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Miami Dolphins

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright… Right?

Chris Kowalewski

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Owner Stephen Ross attempted to give fans a pre-flight safety briefing back on 31st December 2018, informing them that for the Miami Dolphins – his 2.8 billion dollar baby – it’s going to be a difficult (but necessary) journey ahead.

Fast forward a little over 8 months and the NFL’s 100th season has taken off with Miami’s journey having already flown deep into significant turbulence. Despite Ross’ early warning, fans and media alike are split as to whether they should fasten their seatbelts and ride it out, destined for smooth sailing ahead; or whether the Dolphins are already tanking spiralling out of control towards inevitable doom.

Whatever their fate, the 2019 Miami Dolphins are 0-2 following a second deflating defeat at home.

After being outscored 102-10 through 2 games, you can tune into any NFL related media content and you’ll hear the endlessly repeated stats, the open mocking and a rising uncertainty as to whether the Dolphins have a plan of any kind to transform themselves into a future contender. 

Many had assumed that the correct approach for Miami’s rebuild would be to grow around a core group of young players who were already present within the building – including Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick – but grumbles and rumours quickly began to grow and circulate. GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores have claimed since Day 1 together that their vision for the team is aligned and Stephen Ross has openly supported the plan for the years ahead. Not weeks or even months ahead. For years ahead.

By now, everyone should be aware that there will be no quick fix.

The trade of Laremy Tunsil, widely considered to be among the NFL’s top left tackles, proved that the franchise currently considers every player to have a price – a value by which the team must consider whether the future years of the Dolphins can be made brighter through trade or release, despite darkening the days and months ahead.

The plan also includes a fundamental requirement for players to buy into the teaching and coaching systems which Brian Flores and his staff have begun to put in place. Key word being ‘begun’. Whatever development of the coaching staff itself is needed will continue to take place behind closed doors. For so many years, the Dolphins have talked both publicly and privately about the need for an ever-elusive culture change – to one which establishes commitment, discipline and a ‘team above all’ mentality.

In today’s NFL, establishing that culture change is likely harder than it ever has been.

Yes, for many players, Miami is Distraction City. Rookies have burnt out amidst the glitz and glamor, whilst experienced veterans have taken advantage of the weighty paycheck – their primary goal having been achieved – happy to relax on the sandy shores of South Beach among the young, rich and beautiful. It almost seems that running an NFL franchise in a city such as Miami would be an impossible task.

For some players, the focus is on personal fame and money. To them, football isn’t so much about achieving team success, but about gaining single status as the ‘highest paid’ at their respective position, to the extent that fans and front offices increasingly see players hold-out from their contracts and on-field work.

For others, social media remains king. Building a brand, however socially toxic, is of utmost importance to them as a way of brainwashing supporters into believing that the player is always right. They can burn their feet, abandon practice, complain about helmets and continue to receive the vocal support of their coaches, yet still social media can be used to break from their previous contractual and promise-filled bonds. Make no mistake about it, those players hold a significant level of power over the franchise and cause nothing but team distraction and division.

So how does a team find success in this ever-changing world? 

It all comes back to culture. A team must establish a culture to which it adheres for the longterm. It might not be an easy one to embrace, but it must also be one built upon the principal of working as a team. 

One which doesn’t give full control and advantage to over-priced free agents. 

One which might run practices hard, is demanding, but in which players know that the its sole purpose is to achieve team success.

We all know which franchise is constantly praised for its continuity at Head Coach, the discipline its system requires and the interchangeability of the roster pieces. 

Hint: The Dolphins just lost to them 43-0. 

And when players leave that team, you will hear about the difficult practices. It wasn’t fun, it was demanding. But that’s what it takes to find sustained success. 

Back in Miami, one of 2018’s brightest acquisitions was Alabama star safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick. Praised coming out of college for his unparalleled work ethic, he was considered to be a versatile defensive piece and after the hire of ‘defensive mastermind’ Brian Flores, one which could be shaped into an NFL superstar. 

Minkah’s unhappiness quickly came to light earlier this offseason. Granted, he had complained of former Dolphins’ DC Matt Burke’s scheme and the lateness with which he would know his role on a weekly basis. Last season, he had also confirmed directly to LockedOn Dolphins’ very own Travis Wingfield post-game that he embraced learning multiple positions, which helped him to understand the defense as a whole and to react instinctively. Despite his displeasure with the 2018 scheme, Minkah played well and was forecast to grow into one of the brightest shining stars on the roster.

Coaching changes of 2019 took place and Minkah’s mother soon enough took to Twitter to voice complaints on her son’s behalf that he didn’t feel he was in the ‘right position’ to be successful. Behind the scenes, experienced coaches requested that Minkah continued to learn multiple positions to ensure scheme flexibility – not to dilute his talents, but to enhance them. It requires a special talent to be able to absorb such a responsibility and the coaches believe he’s capable of doing it. They believe it will help the team.

But perhaps the task is too difficult for him. Perhaps arriving in the NFL on a rebuilding franchise from a National Champion college program is too tough to swallow.

And so Minkah becomes the latest Dolphin to bring added drama to the table, requesting and obtaining permission from the team to seek a trade. Although he stated that his usage in Week 2 was ‘more fun’, the extent to which Minkah’s relationship with the front office can now be repaired is debatable and several teams have already reportedly enquired about his availability and the potential cost of a trade. 

If Minkah wants out, there’s nothing any of us can do to change his mind. Highlighted as Nick Saban’s favourite player he’d ever coached, Minkah can be a special talent, but if his mindset cannot be compatible with the requests of the coaching staff, perhaps he is not a right fit for the culture which they wish to establish. The time of players having leverage over the heads of the franchise must end in Miami in order for there to be positive result out of this recent roster demolition. 

It seems that Stephen Ross finally acknowledges this. A man with notoriously deep pockets who has previously known little else other than success and is desperate for his team to be a perennial contender.

It seems that Chris Grier knows this, tasked with reducing the roster to its bare foundations and acquiring the draft capital and salary space needed to build it almost from scratch.

It seems that Brian Flores known this too. Let’s not forget where he’s come from, both professionally and personally as he has been brought in with a 5-year guaranteed contract to set the expectations, demands and work ethic to put this franchise on the right course.

Perhaps despite all the turbulence, their visions are indeed aligned and the Dolphins aren’t directionless as many others would have you believe.

Stephen Ross made it loud and clear that they would no longer be in ‘win now’ mode. That mentality had brought nothing but years of mediocrity and failure. For a franchise that has discarded, traded and sold the vast majority of its old foundation blocks, focus will shift to finding the pieces who fit the talent and mindset requirements of the Dolphins’ new regime. 

Speaking with the Sun Sentinel last week, Ross addressed the critics of the fans and the organization and reiterated his thoughts on the plan ahead:

When we hired Brian Flores, we were looking for someone who had certain qualities and one of them was handling challenges and adversity… The goal isn’t to patch some holes to go 9-7 and make the playoffs. I want to compete for and win Super Bowls. We took an objective look at our situation at the end of last year and realized that we were a long way away from where we need to be. Our roster, salary-cap situation, everything… We have to approach things differently and think outside the box… We are trying to win every game we play and grow and improve every day, but we also have to balance making decisions that help us build a championship organization.

We have some young players on this team that Chris and Brian and their staffs have been evaluating that we’re excited about being part of this team for a long time. Guys who are on board, talented, team-first and love the game of football. Those guys that put the team first and want to be a part of building something special together, we want them here for a long time and will want to reward them for that.

We have tremendous fans and to them I say thank you. We said it wouldn’t be easy, but it was something we are committed to and believe it’s the only way to build a team to win continually. Nothing great in life was ever achieved easily. There are no shortcuts or magic formulas. This is the NFL.”

So it’s confirmed that a ‘win now’ mentality isn’t the right approach at this stage for the Miami Dolphins. A lot of work is yet to be done to bring in players and establish a new upturn by finding players willing to grind through the difficult days, to win it all together as a team.

Some of those players may be on the team already, a lot of them won’t be.

2019 will be an evaluation period for everyone on the field.

But not all is lost. This team isn’t completely devoid of talent, nor is it absent of leaders who can see the larger scope and the light at the end of the tunnel.

Bobby McCain, another player who has bounced around in the defensive backfield realizes it. When asked whether Flores’ program is too mentally and physically difficult stated “It’s football; if it’s too hard for you, you can go play [elsewhere]. We want mentally, physically tough players.

Jerome Baker, a nominated a captain by his teammates at only 22 years old, instead of requesting a trade after the loss to Baltimore stated “I don’t want anybody to question that we’ll all stick together. It’s just one loss. We’ve got to bounce back and ultimately stick together. 

Even Jesse Davis – a player tasked with switching sides on an already jumbled offensive line – when questioned by beat-writer Joe Schad as to whether the Dolphins are positioning themselves to take over the AFC East in the future stated: “I think so. Especially when we get guys that want to get in here in the door, and we get those guys brought in. The faster everybody buys in, it’s going to be a lot smoother. I mean yeah, we have hell days. But you have to do that just to get that game feel. And the faster we quit b****in’ about it, the smoother it’s going to be”.

So fans, take some solace in the fact that beyond the superficial mess, complaints and lopsided on-field losses it’s clear that some guys get it. It’s likely that the majority of the locker room gets it too. They’ve already bought in to Brian Flores’ methods, but the roster is too thin, too inexperienced and too raw to realistically compete in 2019.

When Stephen Ross told that this would likely be the case, fans seemingly embraced the concept of a full rebuild. It brought the possibility of the first overall pick and the acquisition of multiple others over the next two drafts to reinforce this team with an influx of talented players, each equipped with the mindset that a Brian Flores led team requires.

Media and casual fans might continue to mock and moan as the season progresses, but the plan was always going to be clear. 

So in the end, is everything going to be alright? Will the plan work? No one can know for sure right now, but I applaud the Miami Dolphins for taking the difficult road and trying something different. It would have been too easy to maintain the course, sell the tickets, sell the jerseys and continue to fall flat at the end of the year.

Ross wants change. Grier wants change. And Flores has been brought in to ultimately deliver it – not now – but in the years ahead.

It’s going to be tough, but climbing down into the abyss may perhaps be the only way to save ourselves from perpetual disappointment.

You may as well try to embrace it.

Physically located across the pond, but mentally always in Miami. A qualified lawyer, NFL sponge, aspiring writer and self-proclaimed IKEA furniture construction expert, he’s looking ahead to a brighter future for the Dolphins after decades of wading in the depths of mediocrity. Always on the search for any excuse to talk all-things Dolphins.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rich McQuillen

    September 16, 2019 at 10:17 am

    The clock is ticking… They’ve got about a month to get a win. If they don’t, people are going to start comparing Flores to Cam Cameron.

  2. Avatar

    Lj

    September 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Except that Cam lost with a team of skilled players. Nobody has a clue how good of a coach Flores is because he’s only got JV players right now. The scary truth is that we’re going to have to burn 20-30 picks in the next 2 years to see if Flores and Grier are for real or not. They better be.

  3. Avatar

    Keeb

    September 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you for this article. Very well written and does a great job of explaining the very thing most choose not to. The Dolphins are rebuilding from scratch and this season, along with next season possibly, will be tough for fans to watch. However you can not short change the process of rebuilding the roster/cap to build up a winner for years to come.

    I will be watching Dolphin player reactions through each week. I will also watch to see who seems to be doing their job well week-to-week, though that is not so easy for a fan to really know. But little improvements here and there are how I will judge the 2019-2020 Dolphins. Still hoping for a win against the Jets!

  4. Avatar

    MARK D WHITE

    September 16, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Good article. Thank you. However, this part of the plan was easy. Anyone could’ve tore this team down. The difficulty will be finding draftees and FAs that will want to play for the worst team in the NFL as well as picking/signing the right talent. Time will tell. They just bought a few more years of my devotion (45 yrs and counting). A speculative article about an approach to the build up would be interesting.

  5. Avatar

    Wayne

    September 16, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Great article but come on man Brian Flores is not “defensive mastermind” if that was true we wouldn’t have the biggest blow out in Miami Dolphins history.

  6. Avatar

    Marchcool

    September 17, 2019 at 7:53 am

    This story is even more revolting that the team status right now. Clearly written by someone that is licking Ross’ as. “Rebuilding mode”, “football culture”, just word that they don’t even understand, including the author of this piece of garbage. I see no football culture whatsoever during Ross tenure as owner. Rather, completely the opposite, mainly due to the incompetence of the staff he chose himself in the past and present. For Ross and his current staff “rebuilding” means DESTRUCTION. Just see the trades during the past years, and most of them are scratch headings which produced chaos instead of a “rebuild”.
    I won’t be surprisef if by the end of the season and during the offseason, X. Howard, J. Sanders, Drake, Grant, Wilson, and the remaining of the few good players are gone. Still the front office and the author of this column will claim the “rebuilding mode” and the “football culture of excellence, commitment and discipline”. I simply don’t see how the best players in college football will be wishing to play with this putrid organization which only deliver words and zero results and by its actions disrespect the fans in the most awful way.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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Miami Dolphins

Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be a productive team in 2019.

A team meant to lose every game somehow ended up with a 5-11 record; simultaneously sabotaging their draft status and leaving us with a promising future at the same time.

Brian Flores, the former scout, scoured the transaction wire every day in an attempt to uncover potential “acorns” – as one former general manager infamously put it. And with a keen eye for development, his constant shuffling and retooling paid off for him.

You might think a 5-11 team wouldn’t have too many options for a Top 5 list, but the Dolphins were littered with productive “surprises”. Most have promising futures, while some have already solidified themselves as perennial starters.

Take a look at our top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 down below. If you’d like to see who made our list of top 5 most disappointing players of 2019, click here.

5) Davon Godchaux

After two elite seasons, we’ve come to expect nothing less out of Davon Godchaux.

Starting 16 games for the second year in a row, Godchaux has continued to ascend as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Dolphins weren’t so busy staying out of the lime light, Godchaux would be a household name across the nation.

His 52 solo tackles were tied for the most in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. His 2 sacks, 75 total tackles and 7 QB hits are all improvements over his 2018 campaign, which already had fans clamoring to extend the young, former 5th-round pick.

Though some might point to Miami’s overall defensive rushing numbers as a sign that Godchaux (and Christian Wilkins) weren’t good at their jobs, that’s wildly misleading. Godchaux was stout in the middle of the defensive line; inadvertently tasked with absorbing double teams and giving players like Vince Biegel or Jerome Baker room to blitz.

It’s quite possible that Godchaux is lower than he should be on this list, simply because we take his performance for granted.

4) Mike Gesicki

I’m going to hold my hand up high and admit that I thought Mike Gesicki was going to be an absolute bust for the Miami Dolphins.

More-notorious for not staying on his feet than Brian Hartline, Gesicki overcame a (very) rough rookie season and turned into a reliable seam threat for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions, 570 receiving yards (an 11.2 yards-per-reception average) and five touchdowns – the first of his career. He proved to be a mismatch against linebackers; and whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, the Dolphins are going to take advantage each time they see him 1-on-1 against an LB.

Athletic and deceptively quicker than we might realize, Gesicki honed his route running and displayed a much better catch radius than what we saw his rookie year. The image of Brent Grimes wide-eyed after Gesicki went up for a touchdown says more than a thousand words – but if nothing else, it tells us that the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate tight end.

3) Vince Biegel

Vince Biegel came to Miami as a complete afterthought.

The Dolphins traded incumbent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to alleviate cap space in 2020. In return, they received a little-known, former 4th-round pick who was about to play for his third team in 3 years.

For all the grief we’ve given Chris Grier over his scouting, we have to give him a ton of credit for this one. Saying the Saints got fleeced is an understatement.

In 13 games (4 starts) with the Saints, Alonso recorded 31 tackles, 0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 2 QB Hits.

In 15 games (10 starts), Biegel accumulated 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 13 QB Hits and an interception to boot.

Biegel was such a force at linebacker, that Dolphins fans forgot he was going to be a free agent this offseason and just assumed they had him for years to come. Most of us hope the Dolphins find a way to keep Biegel around at a reasonable (yet worthy) price.

The growth he, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker can make with another year together could all together eliminate the need to use assets on a linebacker in the near-future. Especially when the team will get Andrew Van Ginkel back for a full, healthy season.

2) Jerome Baker

Arguably Chris Grier’s best draft pick, Jerome Baker has evolved into one of the best all-around linebackers in the league. You can consider that an overstatement, but his versatility, durability and play-making ability make him a prime candidate to burst into the national spotlight in 2020.

Baker and Eric Rowe were the only players who logged over 1,000 snaps last season (1,079 for Baker, 1,071 for Rowe).

After a rookie season that showed a ton of promise, Baker’s sophomore season ended with 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended and 1 interception. Versatile in coverage, as a spy, diagnosing the run, and when he blitzes, Baker may be the real Swiss-Army knife of this Dolphins’ defense.

The biggest question we now have to ask is: what do the Miami Dolphins do with Jerome Baker? He’s still two years away from free agency, but if his 2020 season is any improvement over what we’ve seen, Baker is going to command A LOT of money when he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Don’t let Baker turn into another Olivier Vernon, Jarvis Landry or Lamar Miller. Pay the talent you successfully scouted and maintain a sense of culture and camaraderie.

Honorable Mentions:

Christian Wilkins:

Christian Wilkins came to the Miami Dolphins with a ton of charisma and a jovial personality unmatched by any top draft pick that came before him.

From the moment the 315lbs linebacker did a split after Clemson won their national championship in 2018, to the time he had Roger Goodell go up for a chest bump after he was drafted, Wilkins was a beloved figure.

But personality can only take you so far, and when the season started Wilkins needed to back up his charity work and infectious smile with the brutality necessary to win at the line of scrimmage. And boy did he live up to it.

Wilkins may not have finished with the most-gaudy numbers, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. For his rookie season, Wilkins totaled 56 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended. He’s caught every pass ever thrown to him (1), and it even resulted in a touchdown.

His 888 total snaps (between defense, special teams and the 2 he accumulated on offense) are noteworthy for a rookie defensive tackle.

The other 1st-round defensive linemen drafted in 2019 finished with:

  • Quinnen Williams (3rd-overall): 577 total snaps
  • Clelin Ferrell (4th): 716 snaps
  • Ed Oliver (9th): 572 snaps
  • Wilkins (13th): 888 snaps
  • Brian Burns (16th): 609 snaps
  • Dexter Lawrence (17th): 866 snaps
  • Jeffery Simmons (19th): 368 snaps
  • Montez Sweat (26th): 817 snaps
  • Jerry Tillery (28th): 436 snaps

The 2019 draft class was stacked on the defensive line, and yet, the Dolphins may have managed to draft the best one of the bunch midway through the round.

Nik Needham:

The Miami Dolphins signed Nik Needham as an undrafted free agent with the hope that he would provide depth for a position group that already featured plenty of expensive and starting-caliber players within it.

Instead, the Dolphins add another commodity to that list.

Competing for playing time with players like Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and a plethora of other roster invitees, Needham had an excellent camp, but found himself just missing the final 53-man roster.

That didn’t stop him from honing his craft and earning a promotion from the practice squad one day before the Dolphins were set to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 6.

Needham went on to start the final 11 games of the season, and ended the year with 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 54 total tackles.

As a rookie cornerback, you’re expected to be picked on, but Needham was bullied by the refs more than he was by opposing quarterbacks. Questionable calls against Needham towards the end of the year put a slight damper on his otherwise stellar season.

Though in the eyes of some Dolphins fans, that erroneous (non-existent) pass interference penalty that was overturned on the final drive during the New York Jets loss was a blessing in disguise.

1) DeVante Parker

It may have taken slightly longer than we originally hoped, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive style highlighted just how elite DeVante Parker can be when you just throw him the damn ball.

Previously marred by the occasional health concern and offensive schemes that didn’t cater to his skillset, Parker was deemed a “bust” by most Dolphins fans. Drafted 14th-overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Parker was expected to transcend the offense. Instead, bubble screens became the focal point for an offense that was littered with deep threat specialists (Parker, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant).

Parker’s recent 4-year, $40m extension is a reward not only for the production Parker put up in 2019, but for the potential Parker still has left in him.

In 16 games this past season (the first time he’s been active for 16 games his entire career), Parker caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his four years prior to 2019, Parker caught a combined 163 passes for 2,217 yards and 9 TDs.

As long as he can stay healthy, and the Dolphins don’t revert back to a scared, anemic offense, you can expect annual 1,000 yard seasons from the team’s #1 receiver.

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