DAVIE – If Dolphins fans scour the internet long enough for NFL draft content, they would quickly come to the realization that the general consensus among many publications is that Miami needs another pass rusher.
For example, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has the Dolphins selecting North Carolina St. defensive end Bradley Chubb, while USA Today’s Draft Wire has them taking edge rusher Harold Landry out of Boston College in round one of the 2018 NFL draft.
While it is true that the Dolphins love pass-rushers, they are deep at the position, and one player that many NFL draft pundits aren’t taking into account is undrafted rookie free agent Cameron Malveaux out of University of Houston.
Defensive end Cameron Wake is likely to return for his 10th season in the NFL while Andre Branch, who is more than serviceable, is just 28-years old and is under contract through 2019. The Dolphins also selected Charles Harris in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.
Thirty-two year old defensive end William Hayes will be a unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he’s been placed on injured reserve with a back injury. The Dolphins subsequently elevated the 6-foot-5, 276 pound Malveaux to the active roster, and it appears they’ve found a player with a similar skill-set compared to Hayes.
“In terms of skill-set I mean he’s a big long kid that is tough against the run,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said. “He sets edges for us; even as a rusher, he’s not going to be super fancy but he does a good job in terms of long-arming with his length and speed-to-power and trying to collapse the pocket and push guys. … Losing a guy like [veteran defensive end] Will Hayes, he provides a little bit of that same element for us. … We just felt it was kind of a nice chance to get him up [to the 53-man roster] and give him opportunity to go play and he responded. He had about 30-35 snaps and did a really good job for us.”
Malveaux caught Burke’s eye by “destroying” the offense while on scout team, and being the consummate professional. The injury to Hayes provided an opportunity for the Dolphins to get Malveaux a look in a game, and his practice habits combined with his game-day performance has the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator singing his praises.
“He does everything right,” Burke said. “I know the cliché being the first one in; he’s literally the first person sitting in the meeting room like every morning waiting for stuff to start. “
When made aware of Burke’s comments, about Malveaux, coach Adam Gase joked,
“I don’t want to use those words, that might get me in trouble.”
While Gase didn’t want to give Malveaux credit for destroying the first-team offense, he was complimentary of the rookie defensive end.
“He’s doing a really good job,” Gase said. “He was making our guys better. I asked Cam [Wake] about when he was in a role when he first came into the NFL and he told me, ‘Thursday’s were my game day and I wasn’t going to slow down for anybody. That’s how I got better.’ He [Cameron Malveaux] is the same way.
“Everyday for him is, whether it’s Wednesday or Thursday, he plays the run tough, there’s a big man coming off of the edge well and he does everything we ask him to do. It was great to see him get an opportunity, especially right away and just jump up and get to play.”
Malveaux is turning heads with his preparation and his play. If he can steadily improve his game, and prove his worth the remainder of the season, the Dolphins would be hard-pressed to avoid addressing their offensive line, while adding to a position group already considered a strength.