The Miami Dolphins addressed the team’s void at linebacker by trading for former Clemson standout Stephone Anthony on the same day the Dolphins suspended Lawrence Timmons indefinitely following his disappearance Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game.
Miami reportedly sent New Orleans a fifth-round pick in 2018 for Anthony, who was the 31st pick of the 2015 NFL draft, Tuesday evening.
Anthony started 19 games for the Saints his first two seasons in the NFL, but he struggled in training camp and the exhibition season this summer, and hasn’t played in New Orleans’ first two games. There was speculation during the preseason that Anthony would be cut by the Saints, who have been struggling on defense.
However, the physical 6-foot-3, 245 pound linebacker did contribute 112 tackles, an interception, a sack, and forced two fumbles in his rookie season.
The Dolphins needed to fortify a defensive unit that featured four healthy linebackers in Miami’s 19-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday because Timmons went AWOL, disappearing from the team’s hotel hours before kickoff.
Mike Hull replaced Timmons as Miami’s every-down linebacker paired with Kiko Alonso, and rookie Chase Allen replaced Timmons as Miami’s starting strong side linebacker in the base defense.
Hull, a former Penn State standout entering his third NFL season, led the Dolphins with 10 tackles, but he allowed every pass thrown to an offensive player he was responsible for to be completed.
The Dolphins need help at linebacker because Rey Maualuga, an eight-year veteran who was signed last month, hasn’t finished working his way into playing shape. Maualuga is also nursing a hamstring injury. It’s unclear when he’ll be ready to play.
The same can be said for Anthony, who is coming from a 3-4 scheme. The Dolphins liked Anthony when he was available in the 2015 NFL draft, bringing the former USA Today and Parade All-American standout in for an official visit.
However, there is some concern about tightness in his hips, which made him a liability in pass coverage at times. At this point the Dolphins would likely groom Anthony to serve as a two-down linebacker, potentially challenging Allen for Timmons’ old spot.
During his collegiate career Anthony recorded 254 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three interceptions and forced five fumbles during his four seasons as a starter.