Ellerbe, who was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as a unrestricted free agent in 2009, was one of the top free agents on the market this year. He brings athleticism and play-making abilities to the middle of the Dolphins defense. Ellerbe was arguably the best defender on a talent laden Ravens defense moving through the playoffs, and ending in a Super Bowl XLVII victory. It was reported that he was targeted as the Ravens biggest off-season priorities. His 92 total tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2012 will be something to build upon and his instincts for being around the football is something the Dolphins are looking to take advantage of in 2013.
Wheeler, drafted in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, finished the 2013 season with 109 total tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles as part of the Oakland Raiders defense. He played in all 16 games last season for the Raiders and at 6’2, 240 pounds, fits the mold that gets this unit younger and faster for defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
Although the linebacker position didn’t look to be a position of need or makeover for the Dolphins, General Manager Jeff Ireland promised that this team would be younger and more athletic moving forward and these two players continue the move in that direction. Including wide receiver Mike Wallace in that equation, the Dolphins have assembled three players that instantly change the make-up and direction of this team in 2013.
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