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Miami Dolphins

The Aftermath: Dolphins-Lions

Travis Wingfield

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Foreword:

As we develop a weekly content schedule for the season, I wanted something to bridge the gap between the Sunday night game breakdown column and the Tuesday film review. So, here we are with a smorgasbord of information, statistics, snap counts, and whatever is prudent to the Dolphins game from the Sunday prior.

We’ll dive into the game data from Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, grab some quotes from the player’s and coach’s pressers, and continue to provide the most comprehensive coverage on the Miami Dolphins you can find.

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Dolphins-Lions

Team Stats:

The scene at the Hoover Dam in Vegas Vacation is the perfect parallel to Dolphins fandom since the turn of the century. Chevy Chase assumes the role of every Dolphins decision maker over the last 20 years attempting to plug holes with bubble gum, as new holes appear just as a previous wound is covered up.

This year’s Dolphins are following a similar path. The defense, off to a hot start through five games, has fallen apart the last six quarters. In those three halves of football, Miami has allowed the opposition to produce points on 11 of 15 possessions.

Miami’s house of cards could be coming to a crumbling end. The Dolphin D now ranks 29th in yards allowed, 28th in yards per play and 19th in points per game.

The offense isn’t a whole lot better. Though the Dolphins are 9th in yards per play, Miami are 21st in total offense, 23rd in scoring, 26th in plays ran, 24th in 3rd down percentage, and 23rd in red zone scoring percentage.

Miami’s 4-3 record is a testament to their prowess in the takeaway department, defending the red zone, and winning the hidden yardage battle.

Dolphins Offense:

Snap Counts

 

Player Snaps (Percentage of Team Offensive Snaps)
QB Brock Osweiler 56 (100%)
RB Kenyan Drake 36 (64%)
RB Frank Gore 25 (45%)
RB Kalen Ballage 3 (5%)
WR Danny Amendola 55 (98%)
WR Kenny Stills 49 (88%)
WR Jakeem Grant 39 (70%)
WR Albert Wilson 14 (25%)
TE Nick O’Leary 39 (70%)
TE Mike Gesicki 16 (29%)
TE Durham Smythe 4 (7%)

 

The offensive line stayed intact until the end of the game. Wesley Johnson replaced Ted Larsen for three snaps, but the rest of the Miami-five played from gun-to-gun.

Jesse Davis had perhaps his worst day as a pro. Two sacks allowed, five more pressures and a failing run-blocking grade – he was taken to task by Ricky Jean-Francois. Travis Swanson allowed nine pressures while Ted Larsen and Ja’Wuan James allowed four each.

James was the only offensive lineman with a positive run-blocking grade.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Laremy Tunsil was the saving grace. His one pressure allowed was a sack, but he was rock-solid otherwise and a force in the running game.

All things told, Miami allowed pressure on 26 of Osweiler’s 38 drop backs.

Nick O’Leary was on-point again. He dugout the defensive tackle on Kenyan Drake’s long touchdown run and allowed zero pressures, but was a non-factor as a receiver.

Mike Gesicki led the charge for tight ends holding up well in both pass pro and the running game (best marks on the season) and he contributed with a career-high in receptions (3) and yards (44).

Kenyan Drake’s 54-yard run was his only real positive from the game. He dropped two passes and ran for just seven yards on his other five carries with little creativity to each run.

Danny Amendola caught all eight of his pass targets and registered his best grade of the season. Kenny Stills have one catch for the second-straight week and Jakeem Grant was right behind Amendola for highest graded offensive player for Miami.

Brock Osweiler was better in his second start. He played turnover-free football, was mostly accurate (71%) and threw for 7.7 yards per attempt.

Dolphins Defense:

Snap Counts

 

Player Snaps (Percentage of Team Defensive Snaps)
DE Robert Quinn 37 (58%)
DE Cam Wake 37 (58%)
DE Andre Branch 29 (45%)
DE Cameron Malveaux 27 (42%)
DT Davon Godchaux 47 (73%)
DT Akeem Spence 41 (64%)
DT Vincent Taylor 23 (36%)
DT Jamiyus Pittman 15 (23%)
LB Kiko Alonso 64 (100%)
LB Raekwon McMillan 54 (84%)
LB Jerome Baker 31 (48%)
LB Stephone Anthony 6 (9%)
CB Xavien Howard 64 (100%)
CB Bobby McCain 64 (100%)
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick 37 (58%)
SS T.J. McDonald 64 (100%)
FS Reshad Jones 64 (100%)

 

There’s not a lot of positive to look at on this side of the football. Miami missed 10 tackles in the game (McMillan, McCain and McDonald with two each).

Raekwon McMillan, aside from the missed tackles, turned in some impressive reps against the run – he registered six stops.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Baker and Kiko Alonso were gashed in coverage, with the latter having his worst day against the run. Alonso had the worst PFF grade among Dolphins defenders and allowed both passes in his area to go for completions, one for a touchdown.

Baker allowed a touchdown in coverage and 18 yards on 2/2 passing.

The Dolphins front-four was atrocious all the way around. Miami put eight pressures on Matt Stafford and only two of those were hits on the quarterback.

Robert Quinn had his worst day as a Dolphin. He pressured Stafford twice but was constantly pinned in against the run for a grade of 38.5 (second worst on the day behind Alonso).

Bobby McCain got targeted and victimized in his first game back from a knee injury. He allowed four of five attempts to go complete for 41 yards in man coverage.

T.J. McDonald and Reshad Jones were constantly out of position; as a result, they both registered their lowest grades of the season.

The Search for a Quarterback

Being an analytics-based blog we try to not over react to the results of any one game and, while Miami is very much in the thick of the playoff race, the injuries are piling up at an insurmountable rate.

Surviving the Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills injuries appears, on the surface, like an untenable accomplishment for an offense that is already full of warts.

With that in mind, we know this Dolphins team’s ceiling is likely the wildcard round, maybe the divisional round.

For the first time in six years, Miami will enter the off-season with an obvious need at the quarterback position. One of my greatest joys, my greatest hobbies, is scouting quarterbacks and projecting them to the next level. I’ve got plenty of hits and plenty of misses under my belt (Jared Goff a woeful miss and Patrick Mahomes a grand slam).

My aim is to educate the fan base on the things we should look for mechanically, from a decision making standpoint, and how their traits will translate over to offense Miami will be running – be it Adam Gase’s scheme or someone else.

Let’s do a one-liner on some of the top QB’s that figure to become available this coming spring.

Veterans:

Derek Carr – Oakland could trade or even cut their previously crowned franchise passer. Carr would fit Gase’s scheme to a T, but there’s a reason he might become available.

Teddy Bridgewater – The Miami native showed tremendous progress this exhibition season; can he do it when the live bullets begin in 2019?

Alex Smith – Smith’s future may be tied to Jay Gruden. A year without playoffs likely means both are looking for new jobs and Smith would be a quintessential bridge to a young quarterback.

Draft:

Justin Herbert – Big arm, athletic, struggles to get through progressions.

Dwayne Haskins – Natural passer with high football intelligence, issues with pressure passing.

Will Grier – Smooth in everything he does. Tremendous touch and timing with consistent accuracy, but hasn’t shown an ability to manipulate zone defenses.

Drew Lock – Size, arm and athleticisms are all there with all the requisite throws available on tape. Like Tannehill, struggles with the mental processing aspect of the position.

Brett Rypien – Quick release and tight-window accuracy. Pressure can consume him and force him into the costly turnover when he turns to hero-ball.

Tyree Jackson – This year’s Josh Allen from a specimen standpoint, Jackson is a monster. 6-7, 245 points and an arm that can threaten the entire 100×53. Needs to be cleaned up mechanically.

There are more names that will emerge over the next few months, but these are currently the top targets according to The Draft Network.

We’ll be covering the quarterback position in college a lot more going forward as a change appears imminent for Miami.

@WingfieldNFL

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NFL Draft

Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham

Shawn Digity

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USA Today
A shot of Jarrett Stidham during the Senior Bowl in January. Image courtesy of USA Today

Which 2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks fit for the Miami Dolphins, which ones could start, and which ones aren’t on the table?

Let’s dive into the first installment of Fits and Starts with Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.

2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks and Fits and Starts intro

I hope you’re enjoying all the Kyler Murray talk; it’s not going anywhere for the next two months. So, with all the hype surrounding the Heisman winner and his decision to play in the NFL over the MLB, it makes sense that Murray shot up the draft boards in rapid fashion.

Murray has been connected with the Miami Dolphins, and it makes sense. The Dolphins need a quarterback to lead the franchise into the future, especially with the start of the Brian Flores era.

But what happens if the Dolphins can’t get Kyler Murrayin the 2019 Draft? Let’s take that a step further. What if the Dolphins don’t get any of the QBs that are pegged to go in the first round? Dwayne HaskinsDrew LockDaniel Jones, along with Murray, are all in the conversation to go off the board in the first round.

The 2019 QB class hasn’t exactly been lauded for its talent, but that doesn’t mean its totally devoid of untapped potential on Days 2 and 3. There are some diamonds in the rough and some could be on the Dolphins’ radar come April. The Fits and Starts mini-series will be focusing on these overshadowed mid-round prospects and who could fit into a role with the Miami Dolphins.

Let’s get into the first name on the list: Jarrett Stidham.

Jarrett Stidham and his NFL Future

The first quarterback on the docket is Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. He’s an enigmatic player. He was in the conversation last draft season (before he returned to Auburn) to go in the second round. He was also talked about as a dark-horse Heisman candidate before the college season started.

His junior season didn’t go exactly as scripted, though. Jarrett Stidham had an up-and-down season, and his draft stock has been all over the place, consequently. He’s polarizing in the Twitter Draft realm with many draftniks either loving or hating him. I predict that he’ll go in the third round, but I could see the need for the position pushing him into the second round.

In a lot of ways, I would compare Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Tannehill. With that being said, he’s a poor man’s Tannehill. He’s not as athletic and I wouldn’t put his arm strength or accuracy on the same level, but there are comparisons that can be drawn.

Jarrett Stidham Mini-Report

He has some starter qualities, and he’s very raw in that regard. He also did not get a lot of help from his receivers during the 2018 season. I saw a lot of dropped passes that should’ve been “gimmes”. Jarrett Stidham has a moderately high ceiling, I would say. He’s extremely rough around the edges, but I can see him becoming successful in the NFL; it’ll come with many growing pains, albeit.

He also has some accuracy issues from a lot of the film I’ve watched of him. He’ll make some unbelievable down-the-field bombs, but also make some passes that are too high, too inside or too outside. Many passes were underthrown and I saw plays where WRs had to turn and play some defense. The accuracy is a roller coaster, and that’s something that is hard to improve at the next level; accuracy is more a God-given ability than it is a teachable skill.

Something else that I wasn’t wild about was how Stidham reacted to chaos and pressure. When the line collapsed, I saw some ugly escapes. Those ugly escapes will be ugly sacks in the NFL. I saw flashes of decent pocket presence, but like many of Stidham’s qualities, they were inconsistent.

That’s one of the best words I would use to describe Jarrett Stidham: inconsistent. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s bad. Sometimes he’ll thread the needle for a 40-yard touchdown, sometimes he’ll undercut a route. But if the inconsistency is his biggest issue, which I believe it is, then I’m intrigued by his prospects at the next level with some next-level coaching.

At the End of the Day

So, if the Dolphins drafted Jarrett Stidham, it’d likely be on Day 2 and in the second round with the 48th pick. While the Dolphins are rebuilding, I could see them using a popular draft philosophy of taking a quarterback every year until one hits. If that’s the case, then Stidham could very well be a target if the Dolphins decide to address a bigger need or BPA with the 13th pick.

This could be a way for the Dolphins to hedge their bets while keeping an eye on the 2020 quarterbacks. Akin to the Redskins taking both RGIII and Kirk Cousins in the same draft in 2012, the Dolphins could take a flier on a mid-round quarterback and see what he could do in some games under the guidance of a veteran.

While I wouldn’t be upset by the pick, the Miami Dolphins would be wise to stay away from Jarrett Stidham, bottom line. I say that not because of Stidham’s shortcomings or upside but because of where the Miami Dolphins franchise finds itself.

If Jarrett Stidham goes out and has a decent showing in some live action during his rookie season, then that could affect the draft strategy regarding the 2020 class of quarterbacks.

I don’t want the Dolphins to keep waiting and waiting for someone to slowly develop as they did with Ryan Tannehill. Stidham is in a similar mold, looking at his tools and raw potential. I’m not sure how long it would take for Stidham develop, but I could see it turning into a situation where he takes a few steps forward every season.

Jarrett Stidham could be a quarterback that Chris Grier likes, but I would have a hard time believing that he’s a prospect that he would love–and that’s not what the Miami Dolphins need to right the ship.

 

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Miami Dolphins

State of the Roster – Linebackers

Travis Wingfield

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Prelude

The 2019 off-season schedule had an unusual beginning for the Miami Dolphins. Not that the once proud, winningest organization in the NFL is suddenly new to coaching turnover (quite the opposite, rather). It’s the timing of the hire that provides the distinction from Stephen Ross’ three other head coaching appointments.

Typically, when the incumbent or new staff is in-place by Early-January, the roster dominoes begin to take shape. Waiting for Brian Flores to win his fifth Lombardi Trophy delayed that process by a month.

Now, with the majority of Coach Flores’ staff settling into their new offices, we can begin to speculate and forecast what will transpire over the next three months.

It’s not hyperbole to say that these next three months are the most important of Chris Grier’s professional career. Miami’s new General Manager is charged with resurrecting a franchise that, in the last 15 years, has fallen from the peak of the winning percentage mountain top, all the way down to fifth place on that obscure, yet illustrious list.

In this series we are going to explore the current assets on the roster and what their futures hold. Plus, we’ll explore the free-agency market and point out scheme fit pieces the Dolphins might seek to add in April’s draft.

Linebackers 

Current Cash Owed: ~ $10.1 Million
NFL Average: ~ $18 Million

Players Under Contract – 2019 Cash Owed:

Raekwon McMillan – $892 K

After a slow start McMillan came on like gangbusters; at least in run-defense. From week-five on, McMillan was graded second by PFF against the run (trailing only Luke Kuechly). His first year off major reconstructive knee surgery, the upside is glowing.

McMillan has a knack for correctly hitting his run fits, shows a great first step, and plays exceptionally well downhill. The design of this new defense is going to have the former Buckeye shining.

McMillan’s Projected 2019 Action: Mike Linebacker

Jerome Baker – $654 K

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like McMillan, Baker was late to the party in 2018, but he too turned it on post-September. Baker was PFF’s #22 overall linebacker over the final 13 weeks of the season. Though Baker also excelled against the run, he was more balanced providing value in coverage and as a blitzer. His PRP was similarly low to McMillan’s, but when Baker arrive he sacked the QB (3 of 5 pressures).

Baker is the new-aged linebacker – run, hit, and cover; that’s his game. He will have to transition to a new role playing primarily on the ball and off the edge, likely the weak side, but he’s more than capable.

Baker’s Projected 2019 Action: Will Backer

Kiko Alonso – $7.9 M

Kiko Alonso is a living, breathing highlight reel. The problem, for Miami, is that he’s usually on someone else’s mixtape. Alonso does well when he I.D.’s his gap early, but those instances are few and far between. He hustles to the ball and has a knack for the takeaway, it’s just the other 995 snaps of the season you worry about.

Turned around by the athletic prowess of Josh Allen, Christian McCaffery, or just about every pass receiving specialist tailback, Alonso is fading towards irrelevance at the position. Moving on from the often burnt, often penalized Alonso, is a no-brainer.

Alonso’s Projected 2019 Action: Cut

Chase Allen – $645 K

New England’s Linebacker position, under Brian Flores, was the ultimate test of pliability. Chase Allen has a role lining up over the center as the nose-backer in one of Flores’ many defensive fronts.

Allen excelled in that role in Miami, albeit on a limited basis, and figures to be a core special teamer.

Allen’s Projected 2019 Action: Nose Backer/Core Special Teamer

Pending Free Agents – 2018 Salary

Stephone Anthony – $1.9 M

The ole’ Mike Tannenbaum specialty, Miami spent a fifth-round pick, and far too much cap allocation, on a player that never made a contribution. Anthony was toast in his limited defensive snaps and rarely found the ball on special teams.

Anthony’s Projected 2019 Action: Not Re-signed

2019 Linebacker Free Agent Market:

The Dolphins could spend this portion of the off-season on the sideline. The likely top three players on the depth chart are already signed, sealed, and delivered, finding backups and special teams is all that’s left to do.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Now if the ‘Phins are so inclined to spend on the big ticket item, Anthony Barr would make nice strong-side linebacker in this new scheme. His coverage limitations should drive his cost down, but that’s not how free agency works – he’ll be priced out of Miami’s range.

Deone Bucannon is an interesting option that could help Miami remain fluid as they implement dime and quarter packages on the back-end. A safety/linebacker hybrid, Bucannon affords the defense the luxury of changing personnel without substituting. Bucannon is an excellent match-up piece in the passing game as well. Like Barr, Bucannon would come at a cost.

More realistically, Miami are looking at former Patriot Marquis Flowers and Eli Harold (Detroit).

2019 Linebacker Draft Class:

It’s not inconceivable that the Dolphins make this position a priority with the undrafted crop post-draft. The same idea with Jerome Baker, the ‘Phins need to find players that can run, hit, and cover but, most importantly, start off on special teams.

New Mexico State’s Terrill Hanks had 11 sacks and eight picks in college. His vast coverage and range skill set should be no surprise, he’s a former safety. Hanks struggles taking on blocks but that’s not a trait he will have to worry about in this scheme.

Bobby Okereke (Stanford) fits the run/hit/cover bill in his own right. North Carolina State’s Germaine Pratt falls into that category as well.

2019 Linebacker Prediction:

There are plenty of intriguing options at the positon but, with the needs on the defensive line and in the secondary, Miami could punt on this off-season’s linebacker class. In a defense that frequently uses one true ‘backer, Raekwon McMillan satisfies that bill. Jerome Baker will be the second linebacker and the Phins will look to pair Chase Allen with more sub-package types.

I’m adding Marquis Flowers in free agency – he was with the Pats for the first four years of his career. I’m also drafting Stanford’s Bobby Okereke on day-three. He’s an intelligent player with plus range and will help Miami’s flexibility in sub-packages.

Mike/Primary Linebacker: Raekwon McMillan
Will/Secondary Linebacker: Jerome Baker
Nose Backer: Chase Allen
Sub-Package: Rookie (Bobby Okereke)
Depth: UDFA/FA (Marquis Flowers)

Tomorrow: Cornerbacks

@WingfieldNFL

 

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Miami Dolphins

5 Viable Options for Miami at Pick 13

Gabe Markman

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Mock drafts before April are about as futile as trick-or-treating before Halloween. Sure you might get miraculously lucky at one or two spots, but mostly you’ll just get weird looks from people. That being said, I’ve decided to mock up some scenarios the Dolphins may be presented with come late April.

Despite a flurry of updated scouting reports, trades, and free agent decisions that will ultimately happen before the draft, I couldn’t resist speculating what some of the most enticing options might be waiting there for Miami. I’ll be looking at these options under the assumption that Miami keeps the 13th pick come draft day.

1 – Trade Down

Trading down was something owner Stephen Ross reportedly pounded the table for last year. However, GM Chris Grier and company persuaded him to stay put and take Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick. While Fitzpatrick turned out to be a promising investment, I would expect the war room to try and gather as much draft capital as they can this time around.

The organization, specifically Ross, has put an emphasis on rebuilding the roster from the ground up these next few years, and there’s no better way to do that than by hoarding draft picks.

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number eleven overall pick to the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2 – Blue Chip Falls to 13 (BPA)

Much like the case with Fitzpatrick last year, there’s bound to be a blue chip player that falls out of the top 10 this year. If Miami’s war room decides not to trade back in the first round, it’s likely because they feel that a top talent has fallen into their laps at pick 13–similar to the Laremy Tunsil slide in 2016.

Unfortunately Nick Bosa is out of the question for Miami. I can’t fathom a universe where Bosa would fall to 13. Quinnen Williams would be a no-brainer here, but much like Bosa, its unlikely he’ll fall to pick 13. If he does however, he would fill a major need for Miami as well as add tremendous upside to a lack-luster defensive line.

Three prospects that also have top 10 grades are Greedy Williams, Josh Allen, and Devin White. These three are the physical definition of what you look for in a potential All-Pro football player. With all the shuffling expected to happen to Miami’s roster, these players could be immediate contributors and leaders as soon as they walk onto the field.

3 – Draft QB

I’m a firm believer that Miami needs to be patient with their quarterback situation. Miami isn’t expecting to win many games in the coming year or two, and this isn’t expected to be a great draft class for passers. Now as much as I like Kyler Murray, I can’t help but to think that other quarterbacks like Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence would provide more upside in the long run.

Despite the potential of future quarterbacks to come, this brain-trust of experienced scouts and well respected personnel guys might not let a guy like Murray slip past pick 13. Miami has many needs on paper, and quarterback is right up near the top of those needs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyler be the first step of this rebuild if the war room thinks he’s worth the risk.

October 21, 2017 - Miami Gardens, Florida, U.S. - Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) celebrates a fourth-quarter sack at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Final score: Miami Dolphins 31, New York Jets 28 (Photo by Andres Leiva/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)

October 21, 2017 – Miami Gardens, Florida, U.S. – Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) celebrates a fourth-quarter sack at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Final score: Miami Dolphins 31, New York Jets 28 (Photo by Andres Leiva/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

4 – Attempt to Replace an All-Pro

Sadly enough, there won’t be a younger clone of Cameron Wake waiting there at pick 13. The end of an era is coming, and sooner or later the Dolphins won’t have the consistency off the edge that Wake has been able to provide for so many years.

Brian Burns reminds me of Wake at times, but he also reminds me of Dion Jordan at times. The general opinion is that Burns could end up being a project player. I have no doubt this coaching staff has the ability to maximize the potential of Burns, but they might not like the value here.

Rashan Gary would be another enticing option were he to fall to Miami. Gary’s flexibility across the defensive line coincides perfectly with Brian Flores‘ multiple defensive scheme. Gary has the potential to be an All-Pro early in his career wherever Folres decides to put him on the defensive line.

5 – Address the O-Line

I’m interested to see what happens with Ju’Wuan James. He’s been a quiet strength for Miami. The combination of him and Tunsil has proven to be a consistent force when healthy. If James is willing to come back for the right price, Miami would be lucky to have one less hole to worry about.

If a deal with James isn’t struck, then offensive linemen will be one of Miami’s top priorities in the draft. They may be tempted to take an early look at offensive lineman depending on how the board falls. I expect the war room to find at least one starting quality offensive lineman within the first three rounds.

Dolphins’ fans are at the beginning of a very long journey. The recent organizational hires have inspired widespread optimism across the fan base. For the first time in a long time the future is looking bright for the Dolphins. Needless to say this draft will be a pivotal start to the Dolphins’ rebuild. The difficult decisions that Grier and his new staff will soon be faced with will reveal the direction in which this franchise is headed.

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