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Dolphins sign DT Marvin Austin
With nose tackle Paul Soliai still nursing a knee injury and in danger of missing a second straight game in Week 4 at New Orleans, the Miami Dolphins have opted to bring in some young talent at the position in the form of third-year player Marvin Austin. He will curiously wear No. 58, which is not a number typically given to a defensive lineman per NFL rules.
A second-round pick by the Giants in 2011, Austin (6-2, 312) entered the NFL after a year away from the field after being suspended for the entire 2010 season for receiving improper benefits at UNC. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle as a rookie and didn’t make his professional debut until 2012, when he appeared in eight games and totaled eight tackles.
A character concern coming out of college and a disappointment in New York, the Giants placed Austin on the trading block during the 2013 season, but found no takers and eventually waived him during final cuts. Austin had reported workouts with the Lions, Seahawks and Chiefs prior to signing with the Dolphins.
To make roomforAustin on the roster, Miami placed defensive tackle Vaughn Martin on season-ending injured reserve. Signed to a two-year, $4 million contract in the offseason after four years in San Diego, Martin made the team over 2012 seventh-rounder Kheeston Randall and undrafted rookie A.J. Francis after a strong preseason finale. However, he recorded just one tackle in Miami’s first three regular season games and played a season-high 26 defensive snaps in Week 3.
It’s a bit strange to see Martin placed on injured reserve given Soliai’s injury and the fact that we never really saw Martin get hurt after playing the entire game against the Falcons. The team is perhaps ready to move on from the free-agent acquisition and might feel that he’s a necessary sacrifice to bring in a prospect like Austin.
It’s important not to get too excited about Austin right now, because he’s only played eight “real” games since the end of the 2009 season at UNC. His durability is already a concern at age 24 and he reportedly did not impress teams with his attitude and maturity in pre-draft interviews. As we all know, plenty of guys have the talent to play but many never put it all together because they don’t have what it takes upstairs.
Nevertheless, this is a nice low-risk, high-reward signing for the Dolphins and is one to watch out of the corner of your eye. Austin has a tremendous amount of talent and could be a valuable contributor on defense if he can straighten things out.