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Top 25 Miami Dolphins For The 2018 Season

Travis Wingfield

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With its Top 100 Players list, the NFL Network strives to accelerate the crawl of the summer months. With the first of four organized team activities portions complete, we are an insufferable 77 days away from the Dolphins’ first pre-season game.

Once the calendar turns to August 9th(when Miami opens its pre-season slate at Hard Rock Stadium against the Buccaneers) it’s a four-week sprint to the off-season finish line. The roster whittled from 90 to 53. The time of year husbands long for and wives loathe.

We won’t know which players will make up the back end of the roster for another three months, but we know who the Dolphins are counting on most.

This list isn’t about looking back, but rather forward. Each season reshapes our perception about the vast majority of professional football players. Taking everything into account: opportunity, scheme, schedule, surrounding cast, this list projects which 25 players will be regarded as the best Miami has to offer come January 2019.

First, the breakdown of the top 25:

 

How They Arrived in Miami How Many Players Via That Route
Drafted 15
Free Agents 6
Trade 4

 

Years in Miami Years of NFL Service
First Year – 7 First Year – 2
Second Year – 7 Second Year – 4
Third Year – 4 Third Year – 4
Fourth Year – 3 Fourth Year – 3
Fifth Year – 1 Fifth Year – 2
Sixth Year – 0 Sixth Year – 1
Seventh Year – 1 Seventh Year – 3
Eighth Year – 0 Eighth Year – 1
Ninth Year – 1 Ninth Year – 1
Tenth Year – 1 Tenth Year – 2
Eleventh Year – 0 Eleventh Year – 2

 

*click on the player’s hyperlinks for their film-study pieces.

25. Dan Kilgore – First year with Miami, traded from San Francisco

Less than a month after signing a three-year extension with the 49ers, Kilgore was sent to Miami for a coffee mug (swap of seventh round draft picks in 2018). Kilgore, the new starting center, is a stable pass protector, reliable veteran and lauded for his work habits. He recently revealed that he has his wife spent a lot of time with Ryan Tanenhill and his wife, Lauren, this off-season.

24. T.J. McDonald – Second year with Miami, free-agent from L.A. Rams

It’s been a peculiar calendar year for McDonald. Signing with Miami following an eight-game suspension, McDonald parlayed a training camp showing into a three-year extension. After playing out the string in 2017, however, McDonald saw the Dolphins draft his eventual replacement in Minkah Fitzpatrick. McDonald figures to see playing time in dime packages and potentially as a pseudo-linebacker.

23. Jordan Phillips – Fourth year with Miami, drafted in the 2nd round

Entering a contract year, Phillips has an opportunity to drastically alter his value on the open-market. Known for flashes of brilliance, followed by lapses in production, Phillips’ inconsistently is something of a microcosm for this Dolphins’ team the last several years. He will start at defensive tackle and Miami needs him to elevate his game in the wake of the Ndamukong Suh departure.

22. Davon Godchaux – Second year with Miami, drafted in the 5th round

Davon Godchaux’s rookie season was one of ascension. Starting camp buried on the depth chart, his impressive pre-season earned him a regular season gig as a starter. Logging over 500 snaps as a rookie, Godchaux’s get-off and low pad-level allow him to anchor against double teams. Godchaux likely slides into a similar role in 2018.

21. Danny Amendola – First year with Miami, free-agent from New England

Earning his stripes early on in OTA’s as a team leader, Amendola’s durability is the only question in his game. When healthy, he’s a dependable option in the short passing game and among the league’s best on third down. Quickly developing rapport with Ryan Tannehill, Amendola could take a substantial bite out of the 161 targets vacated by the Jarvis Landry departure.

20. Mike Gesicki – First year with Miami, drafted in the 2nd round

The famed Y-Iso position in Adam Gase’s offense was built for Mike Gesicki. Lofty expectations for a second round rookie tight end are typically met with disappointment, but the reasons for optimism are apparent. A leaping rebounder with a knack for nuanced route running, Gesicki has earned Rookie of the Year predictions in some circles. He became Miami’s top tight end the moment his name was called on draft night.

19. Jesse Davis – Second year with Miami, originally signed to the practice squad

Dec 17, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jesse Davis (77) at the line of scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Playing position roulette in 2017, Davis has a home in 2018. Struggling at left guard then improving at right tackle, Davis settled in at right guard. He’s built like a house with an impressive short-area burst. Excelling in pass protection and as a play-side pulling guard, Davis offers considerable upside.

18. Robert Quinn – First year with Miami, traded from L.A. Rams

Every conversation about Quinn reverts back to his 2013 season. Five years removed from a historic season in the same wide-9 defense Miami now employs, the hope is that Quinn recaptures that magic as an edge rusher. Quinn will be featured in a rotation of pass rush specialists.

17. Cordrea Tankersley – Second year with Miami, drafted in the 3rd round

Earning high praise from Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton (author of the comprehensive cornerback handbook) Tankersley showed more than anticipated as a rookie. A penchant from excelling both in man and zone, Tankersley has the left corner position on lockdown for 2018 and should get his hands on some footballs.

16. Jakeem Grant – Third year with Miami, drafted in the 6th round

Perhaps the biggest projection on this list, Grant showcased an innate ability for the big play after earning increased playing time. Explosive before and after the catch, Grant is a homerun waiting to happen. He’s a crafty route runner capable of more than catching the deep ball. His standing in this offense remains to be seen, but he should be featured in a number of packages.

15. William Hayes – Second year with Miami, free agent from L.A. Rams

The running game’s collapse was synonymous with William Hayes’ injury. Prior to the ailment that put him on the shelf for nine games, Hayes was a menace as an edge-setter. The 10-year pro is a sound technician. Hayes will factor into obvious running downs on the edge and inside as a nickel pass rusher.

14. Josh Sitton – First year with Miami, free agent from Chicago

Killing two birds with one stone, Sitton offers the Dolphins arguably the best left guard the team has had in a decade plus. His stabilization of Laremy Tunsil on the edge might be his key contribution. Chicago deemed his salary untenable, but he showed few signs of slowing down in 2017.

13. Ja’Wuan James – Fifth year with Miami, drafted in the 1st round

The best year of the right tackle’s career was cut nine games short with an injury in 2017. Exercising James’ fifth-year option, the Dolphins get one more year of service on the former first rounder before decision day arrives. If he can stay healthy and repeat his showing from last year, he’ll earn boo koo bucks in 2019.

12. Albert Wilson – First year with Miami, free agent from Kansas City

Wilson broke one tackle fewer than Jarvis Landry in 2017 – doing so with 99 fewer pass targets. Wilson is a Swiss Army Knife with a propensity for preparation and speed. A smart, speedy slot guy, Wilson offers position flexibility. He is directly in the middle of the crowded wide receiver room and will get his fair share of looks.

11. Xavien Howard – Third year with Miami, drafted in the 2nd round

An impressive late season showing has elevated the value of the former Baylor Bear. Thursday, Howard admitted that he did very little to prepare himself for games in college. But, by doing so at the professional level, he feels he has turned a corner. Playing a physical brand of football, Howard is locked in as the right cornerback.

10. Raekwon McMillan – Second year with Miami, drafted in the 2nd round

May 25, 2017; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan (52) catches a pass during OTAs practice drills at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

His rookie year was over before it began, but Raekwon McMillan has been turning heads in Davie since his arrival. Promptly proclaimed as the “Mike” linebacker, McMillan has taken on a leadership role in the middle of the Dolphins’ defense. Buying in on the hype, McMillan almost landed much higher on this list.

9. Kenyan Drake – Third year with Miami, drafted in the 3rd round

Drake showed the ability to be the top player on this list in 2017, he might have to do even more in 2018. The Dolphins aren’t built to run the ball short of situations where the scheme dictates. Drake, however, is no stranger to creating his own yards. Long runs, yards-after-contact, Drake is the unquestioned number one back. His added value to the passing game could be his most dangerous asset.

8. Laremy Tunsil – Third year with Miami, drafted in the 1st round

Penalties destroyed Tunsil’s grade in his first full year at left tackle. With some of the lightest, smoothest feet ever seen on an offensive lineman, Tunsil can afford to get away with occasional lapses in mechanics. Once he puts it all together he’s going to be an elite left tackle, that could happen in 2018.

7. Charles Harris – Second year with Miami, drafted in the 1st round

In limited opportunities, Harris was effective as a pass rusher in 2017. He can rush from any position on the field and shows a legitimate counter move in the occasions when his initial burst is thwarted. He held up against the run better than expected as a rookie. Seizing a significant role and producing at a high level in year-two is the expectation now.

6. Kenny Stills – Fourth year with Miami, traded from New Orleans

The captain of the wide receiver room, a selfless teammate who is an even better human than football player, Stills exemplifies everything the Dolphins want in a player. All of his routes look the same, he clears up lanes for his teammates and he absolutely punishes defenses in the vertical passing game. He’s the unquestioned number-one receiver in this offense and should see a bump in production with his starting quarterback back in the fold.

5. Bobby McCain – Fourth year with Miami, drafted in the 5th round

McCain broke out in 2017. With a pair of picks and impressive coverage metrics in the slot, the former Memphis Tiger set himself up for a crucial contract year. The hope is that McCain doesn’t make it to week one without a new contract. He’s a fiery nickel that is willing to play the run and challenge at the catch point.

4. Minkah Fitzpatrick – First year with Miami, drafted in the 1st round

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) defends against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Spare the rookies-shouldn’t-be-this-high argument – I’ll hear none of it. Fitzpatrick has made the same impression on the Dolphins that he did the Crimson Tide staff at Alabama. Not that it’s a surprise, he spent the entirety of OTA’s hovering around the coaches. He’s going to play every snap, take the football away and fix this team’s third-down-and-long woes.

3. Reshad Jones – Ninth year with Miami, drafted in the 5th round

The only word to describe Jones’ game is baller. Still the undisputed champion of defending the run from strong-side C-gap, Jones is among the league’s best as a ground-game stuffer. He flies to the football, blitzes the edge and excels at baiting quarterbacks. With Fitzpatrick now in the mix, Jones can get back to hanging out in a robber position waiting to convert interceptions into touchdowns.

2. Cameron Wake – Tenth year with Miami, free agent from the CFL

Doubting Cameron Wake is a foolish proposition. The 35-year old pass rusher extraordinaire has shown no signs of slowing. Among the top of the pass rush productivity list annually, Wake may not be long for defending the run, but he excels in one of the game’s key elements. Playing 50% of the defensive reps will keep Wake fresh and disruptive – business as usual.

1. Ryan Tannehill – Seventh year with Miami, drafted in the 1st round

How’s that for a controversial pick? Tannehill has never lacked in the physical traits department – he’s a “made-in-the-lab” version of what a quarterback should look like. With 600+ days of frustration unleashed on the rest of the NFL, Tannehill is about to set the league on fire. The best surrounding cast of his career, the third consecutive year in the same offense for the first time in his career, and a refocused mindset, this is the season that allows all Dolphins fans to stop debating the quarterback position.

Most notably absent form the list are Devante Parker and Kiko Alonso. Parker has gone through ailments each of his first three years as a pro. In an organization who’s theme is work-ethic and dependability, it’s hard to see Parker being long for this roster. As for Alonso, playing injured or not, he simply must be better than he was in 2017.

This is an extremely young team. Some think this roster lacks star power. Some think this team is primed from a six-win season. With so many moving parts, just about any record is feasible. With better injury luck and the immediate inclusion of new pieces, this team can compete into January.

We’ll have the answers to those questions in a few short months.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties

Travis Wingfield

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Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Offensive Line
Defensive Interior
Defensive Edge
Linebackers
Cornerbacks
Safeties
Specialists – 7/24

Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)

Prologue:

For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.

That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.

Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.

Safeties

Overview:

Cross-training promises to serve as the buzz phrase of this rendition of Dolphins camp. No position offers more dual functionality than safety, especially in a defense undergoing sweeping schematic changes.

In the past, the safety spots have been directionally based, opposed to the traditional strong and free distinctions. This round-peg-in-a-square-hole philosophy led to frustration; so much so that Miami’s longest-tenured defensive player pulled himself from a game last November.

Now, these safeties will have specific roles designated to suit their respective strengths. The universal trait of the group will be the ability to come down and cover the slot, tight ends, and running backs.

Tony Oden is one of two holdovers from the previous staff. Oden has been coaching defensive backs since 1996, including a GA stop at Brian Flores’ alma mater Boston College.

Reshad Jones – 9 years of service (10th in MIA)
Jersey: 20
College: Georgia
Opening Day Age: 31.5
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $35M total, $13M guaranteed

Jones’ Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

Jones’ absence was the story of voluntary organized team activities. Amidst rampant trade rumors, Jones was present for mandatory work and an understanding has, apparently, been achieved between he and Coach Flores.

Jones is still a punishing hitter that excels defending both the strong and weak-side C-gaps on the defense. This scheme will put him back in a familiar situation playing in close to the line-of-scrimmage and sending him on a variety of run and pass blitzes. Jones played single-high, 20 yards off the ball, far too often last season.

Declining coverage ability, the occasional poor angle, and considerable medical concerns all add up to an uncertain future for Jones in Miami. The age and contract aren’t doing Jones’ long-term prospects any favors either.

2019 Projected Role: Strong Safety, 100% snap-taker

Bobby McCain – 4 years of service (5th in MIA)
Jersey: 28
College: Memphis
Opening Day Age: 26.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $22M total, $9M guaranteed

McCain’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

After a stellar 2017 season, injuries and position changes led to a down year for McCain. Among the game’s best slot corners two years ago, McCain was rewarded with a new contract, but he was outplayed in the slot by 2018 rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, the two could be interchangeable working in slot coverage and as a single-high safety (as well as two-deep looks).

This scheme utilizes three safeties the majority of the defense’s snaps. McCain could serve as the middle of the field man in those three-safety packages, and come down in two-slot looks for man-coverage responsibilities.

McCain is a terrific leader, astute tackler, and an occasionally effective blitzer.

2019 Projected Role: Free Safety, Slot Corner 85% snap-taker

T.J. McDonald – 6 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 22
College: USC
Opening Day Age: 28.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $17M total, $3.6M guaranteed

With one more year of guaranteed salary, McDonald needs to successfully transition into a new role to have a future in Miami. Inexplicably taking the job previously manned by Reshad Jones, McDonald’s inclusion into the defense wasn’t a positive one.

No longer among the top four, or even five, defensive backs on the roster, McDonald will come onto the field in sub-packages. He’s effective working downhill and should provide Miami’s dime package with a quality tackler and sound cover-man in the underneath shell.

2019 Projected Role: Third Safety, Dime Linebacker (Dollar) 60% snap-taker

Maurice Smith – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 26
College: Georgia
Opening Day Age: 24.3
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed

It’s difficult to assess Smith’s value the last couple of years. He rarely made it onto the field, but that could just be another indictment of incompetent coaching. At his best, Smith plays the robber role, dislodges footballs, and steps in front of intermediate passes.

With 10 players acquired in the secondary since Smith arrived in Miami, he has an uphill battle to fend off the newcomers for a job.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

2019 Dolphins Safeties at a Glance:

The decision to forego any acquisitions at safety this offseason was surprising. The most important position in the defense, Miami comes up a couple of bodies short unless McCain’s conversion is a success. He’s a bit undersized for the position, but he offers the instincts, tackling, and ball skills to provide some promise.

Jones’ role, and subsequent impact on the defense, is one of the more intriguing storylines of the year for the Dolphins.

With a lot of questions and fewer solutions, this group could be in for more changes next offseason.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon

Shawn Digity

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Tyler Patmon Miami Dolphins USA Today Sports
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins have filled out the final roster spot by signing a familiar face: Tyler Patmon

After a Sunday night visit on July 21st, the Dolphins have officially signed cornerback Tyler Patmon. The corner was with the team during the 2015 season but failed to leave his mark during his first stint with the team.

Tyler Patmon has, however, managed to keep his career chugging along with time spent in Dallas in 2014 and 2015 and Jacksonville in 2017 and 2018.

The news was broken on Twitter by the official DEC Management account, who represents Patmon.

The team makes reference to Patmon’s first attempt with the team, but this time should be a better fit for Patmon considering the team’s roster makeup. With a few more years of experience under his belt, Patmon stands a better chance of getting a foothold and making an impact.

Tyler Patmon is also a special signing because of his being the 91st player under contract. The Dolphins have found some value in signing a player internationally, which has allowed them the ability to sign Patmon as a bonus player.

I can’t say for certain if Patmon will ultimately end up on the final 53-man roster. My initial inclination is that it’ll be an uphill battle, but stranger things have happened. He might be able to step in and make some waves with the experience he has over some of the younger defensive backs.

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Miami Dolphins

Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s)

Chris Kowalewski

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True. The final chapter of the Dolphins’ current decade has not yet been written.

At the dawn of the 2019 training camp, the stars of Miami’s 2019 Super Bowl Champion team have not yet emerged and had their names stamped into the NFL history books.

But going by on the widely-held assumption that the Miami Dolphins figure to be at the very bottom of the league in 2019, we’ll draw a line under the decade of the 2010’s as the Dolphins begin their ‘hard’ reboot to bring the franchise back to glory.

In this third part of our Remember The Dolphins series, we’ll trudge up some painful recent memories by taking a look back at the years 2010-2018 and try to pick out those individuals who perhaps deserve some more recognition for the part they played despite the team’s overall lack of success.

For the Miami Dolphins, the 2010’s was a decade filled with unfortunate drama. The Jonathan Martin bullying fiasco; Richie Incognito; the resulting ever-changing revolving doors which built the offensive line; Mike Pouncey’s “Free Hernandez” hat; Dion Jordan; overpaid Free Agents; terrible draft picks; Chris Foerster bringing his out-of-office habits into the team facility; Brent Grime’s wife; a queezy, litter-picking coach; Vontae Davis’ grandma; the “Go” and Go, Go” offense; Matt Burke’s incomprehensible defensive scheme; and last but by no means least, Adam Gase. 

It was not exactly a fun-packed decade for fans.

From one year to the next, the 2010’s barraged the Dolphins with national embarrassment off the field and an on-field product which no one could quite figure out.

The 2010’s undoubtedly will be most remembered, for better or worse (depending on which side you sit) for the Ryan Tannehill years. 

Landing in the NFL as a franchise’s heralded saviour is generally tough enough. But landing in a city already drowning in football mediocrity, with a fanbase tired of the lacklustre QB carousel and desperately thirsty for a leading passer under the scorching South Florida sunshine was inevitably going to be a recipe for division among fans. 

Add in the ever-present shadow of Dan Marino and the unforeseen successes of other young QBs around the league and anything less than spectacular would be deemed a failure.

And that is the past decade of Dolphins in a nutshell… 

Unspectacular. 

Inconsistent.

Divided.

Cameron Wake was nothing short of awesome as the team’s premier defensive player and remains a living legend, seemingly ready to finish his career in Tennessee. It’s scary to think that Wake spent 10 years with the Dolphins (2009-2018) in which he started 126/146 games, accumulated 98.0 sacks, 358 combined tackles, 97 tackles for loss and 213 QB hits. As Dolfans, we have just witnessed the end of the most successful Dolphins tale of the decade. But that alone was not enough to gain the team anything more than one playoff game.

Save for a handful of highlight performances in 2016 to drag Miami to the playoffs, including Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200 yard games and Andrew Franks’ overtime field goal over the Bills on Christmas Eve, the Dolphins continued their desperate struggle for success for another decade.

2010 started badly for Head Coach Tony Sparano, then entering his 3rd year. Chad Henne (301 of 490) threw for 3301 yards, 15 TDs and 19 INTs. The Dolphins had broken the bank to bring in WR, Brandon Marshall to help in Henne’s development and aid a struggling offense. Although Marshall hauled in 1014 yards, a lowly 3 TDs was the ultimate result. The Dolphins found themselves sitting at 30th in the league in points scored and achieved a 7-9 record.

Things didn’t exactly improve quickly, if at all.

2011 saw the firing of Coach Sparano who was temporarily replaced by defensive co-ordinator, Todd Bowles after a 4-9 start to finish 6-10.

2012 saw the arrival of Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill which produced a now-familiar 7-9 record. The QB/HC relationship lasted 3.5 years and left everyone a “little queezy”.

The Dolphins scraped .500 records in 2013 and 2014 before falling to 6-10 in 2015 under the final year of Philbin’s reign. 

Nothing of note had begun to shine out from the shadows of mediocrity and the patience of Miami fans was beyond tested. 

Enter, Adam Gase.

The Peyton-Manning-endorsed offensive ‘genius’ arrived in 2016 taking the Dolphins to the playoffs despite a season-ending knee injury to the starting QB. And whilst the victories of 2016 weren’t repeated, the rare taste of playoffs had bought Gase enough stature that even the team’s brightest stars weren’t safe from his methods and relationships continued to sour to the point of breaking and eventual trade.

Jarvis Landry had stolen headlines with some highlight-reel catches and was unanimously adored by the Dolphins fanbase. Jay Ajayi had bulldozed his way into the history books before his relationship with the head coach turned to ash. Both players were quickly gone, uncerimoniously – their departures embodying the Dolphins’ constant inability of retaining success.

A number of players publicly spoke out against Adam Gase, as prime examples of what the Dolphins had become at their core – divided, unstable and without direction.

But looking back over the dysfunction of the 2010’s, let’s try to pick a handful of names out of the rubble who (outside of the Miami Miracle) deserve to be looked at in a brighter, warmer light and be remembered despite the team’s on-field and off-field failures.

Reggie Bush

Position: Running Back

The Saints’ 2nd overall pick of the 2006 draft found his way to Miami in his 6th year, following a trade with the Saints in July 2011. That season, he provided a spark of electricity to Miami’s offense and rushed for 1000+ yards for the first time in his career and scored 6 rushing TDs with an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Bush remained with the Dolphins for 2 years (2011-2012) and despite having been labelled as injury prone during his time in New Orleans, managed to be a dependable on-field presence, rushing for 2072 yards and 12 TDs as a Dolphin, whilst hauling in a further 588 receiving yards and 3 TDs. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of The Week in 2011 following a 203 yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15.

Lamar Miller

Position: Running Back

The homegrown running back was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of the University of Miami, sharing his rookie year with Reggie Bush. By his second season, Miller had adopted the starting role, but it wasn’t until 2014 when he really began to find his feet out of the Dolphins’ backfield. Miller’s totals of 1099 rushing yards and 8 TDs in 2014 remain his career highs, with a highlight 97 yard TD run against the Jets on 28 December 2014. Over the course of his 4 years in Miami, Miller started 48/61 games and rushed for 2930 yards and 19 TDs whilst catching 117 passes for 887 yards and a further 3 scores, before signing a 4-year $26m deal with the Houston Texans in March 2016. 

Karlos Dansby

Position: Linebacker

Karlos Dansby came to Miami in 2010 after 6 years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals. His final 2 years in Arizona saw him tally 228 combined tackles including 17 for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles. He was therefore a big-name target for the Dolphins in 2010 to help solidify the linebacker group under Tony Sparano. Dansby joined the Dolphins on a 5-year, $43m contract which (at the time) was the highest paid contract for an ILB in NFL history. In his 3 years at Miami, Dansby started 45/46 games and racked up 332 combined tackles, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles and 6 sacks. 

Paul Soliai

Position: Defensive Tackle

An absolute man-mountain, Paul Soliai was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He became a staple on Miami’s defensive line and spent 7 years in Miami (2007-2013), working his way to a full-time starting spot in 2010. Soliai started 62 of 99 games in his Dolphins career and had a knack for swatting down passes with 12 deflections. A huge body in the middle of the Dolphins defense, Soliai was predominantly a space-eater but also racked up 117 solo tackles (160 combined) including 25 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. He signed with the Falcons in March 2014 and the Panthers in March 2016 before signed a one-day contract to retire as a Miami Dolphin on 19 April 2018.

Brian Hartline

Position: Wide Receiver

A productive fourth round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, Hartline spent 6 years in Miami (2009-2014). Hartline’s best years came in 2012/2013 following the arrival of Ryan Tannehill and he developed into something of a trusted safety blanket for the young QB and set a Dolphins franchise record for receiving yards (253) in Week 4 of 2012 against the Cardinals. With over 130 targets in each of those years, Hartline caught 150 passes for 2099 yards, but only 5 TDs which is an indication of the team’s lack of productivity in the red zone. Injured early in his career, Hartline started 69 of 92 games in Miami hauling in 4243 yards and 12 TDs with a catch rate of 57.1% and 8.1 yards per target. In the final game of 2014, Hartline suffered a PCL injury which ended his tenure at the Dolphins and a quick year in Cleveland saw the end of Hartline’s NFL career and he is now WR coach at Ohio State.

Davone Bess

Position: Wide Receiver

Similar to Hartline (and more recently Jarvis Landry) Davone Bess spent his first NFL years with the Dolphins before being signed by the Cleveland Browns. Arriving with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Hawaii, Bess quickly exceeded expectations. He was primarily positioned at slot receiver until injury forced Greg Camarillo off the field. Bess finished his rookie year positioned 3rd amongst rookie WRs in receptions. During his time as a Dolphin, Bess hauled in 12 TDs and had dependable hands (63.8% catch ratio) with a 6.9 yards-per-target average and he amassed a total of 3447 yards receiving. Bess was traded to the Cleveland Browns in April 2013 before troubling issues saw him placed on the non-football illness list in December 2013 prior to a series of arrests.

Kevin Burnett

Position: Linebacker

After 4 years in Dallas and 2 years in San Diego, Kevin Burnett signed as a Miami Dolphin in July 2011. He started all 32 games at linebacker during his 2 years with Miami (2011-2012) and stole 1 Pick-6, had 5 sacks with 216 combined tackles and 15 TFLs. Although always the truest of professionals, the productive and dependable player was released following the mistake-riddled free agent signings of Darnell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler in March 2013.

Jared Odrick

Position: Defensive End

I liked Jared Odrick. Generally considered a surprising first round pick (28th overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, he unfortunately suffered a foot injury in October 2010 cutting short his rookie season. Returning with a strong 2011 season, he registered 6 sacks and and an INT as a backup DE and didn’t take himself too seriously, evidence by his very odd Pee Wee Herman sack dance. Odrick spent 5 years in Miami (2010-2014) but suffered with injuries and started only 41 of 65 games. Alongside his INT, Odrick swatted down 11 passes and caused 3 forced fumbles, had 16.5 sacks and 129 combined tackles including 30 for a loss and 47 QB hits. Following his Dolphins career, Odrick spent 2 years in Jacksonville before his retirement after being placed on IR in December 2016.

Nolan Carroll

Position: Cornerback

A fifth round pick (145th overall) by the Dolphins in the 2010, Carroll was seen as a promising rookie and played a considerable amount on special teams. Fans will recall that during a kickoff return on 13 December 2010, Carroll was tripped over on the sidelines by the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi. Carroll was promoted to a starting role in 2012 and over the course of his 4 years in Miami he started 26 of 58 games, grabbed 5 INTs with 23 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 3 sacks. He racked up 123 combined tackles before signing a 2-year $5m contract with the Eagles in March 2014. 

And there we have it.

At the dawn of the 2019 season, with the imminent start of training camp, the Dolphins now have an opportunity to write the decade’s final chapter.

Under the leadership of Head Coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins seek to change the story of their long-term mediocrity. With a young group of talented players ripe for development, we can only hope that many of them will seek to etch their names into the future of Dolphins’ history from 2020 and beyond.

Fins Up.

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