Instead of adding a young defensive lineman through last week’s NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins added some much-needed depth along its defensive front – netting defensive tackle Akeem Spence from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 conditional seventh-round pick.
Spence, a 26-year-old former fourth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, started 11 games for the Lions this past season – registering a career-high 39 tackles and three sacks.
Bringing Spence to South Florida means he’ll be reunited with his former defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Kocurek, who was hired for the same position with the Fins this offseason, coached Spence in Detroit this past season.
The 6-foot-1, 307-pound Spence became available thanks to a combination of factors. Under former coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions ran a 4-3 scheme that played into Spence’s ability to push into the backfield. Detroit replaced Caldwell with former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who typically employs a 3-4 scheme.
Detroit also signed tackle Sylvester Williams and drafted defensive end Da’Shawn Hand – making Spence further expendable.
In Miami, Spence will likely battle with 2017 holdovers Davon Godchaux, Jordan Phillips and Vincent Taylor through training camp for playing time as the Dolphins try to fill the void left by the departure of Ndamukong Suh.a