Earlier this week, the Miami Dolphins traded for former Clemson LB Stephone Anthony, who was a first round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2015 NFL Draft. Anthony experienced a modest rookie season in 2015, logging over 100 tackles but struggling greatly against the pass. His play regressed in 2016, as he was boxed into a reserve role before the Saints ultimately decided to go a different direction.
This move does make sense for Miami. Why? First, let’s look back at Anthony’s 2015 NFL Draft report:
While there’s some acclimation to a new defense that is going to be needed, I simply love this move for the Dolphins; especially when considering the compensation is a 5th round pick. It goes well beyond the fact that I had Anthony rated as my 23rd overall player in the 2015 Draft.
Think about the strengths and weaknesses of the team’s 2nd round selection in *this* year’s Draft, Raekwon McMillan. McMillan was a big, sturdy body in the middle who was comfortably more effective playing forward as a run defender. That same case study was evident in Anthony. And McMillan, like Anthony, did not appear to be as athletic of a player as their respective combine numbers would have suggested either.
In short, I believe the Dolphins have landed a player with the ability to offer them many of the same things they were hoping to get from McMillan before he tore his ACL in the pre-season. With that return coming at the expense of a 5th round pick, what’s not to like?
Now, Anthony is going to have to get comfortable in the scheme and he’s likely not going to be the three down player I ever envisioned he could be when he was leaving the Clemson program. But a fresh start could kick-start his NFL career and get him back to what he was for the Saints as a rookie in 2015, when he was one of the top LBs in the league in run stuffs.