Armando Salguero

Christian Wilkins vs. Brandon Scherff: A play suggesting big possibilities for Dolphins rookie

This Miami Dolphins season has generally been so depressing that I’ve generally given up on looking at today and am more closely examining tomorrow. I’m thinking of the draft next year, free agency next year and the team next year.

As part of that approach, one of the deep dives done in this space is about the Dolphins 2020 offensive line free agency possibilities. And Washington Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff is mentioned prominently in that report, which is coincidental because the Dolphins just played the Redskins, and I got to see Scherff in person.

I looked at him again on tape, which was fine because he didn’t dominate, but he would still be an upgrade for the Dolphins.

But one play involving Scherff caught my eye that I need to share here.

Actually the play made my eyes practically bulge out of my head because it involves the Dolphins’ future, although it doesn’t necessarily affect Scherff’s possibilities in Miami.

This is the play ...

Before this play the Redskins are leading 14-3 and are trying to extend their lead with a touchdown before halftime. And Washington runs running back Adrian Peterson to the left side and he gains a couple of yards. But that’s not my point.

The point is what happens on the right side between Scherff and Dolphins tackle Christian Wilkins, the team’s first-round pick this year.

If you look closely, Miami’s No. 94 (Wilkins) drives Washington’s No. 75 (Scherff) about 2 yards backward off the line of scrimmage.

This is a rookie dominating a former first-round pick and a two-time Pro Bowl guard.

And it made me smile because it shows great potential by Wilkins. It shows what he might do with more consistency against top competition. It shows what can happen once he matures and gains experience and improves his technique.

The moment suggests something good might be coming from this kid in the future.

Now, to be perfectly clear, Wilkins doesn’t deliver on every play like like he did on that play. It’s not been like that all the time this season. In fact, he got handled pretty good by the Dallas offensive line a few weeks ago. He had five tackles in that game but quite a few were well beyond the line of scrimmage in a game the Dolphins yielded 235 rushing yards.

But Wilkins also had five tackles against the Los Angeles Chargers one week later, and he was much better. And the Dolphins yielded only 79 rushing yards in that game.

The point is Wilkins has been a little up and down — like most rookies.

But he has had some very good moments as a part of those highs. And he’s trending toward being a good player, which the Dolphins need more of as they build.

One more thing: The Dolphins used the No. 12 overall selection on Wilkins in the 2019 draft. Personally, I would have wanted them to pick FSU’s OLB Brian Burns there because he’s more versatile and gets to the passer. I said that before the draft and haven’t changed.

But if Wilkins becomes a great edge-setter and blows up interior offensive lineman like he obliterated Scherff on the play we’re talking about, there is nothing that suggests it would have been a bad pick.

The need for Miami is that we see that dominant Wilkins more in the weeks and months and years ahead.

Follow me on Instagram: @thearmandosalguero
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