Dolphins' Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2022 Season

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 18, 2022

Dolphins' Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2022 Season

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins made plenty of moves during the NFL offseason, but most of them involved bringing in veteran players to fill roster holes. 

    Miami mortgaged most of its NFL draft picks to bring in Tyreek Hill and it spent a hefty chunk of money in free agency to improve other spots. 

    The Dolphins' rookie class is small and headlined by a third-round pick, but some of those players could still make an impact in some capacity during the 2022 season. 

    Linebacker was one of the largest holes left on the roster and the Dolphins filled that by landing Channing Tindall and Cameron Goode in the draft. 

    Tindall and Goode have the clearest paths to playing time based on the players in front of them at their position. 

    Fourth-round pick Erik Ezukanma could break through at some point, while seventh-round selection Skylar Thompson needs a miracle to reach the field this season. 

Channing Tindall

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Miami's first selection of the 2022 NFL draft was used on the ninth Georgia player selected.

    Channing Tindall was the seventh player from Georgia's historic defensive unit to be chosen. He could have a larger impact than the first players chosen from other SEC schools. 

    Tindall made 32 tackles and recorded 5.5 sacks in his final collegiate season despite playing around the likes of Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis. 

    Tindall should compete for snaps on a linebacker depth chart that is thin once you get past the projected starters. 

    The Georgia product will likely compete for snaps on the inside behind Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts. 

    As of now, the second layer of defense is the weakest on paper on the Miami roster. The Dolphins need Tindall to perform more like a five-year veteran than a rookie to feel more confident about the position. 

Cameron Goode

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Cameron Goode's path to potential playing time was made more difficult by the Dolphins' recent signing of Melvin Ingram.

    The Dolphins added Ingram to aid their rush off the edge, which is one of Goode's best qualities. 

    Goode recorded 20.5 sacks over five seasons at California. He had 6.5 sacks last season. That was his second-best single-season high. 

    The Ingram signing does not mean Goode's path to the field is completely blocked, but it does make playing time harder for the sixth-round pick to earn. 

    Since Miami's draft class was so small, Goode could still be one of the most impactful first-year players, whether it be as a reserve linebacker, or on special teams. 

Verone McKinley

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    It is hard to make a case for Erik Ezukanma and Skylar Thompson to challenge for significant playing time right away. 

    Ezukanma could move up to third or fourth on the wide receiver depth chart, but his impact will be smaller than other rookie wide receivers because Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will earn the majority of the targets. 

    Thompson needs a lot to go in his favor just to make the roster behind Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater. 

    Some of the undrafted free agents Miami signed, like Verone McKinley, may have better paths to playing time if they shine in training camp.

    Safety Verone McKinley could turn into a solid depth piece at the position. He was a ball hawk and a solid tackler at Oregon.

    McKinley recorded 77 tackles and six interceptions in his final season with the Ducks. It was a bit surprising to see him go undrafted after posting those stats. 

    McKinley might turn into one of the pleasant surprises of training camp and he could challenge for a game day roster spot if he displays the same qualities he did while at Oregon. 

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