Tannenbaum: Playoff loss to Steelers created linebacker need for Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins knew what they needed after their wild-card playoff loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers last January.

More and better linebackers.

‘It was a position we felt like we just needed more players and depth’

That, according to executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, was the driving force behind the free-agent signing of Lawrence Timmons and second-round draft pick Raekwon McMillian from Ohio State.

“After we lost to Pittsburgh in the playoffs, it was a position we felt like we just needed more players and depth, so we signed Timmons and to get someone of Raekwon’s ability, back-to-back 100-tackle years (the past two seasons), really good intangibles,” Tannenbaum told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “We see him as a guy who can play three downs. With Kiko Alonso, Timmons and him, with our new defensive coordinator, Matt Burke, we think those three players have versatility and Coach Burke and Coach (Adam) Gase will sort it out of who will play where.”

‘We just thought (McMillan) was a good player, a good player’

“But we just thought he was a good player, a good leader and to get him, along with Charles Harris, we felt like those were two good young players we can add to our front seven.”

Tannenbaum anticipated that defensive selections would dominate the early portion of the NFL Draft. That made him uneasy about the team’s intentions of addressing one of the team’s biggest needs with the 22nd overall pick.

‘We were sitting there and to see the quarterbacks and the receivers go when they did was an encouraging sign’

Everything changed, however, once Tannenbaum began seeing offensive players come off the board. The result was the Dolphins ended up choosing former Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.

“We thought maybe there was a possibility that defensive players would kind of be front-heavy in this draft, so we were sitting there and to see the quarterbacks and the receivers go when they did was an encouraging sign,” Tannenbaum said. “And when it was our turn at 22, we were really happy to turn in Charles Harris’ name. And when you add (end) Andre Branch, who we re-signed; trade for (end) William Hayes from the Rams. We feel like that was a position we wanted to increase the competition to and felt like we did that.”


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