Biggest Takeaways from NFL Team’s 2018 Rookie Class

“Minkah Fitzpatrick leads Miami Dolphins’ solid rookie core of defenders

The Dolphins procured three impact players for their defense in this year’s draft. While no one is saying they’ll form the core of a defense akin to the No-Name Defense of the undefeated 1972 team, they’ve each shown potential as the team stays in the wild-card hunt.

First-rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick has been excellent despite starting only half of the team’s games. He’s amassed 52 tackles (26 solo) and an interception. The safety/cornerback has been excellent in coverage lately, per Pro Football Focus, as he “has allowed a total of 4 receptions for 22 yards in coverage over the last 5 weeks.” He’s also No. 1 (by far) in passer rating in coverage allowed (48.5), per PFF.

Linebackers Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan have combined for 108 tackles. Baker made an excellent play in coverage by intercepting Sam Darnold and running it back for a touchdown in a 13-6 win over the Jets.

McMillan has been more inconsistent. Of note, he drew praise from Travis Wingfield of Locked on Dolphins for his performance versus the Jets, while Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said he was “chasing too many plays for a middle linebacker.”

Tight end Mike Gesicki has put forth a disappointing season (17 catches, 151 yards), but like all rookies, he has time to improve and make a better impact. In Gesicki’s case, his excellent athleticism (he was a three-sport star in high school and has a 97th percentile SPARQ score) that could eventually vault him to greater heights.”

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