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McMillan has the tools to show his doubters that he is THE guy for Miami

Kadeem Simmonds

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No one knows what the Miami Dolphins will get out of Raekwon McMillan in 2018. No one except Omar Kelly, who has informed Phins fans that Miami’s starting middle linebacker is Denzel Perryman, at best.

This is based on “his college film, his body of work. And I’ve seen him practice before his injury, and the past two weeks.”

However, this narrative goes against what the coaches and other NFL journalists have said about the sophomore player who missed the entirety of his rookie season due to injury.

McMillan has wowed those inside the building, who have claimed that he is ahead of where he was last summer.

“He was really getting to that point where he was about to make that move,” defensive co-ordinator Matt Burke said last month. “We really felt like he was just starting to take that step when we got him going before he got injured. We had high hopes for him last year. Nothing he’s done since then has discouraged that.”

“If it works out the way we think it can and hope it does, that’s a huge acquisition for us.

“He’s worked his (butt) off to get better. He’s rehabbed. He’s in here every day. He hasn’t shown any limitations so far, which has been encouraging. Hopefully he’s a big piece for us. I’m encouraged by him and I’m excited to see him get some work.”

McMillan is already a leader on this defence, with those who have seen Miami practice over the last few weeks quick to comment on how he has performed.

Kiko Alonso said that McMillan was “a playmaker. He flies around. (He’s a) high-energy guy. I look forward to working with him.”

Why Kelly feels the need to shit on players before they have even played a snap is beyond fans but this isn’t new territory for the journalist – although he did have something nice to say about him last month.

While he says he doesn’t mean to offend Perryman or McMillan, he has offended both players.

Perryman is a solid NFL starter and while everyone hopes McMillan plays better than that, given the level to which Miami’s linebackers played in 2017, solid starter is a huge upgrade.

In 33 games for the Chargers, Perryman has 182 combined tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one interception, nothing special but the kind of numbers Miami needs from their linebackers.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller expects big things from McMillan, saying on his Stick to Football podcast: “If he can be what we saw at Ohio State, I actually loved him at Ohio State, it was weird because a lot of the Twitter analysts didn’t really care for this guy. ‘He wasn’t fast enough, he wasn’t agile enough.’

“But his instincts and strength are so good and putting him in the middle of a 4-3 where he belongs, and I love his strength there, his ability to stack and shed … hopefully we get that breakthrough from him.”

Miller’s podcast partner Connor Rogers was also full of praise.

“I picked him as my defensive rookie of the year candidate [in 2017] … this guy is a tackling machine.”

A tackling machine with good instincts, McMillan has the tools to prove Kelly and any other doubters wrong in 2018.

Kadeem is a fairly new Dolphins fan and while he can't put his finger on why he chose the Fins as the team to support, he just knew it felt right. When not rooting for the team, he is a Sports Editor for a British newspaper.

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