On Day 3 of official free agency, the Dolphins are adding multiple linebacker pieces. They have agreed to terms with Duke Riley and Brennan Scarlett, according to NJ.com’s Mike Kaye and the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (Twitterlinks).
Both players finished last season on IR. While each could offer depth, both Riley and Scarlett have starting experience. Both spent part of the 2020 season operating as starters — for the Eagles and Texans, respectively. Riley agreed to terms on a one-year pact, per Kaye.
A five-year Texans contributor, Scarlett started 22 games. The former UDFA worked as more of a pass rusher in Houston, playing on the outside in the Texans’ 3-4 scheme, but also offers some versatility. Scarlett started 10 games in 2019, registering 51 tackles and recording 3.5 sacks. He suffered a season-ending broken forearm midway through last season.
The Eagles signed Riley a year ago and used him as a starter in eight games. Despite missing three games, Riley played on 55% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps. A Falcons starter in 2017 and ’18, Riley recorded 55 tackles last season and was a special teams captain in Philly.
Scarlett makes for the second ex-Texans linebacker the Dolphins have acquired this week. They traded for Benardrick McKinney a few days ago. Miami also brought back linebacker Vince Biegel this week.
October 24th, 2017 at 7:35pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Falcons linebacker Duke Riley will require surgery after suffering a torn meniscus, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. While Atlanta hasn’t announced a timetable for Riley’s return, meniscus injuries typically require a four-week absence, per McClure.
Riley, whom the Falcons selected in the third round of the 2017 draft, has appeared in every game for Atlanta during his rookie campaign. He’s only been a base package player, though, garnering time on roughly 45% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps while playing on a quarter of the club’s special teams plays. Pro Football Focus hasn’t been a fan of Riley’s output, grading the LSU product as a bottom-15 linebacker.
Still, replacing a player who is essentially a starter is never easy, but the Falcons already started on that task earlier today. Atlanta agreed to bring back linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who spent 2010-15 with the Falcons. It’s unclear if Atlanta expects Weatherspoon to step directly into Riley’s role, or whether they’ll lean on other players — such as Jordan Tripp or (per McClure) converted safety Kemal Ishmael — to replace Riley. The Falcons are also set to bring linebacker LaRoy Reynoldsoff injured reserve in the next few weeks.
The Falcons have now signed their entire 2017 draft class. First round defensive end Takkarist McKinley, third round linebacker Duke Riley, fifth round running back Brian Hill, and fifth round tight end Eric Saubert are all under contract, the team announced.
The Falcons traded up to the Seahawks’ No. 26 pick during the first round in order to select McKinley, a former star at UCLA. McKinley went viral for his outpouring of emotions on the stage, but the Falcons believe that he’ll be known more for his play on the field before long. The 6’2″, 250 pound athlete has been widely praised for his high motor and his big wingspan should allow him to fend off blockers at the next level. In his senior year at UCLA, McKinley racked up 61 total tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, and ten sacks – all career highs.
Here’s the complete rundown of the Falcons’ draft class: