In 2013 the Miami Dolphins spent big money to bring in Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe, but neither one was able to live up to his contract. In the 2014 NFL draft, the Fins tried fixing this problem by selecting sure-to-be-stud Jordan Tripp from the University of Montana in the fifth round.
Tripp is known for being tough and playing an old school style of football:
Sitting w/ @Gil_Brandt. Telling me to keep my eye on MIA's Jordan Tripp. Says he's a throwback to how they used to make FB players.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 25, 2014
For the Dolphins, Tripp was a much-needed addition. Last season, Miami ranked 24th in rushing yards allowed. It's early, but some writers and analysts are already praising Tripp's performances during OTAs:
MLB Jordan Tripp seems to know what he's doing out there...in right places.— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) June 19, 2014
According to Tripp's NFL.com scouting report, his early success should not come as a shock:
Outstanding motor, intensity and effort. Extremely competitive. Very tough. Outstanding weight-room work ethic. Sculpted with very minimal body fat. Elected team captain. Exceptional character.
Tripp's competitiveness and effort is similar to the San Diego Chargers' Manti Te'o. Many scouts and analysts complained that a majority of Te'o's plays in college were do to hustle and effort, not skill. He went on to start 13 games for the Chargers and recorded 61 tackles and 4 passes defended.
Te'o's success is a promising sign for Tripp. Not to mention, Tripp is a much better athlete.
Many would consider it a success for Tripp just to become the backup behind Ellerbe, but could he win over the starting spot by the end of the season?
What do the stats say about the Dolphins LB switcheroo? Take a look: pic.twitter.com/GUUPzKL5HK— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 13, 2013
According to the stats above, Ellerbe and Wheeler not only underperformed in relation to their contracts, but they also played worse than their predecessors. If these two overpaid linebackers continue to disappoint, Tripp could find himself earning a start.
It may take time for him to develop, but Tripp has a chance to be a real stud in the NFL:
With his size, speed and competitive drive, he has Pro Bowl potential down the road. He may not be the next Zach Thomas, but there's a chance he can become the next Jordan Tripp.
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