Sieler a Keeper for Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins brought in a whole lot of young players last year as they began the process of overhauling their roster in the first phase of a major rebuilding project.
In all, they acquired during the 2019 regular season a total of 20 players who either were claimed off waivers or signed off another team's practice squad.
And right now it's looking like Zach Sieler, the RV-riding hunting enthusiast, is the best of the bunch.
More importantly, he's becoming a key part of the Dolphins defense.
He made his first start of the season against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday in place of Shaq Lawson and might do so again against the New York Jets this weekend with Lawson listed as questionable for the game.
Sieler also could be asked to fill in the interior of defensive line to help offset the loss of Davon Godchaux, who was placed on injured reserve Friday.
So it doesn't really matter if Sieler starts, it's highly likely he's going to wind up playing a big role on defense moving forward.
“I think when you watch Zach on the field, he plays with great effort, and that’s probably what sticks out most,” defensive coordinator Josh Boyer said. “Obviously you love and respect that about him, and he’s constantly in coaches’ offices trying to get better, trying to watch more film and then he goes out and practices as hard as he possibly can, and then he’s going to play as hard as he possibly can. “And like everybody else, there are some things that are good that he’s doing and then there are some things that we’re working on to try to get better, but Zach is a hard, hard worker and he’s a high-effort guy. He’s really a joy to be around.”
Sieler's football story truly is one of perseverance. He walked on at Ferris State as a 215-pound player and left around 290 pounds as the school's first-ever NFL draft pick — he was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 draft.
But Sieler never could find a role with the Ravens, which led to the Dolphins being able to claim him off waivers last December.
In only three games with Miami last season, one of them he started, Sieler showed intriguing potential. And he's just taken off from there this year.
The list of players brought in during the 2019 regular season via waivers or another team's practice squad who remain on the Dolphins roster also includes wide receiver Mack Hollins, tackle Adam Pankey, linebacker Calvin Munson and practice squad cornerback Tae Hayes.
Hollins and Munson both have become key contributors on special teams, while Pankey has been inactive for four of the first five games.
For the record, the other 15 players who have come and gone on: DE Taco Charlton, C/G Keaton Sutherland, CB Ryan Lewis, CB Xavien Crawford, CB Ken Crawley, RB De'Lance Turner, WR Gary Jennings, S Adrian Colbert, WR Trevor Davis, RB Zach Zenner, C/G Evan Brown, CB Linden Stephens, LB Jamal Davis, CB Nate Brooks and RB Samaje Perine.