With the recent news and rumors that Dolphins will be running multiple defensive fronts this upcoming year and the clear need they have for defenders, Preston Smith could be the man in free agency. Preston is an OLB from the Washington Redskins where he started all 16 games for the last 3 seasons.
He has racked up 24.5 sacks through his 64 career games which could bolster this pass rush. Also possibly the best part is Smith is only 26 years old and still developing which could be perfect for the Dolphins.
Possibly the best of it all is PFF has him ranked as a better run stopper than pass rusher meaning he is efficient in both categories for this Dolphins team.
Film Breakdown Run Stopper
Taking a look at the first play we will be examining Preston Smith’s athleticism and IQ in the run game. To start Preston Smith number 94 is lined up as 9 technique across from Taylor Lewan. On this play, the Redskins will be running a stunt to have Smith undercut and slant back inside of the tackle and have a safety step up to replace Smith.
The keys for this to work is Smith has to fake like he’s going upfield to have the tackle overstep him to allow him to swim back inside. So at the snap of the ball Preston Smith times it up perfectly he takes a hard step upfield and as soon as he sees the wide step and punch by Lewan he quickly swims back inside to stuff this run. Again this shows his great capability of run stuffing through his knowledge of timing stunts and his athleticism and quickness of throwing moves.
Having a talent who can run stunts and time them perfectly could do massive for this defense. It could open a window for this defense to trick many offenses.
Film Breakdown Pass Rushing
Analyzing this play we will be highlighting Preston Smith’s ability to pass rush. On this play, Preston Smith is lined up in a 9 technique outside of the LT. At the snap of the ball, we see Preston Smith try to use speed to get around the edge but fails to do so. With failing to get around the corner he needs to counter the incoming punch from the LT so he blocks the punch, pins the LT outside arm, and finally, he flips the hips and rips through for an easy sack. This is a great example of Preston Smiths pass rush ability that he can bring to the Dolphins. He, of course, is not a pure pass rush specialist but he easily has the capability to succeed and get after the QB.
Coming to pass rush situations Preston Smith has more tricks than just the Block-Pin-Rip combo to get around the corner. He has pulled off a handful of sacks by throwing the longarm and rounding the corner for easy sacks. Overall, Preston Smith is not a one trick pony at all when it comes to the pass rush ability.
Should Preston Smith be Targeted in Free Agency?
Overall Preston Smith on tape is shown as an efficient pass rusher and to be good in stuffing the run. Obviously, the Dolphins need both those skills talents coming into next year especially after finishing as the 4th worst defense in the league. Also, adding on the fact of the Dolphins having limited cap space this offseason to sign many free agents and adding on that Preston Smith is not a superstar name looking for superstar money.
After looking at all those factors Preston Smith has to be a no brainer option for this Dolphins team. He would come in and have an impact on day one and he would fit perfectly in this multiple defensive fronts that Brian Flores wants. Smith has always mainly played with his hand in the dirt but there have been multiple occasions where he has dropped to cover the flats. Overall, Preston Smith is not elite in a specific category instead he is efficient or good in all of the categories and that is exactly what this Dolphins defense could use.