seasons in college with Duke, playing in just under 50 games. He comes in at 6”2 and 265lb.

There are doubts over Dimukeje, with a lack of dominance in a specific area seen as a weakness. Despite this, Dimukeje is seen as a strong and physical player with excellent urgency.

He may have had 14.5 tackles for loss across his first two seasons in 2017 and 2018 but only had 5.5 sacks in those years.

His final two seasons saw a radical upturn in performances. Dimukeje had 8.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2019, with 7.5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss in 2020.

As we will want to see with any of the defensive linemen in this article, Dimukeje will be a great second option alongside Ogbah.

Riley Cole (Linebacker- South Alabama)

Miami’s leading tackler in 2020 was linebacker Jerome Baker, who recorded 112. He was tied for 28th across the entire league. The Dolphins’ next best tackle was safety Eric Rowe (91). Kyle Van Noy was the third-best with 69, but he has since left during the offseason. Elandon Roberts was the next best linebacker with 61.

The Dolphins need extra help in the position. Linebacker Riley Cole could be the sleeper pick Miami are after.

Cole recorded 218 tackles during his five seasons in college with South Alabama. He failed to play more than two games in 2016 and 2018. In 2017 he recorded 55 tackles and recorded similar numbers in 2019, with 59. It was 2020 where Cole had his best seasons, with 96 in just ten games.

Coming in at 6”3 and 225lb, Cole has received negative feedback regarding missing open-field tackles and not consistently disengaging blockers. Meanwhile, he has also been highly praised for being effective when blitzing and understanding how to play in zone.

Should the defensive line struggle to stop the run, Cole could be a great option alongside Ogbah to ensure that the opposition does not gain further rushing yards.

Garrett Wallow (Linebacker- Texas Christian)

In a similar fashion to every other player in this article, Wallow is low on many people’s mock draft boards. This is largely due to apparent issues with his technique and open-field tackling.

Wallow makes up for this, being seen as the leader of the defense and is said to have a great football IQ. Coming in at 6”3 and 225lb, he is said to possess NFL-caliber pursuit range and recover well from blocks to make tackles. He mainly played as a linebacker in college but played six games in 2017 at the safety position.

During his four-year college career, Wallow recorded 295 total tackles, with 125 coming in the 2019 season, 72 in 2018, and 90 in 2020. He is a great tackler. Can he translate this into the NFL??