Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins shared an enthusiastic moment during a recent charity event.
— Paola Argueta (@paolaa_arg) February 26, 2022
McDaniel was hired as the Dolphins head coach earlier this month, replacing Brian Flores, who was fired one day after the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.
Wilkins was the first draft pick made after Flores was hired in 2019, though it’s clear from the video that the 26-year-old has adapted to the new man in charge.
One of the reasons that McDaniel is surely eager to bond with Wilkins is that the lineman is coming off the best season of his three-year career.
Starting in all 17 games for the Dolphins during the 2021 season, Wilkins collected 89 combined tackles, which was by far the highest total of his young career.
Wilkins also collected 4.5 sacks and made 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Numbers like those are why the Dolphins chose him with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
While Wilkins’ numbers were notable, the Dolphins came up short again in a bid for the postseason. A 1-7 start was followed by eight wins in their final nine contests.
That comeback wasn’t enough to save Flores’ job, and that decision soon led the former Dolphins coach to file a racial discrimination lawsuit. In addition, he made explosive allegations against Dolphins owner Stephen Ross regarding being paid to purposely lose games.
While that ugly situation is currently being investigated by the NFL, McDaniel is eager to focus on the season ahead. Making a solid connection with a key member of the team’s defensive line is a good start.