Karlos Dansby could blow out his season high tackle total (119) in the 4-3 front. Its going to allow him to be literally untouch and free to roam and make plays all over the field. He could definately break 140+ tackles if he stays healthy all year and could play rover pass coverage resulting in more chances at INT's.
I expect him to be our defensive MVP, unless Cameron Wake gets help opposite him and has a beast like year.
For what its worth alot of the grades were based on impact player, overall play during the entire season (not just first 7 games), impact while injured (due to no depth) and also the gap in talent we have.
Trust me the grades are favorable only because the dolphins lack in talent and the players that contribute deserve "some" credit.
Here are my projected starters in the 4-3 base formation for 2012.
RDE - Cameron Wake (definate starter) / Phillip Merling (back up) / Free Agent
NT - Paul Soliai (if resigned) / Isaako Aaitui (back up) / Free Agent
DT - Randy Starks (definate starter) / Kendall Langford (if resigned) / Tony Mcdaniel (back up/if resigned) / Free Agent
LDE - Jared Odrick (moved to DT if no depth) / Phillip Merling (back up) / Free Agent
RDE would be solid with Cameron Wake 8.5 sacks in 2011 while Jared Odrick had 6 sacks in 2011 could prove serviceable opposite Cameron Wake. There really is no DE depth after those 2 players and free agency will prove how often the base 4-3 will be ran, Phillip Merling had 0 sacks in 2011. NT and DT depends on free agency and worry me the most due to contract issues. Randy Starks is set at DT and had 4.5 sacks in 2011, Tony McDaniel had 2.5 sacks in 2011 while Paul Soliai and Kendall Langford combine for 0 sacks.
The 3-4 defensive front is more responsible for run gap penetration while the OLB's are the pass rush specialist which sheds light on the defensive lines poor sack production in 2011. The switch to the 4-3 defense will showcase Cameron Wake's pass rush ability only if he has similar talent opposite him. Run stopping ability of our NT/DT's are evident but could struggle if Paul Soliai and Kendall Langford become cap casualties.
WOLB - Kevin Burnett (definate starter) / Johnathan Freeney (back up) / Free Agent
MLB - Karlos Dansby (definate starter) / Marvin Mitchell (back up) / Free Agent
SOLB - Free Agent / Ikaika Alama-Francis (back up) / Koa Misi (back up)
No depth is the reason why the 3-4 LB corp struggled to produce sacks outside of Cameron Wake and Jason Taylor. Unproven depth in the 4-3 front will need major upgrade and I expect to see alot of free agents brought in for position battles at strongside linebacker and needed depth.
LCB - Vontae Davis / Nolan Carol (back up) / Free Agent
SS - Yeremiah Bell / Reshad Jones (back up) / Free Agent
FS - Chris Clemons / Tyrone Culver (back up) / Free Agent
RCB - Sean Smith (starter at slot CB in nickle packages) / Will Allen (RCB in nickle packages) / Jimmy Wilson / Free Agent
Our secondary depth was horrible last year and with new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle alot of changes could be made with free agency and possible Yeremiah Bell being a cap casuality. I would like packages to highlight Sean Smiths cover ability and not expose him so much to opposing teams 2nd tier WR's which he's shown to have difficulty with. With Coach Coyle in place he could bring more discipline and quality play out of a poor secondary that highlighted Yeremiah Bell as the secondaries leading tackler and hardest hitter that offenses were always afraid of.