Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Season Preview

Quarterback

The Dolphins went 6-10 last season and were even worse than their record suggested. They went 5-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Their 6 wins came by a combined 47 points, while their 10 losses came by a combined 159 points, giving them a point differential of -112, 29th in the NFL. In terms of first down rate differential, they also ranked 29th at -4.94% and they finished in the bottom-10 in both first down rate and first down rate allowed.

The good news is that they get starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back from injury after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. When Tannehill went down in August, the Dolphins convinced Jay Cutler to unretire and rejoin his former offensive coordinator Adam Gase, now head coach of the Dolphins. Cutler was not the stopgap they were hoping he’d be though, as he struggled to get in a groove with his new teammates and also looked physically tired after spending most of the off-season retired.

He completed 62.0% of his passes for an average of 6.21 YPA, 19 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions and finished as Pro Football Focus’ 38th ranked quarterback out of 40 eligible, only ahead of Trevor Siemian and DeShone Kizer. Backup Matt Moore also threw 127 passes, as Cutler dealt with injuries, and he was not an upgrade. Moore completed 61.4% for an average of 6.78 YPA, 4 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Neither are with the team anymore, as Cutler again retired this off-season (probably for good this time) and Moore remains unsigned as a free agent.

Tannehill actually has been out since December of 2016, as knee problems caused him the miss the final 3 games of the 2016 season as well. Prior to the injury, Tannehill was a solid starting quarterback, as the 2012 8th overall pick earned positive grades from PFF in each of his first 5 healthy seasons in the league. His numbers look unspectacular, as he’s completed 62.7% of his passes for an average of 7.00 YPA, 106 touchdowns, and 66 interceptions, but that’s largely because of issues with his supporting cast, especially on the offensive line. He’s already going into his age 30 season and his health is a question mark, but he could easily continue being a capable starter going forward.

Given the uncertainty with Tannehill, the Dolphins were expected to add another potential starting option this off-season, but instead they only added tried and failed starters Brock Osweiler and Bryce Petty, who will compete for the backup job. Osweiler is probably the better of the two, but the Dolphins would be in trouble if Tannehill gets hurt again, regardless of who wins the backup job. They’ll need him to stay healthy if they’re going to have any shot of being respectable in 2018.

Grade: B-

Receiving Corps

Tannehill’s health is so important to this team because they have major problems around the quarterback. As bad as they were last season, they still entered this off-season with one of the worst cap situations in the NFL and, as a result, had to shed talent to get under the cap and had to let key free agents walk. One key player they lost was top receiver Jarvis Landry, who was in the final year of his rookie deal in 2017.

A 2nd round pick in 2014, Landry has been arguably the best slot receiver in the league over the past 4 seasons and has led the Dolphins in catches in each of those 4 seasons. He’s earned positive grades from Pro Football Focus in all 4 seasons and was their 28th ranked wide receiver in 2017. The Dolphins franchise tagged Landry even though they could not afford to keep him under the cap. When he called their bluff and signed his franchise tender, the Dolphins had to trade him to the Browns for a 4th and 7th round pick. Considering they could have gotten possibly gotten a late 3rd round compensatory pick in 2019 had they just let him walk, the Dolphins basically got nothing in return for him by franchise tagging him.

Despite cap problems, the Dolphins spent a lot of money replacing Landry this off-season. In fact, between Danny Amendola’s 2-year, 12 million dollar deal and Albert Wilson’s 3-year, 24 million dollar deal, they’re going to be paying 26.5 million to two receivers over the next 2 seasons. That’s still less than the 34.05 million Landry will get over the first two years of his new deal with the Browns, but Amendola and Wilson are unlikely to match Landry’s production between the two of them and neither player presents the matchup problems for defenses that Landry did.

Amendola put up big numbers in the post-season with the Patriots, but probably won’t have the same success with Ryan Tannehill that he had with Tom Brady. There’s a reason the Patriots only valued Amendola at about 2 million annually over the past few years, making him take multiple pay cuts to stick on their roster. Amendola is also going into his age 33 season and has only played in all 16 games twice in 9 seasons in the league. He also never topped 65 catches, 659 yards, or 4 touchdowns in a season in 5 years in New England. He’s unlikely to top that on a worse passing offense in Miami.

Wilson at least has upside, only going into his age 26 season. Wilson went undrafted in 2014 and finished below average on PFF in each of his first 3 seasons in the league, but he got better every season, earning a positive grade in 2017, and it’s not hard to see why the Dolphins thought he could be a Jarvis Landry lite player in their offense. He only caught 42 passes with the Chiefs last season, but he caught 75% of his targets and broke a whopping 15 tackles, tied for 3rd in the NFL by a wide receiver. He finished 2nd in the NFL with 7.55 yards per catch after the catch and 57.2% of his receiving yards came after the catch. It’s unclear who they were bidding against for his services at 8 million annually or why they felt they needed to add two slot specialists this off-season, but Wilson could be more productive on his second deal than his first. Like Landry, he’s good at catching short passes and making plays in the open field.

Adding two receivers also complicates things in terms of dividing up playing time and targets. The Dolphins still have Devante Parker and Kenny Stills as outside receivers and both figure to see a lot of playing time as well, since neither Wilson (5-9 200) or Amendola (5-11 190) have the size to consistently line up outside. Stills also makes a good amount of money, re-signing with the Dolphins for 32 million over 4 years last off-season, with a whopping 17 million guaranteed in the first two years of the contract.

Stills didn’t have bad numbers in the first year of that deal, putting up a 58/847/6 slash line, but he only caught 57.4% of his 101 targets and led all wide receivers with 4 fumbles and 9 penalties, while showing no effort as a blocker. As a result, he ended the season as PFF’s 2nd worst ranked wide receiver. He’s been up and down throughout his career, but isn’t anything more than a capable deep threat (16.1 yard per catch average in his career). It’s possible the Dolphins release him next off-season after his guaranteed money is all paid out.

Parker is also going into a make or break year. A first round pick in 2015, Parker is going into his 4th year in the league, which means he’s still on the inexpensive part of his rookie deal, but in 2019 he’s scheduled to make around 9.387 million on his 5th year option. That option is only guaranteed for injury though, so the Dolphins can get out of it easily if they want to. Parker has flashed his first round talent and is still only going into his age 25 season, but he’s been inconsistent and he’s had durability issues.

He’s only missed 6 games with injury in 3 seasons in the league, but has dealt with several nagging injuries that have sapped his effectiveness. He’s been about a league average receiver thus far in his career, but the Dolphins are still holding out hope for a breakout year. It’s very possible though that, unless he has that breakout year in 2018, this is his final season in Miami. The Dolphins’ top-4 wide receivers have a combined cap number of 33.47 million for 2019, so something will have to give. It’s highly unlikely they commit that much of their cap to one position, especially since none of their receivers are #1 receiver caliber.

The Dolphins figure to use a lot of 3 and 4 wide receiver sets in 2018, as they have arguably the worst tight end situation in the NFL. Julius Thomas was underwhelming as the starter last season (41/388/3) and releasing him rather than paying him 6.6 million was the obvious move given the Dolphins cap situation, but It’s very possible that two rookie tight ends lead the Dolphins in snaps at the position in 2018, as they used a 2nd round pick on Michael Gesicki, an athletic receiving tight end, and then used a 4th round pick on Durham Smythe, a blocking complement. The other tight ends on their roster are Thomas Duarte (0 career catches), Gavin Escobar (30 career catches), AJ Derby (37), and MarQueis Gray (27). This is an underwhelming receiving corps overall.

Grade: C+

Offensive Line

The Dolphins also released center Mike Pouncey this off-season. Like Julius Thomas, Pouncey was coming off of a bad season and had a large non-guaranteed salary (8 million), but releasing him wasn’t quite as obvious of a decision. Pouncey finished last season as Pro Football Focus’ 34th ranked center out of 38 eligible, but he’d been better in the past, finishing 8th as recently as 2015 and he was still only going into his age 29 season, so he had bounce back potential. On top of that, the Dolphins lacked an obvious replacement and already had one of the weaker offensive lines in the league, but ultimately concerns about the long-term health of Pouncey’s hip led to the Dolphins letting him go.

He’ll be replaced by veteran Daniel Kilgore, who the Dolphins acquired from the 49ers this off-season for a swap of 7th round picks. Kilgore is a backup caliber player who had to make 29 starts over the past 2 seasons on a bad San Francisco offensive line. Last season was the worst season of his career, as he finished 30th among 38 eligible centers on PFF, and now he’s going into his age 31 season. He’ll probably struggle again in 2018, but Pouncey wasn’t good last season either so he’s not really a downgrade.

New left guard Josh Sitton is an obvious upgrade, as the Dolphins had arguably the worst guard situation in the NFL last season. Jesse Davis (8 starts), Jermon Bushrod (10 starts), Ted Larsen (8 starts), and Anthony Steen (6 starts) all saw action and all four of them were terrible. They finished 55th, 63rd, 59th, and 47th respectively among 80 eligible guards on PFF. Sitton, on the other hand, finished last season as PFF’s 6th ranked guard, his 8th straight season finishing in the top-9 at his position. Age is becoming a concern, as he’s going into his age 32 season, and he’s missed 7 games over the past 2 seasons with injury, but he should at the very least be an above average starter for the Dolphins at a position that has been a problem for years.

Unfortunately, the Dolphins did not add another guard this off-season, leaving them with a big hole at right guard. Anthony Steen and Jermon Bushrod are no longer with the team, leaving Jesse Davis and Ted Larsen to compete for the starting right guard job. Davis went undrafted in 2015 and bounced around from the Seahawks to the Jets to the Dolphins before making his first career start week 8 last season, largely out of desperation. He did not prove himself in the slightest. Larsen probably isn’t a better option though. He’s made 73 starts in 8 seasons in the league, but he’s earned a negative grade from PFF in all 8 seasons and is unlikely to get better in his age 31 season in 2018.

With center and right guard likely being positions of weakness, the Dolphins will need good play from their offensive tackles. They could benefit from left tackle Laremy Tunsil taking a big step forward in his 3rd season in the league, which is a strong possibility. Tunsil has shown flashes of why he went 13th overall in 2016 and he’s held up well in pass protection both at left guard as a rookie in 2016 and then at left tackle last season, but he needs to get better as a run blocker and committed 12 penalties last season, 6th most among offensive tackles.

Ja’Wuan James is the Dolphins’ only offensive lineman who received a positive grade from PFF last season, but he went down for the year after 8 games with a groin injury. James is scheduled to make 9.341 million on his 5th year option in 2018 and the Dolphins considered moving on from him this off-season for cap reasons, but fortunately decided not to. Moving on from their best offensive lineman would have been a major mistake.

The 19th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, James struggled mightily as a rookie, but became a league average starter in 2015 and has emerged as an above average starter over the past 2 seasons. He finished the 2016 season as PFF’s 25th ranked offensive tackle and was on his way to a similar season in 2018. Having him healthy for the whole year would be a big boost to this offense. If he stays healthy and Sitton continues to play at a high level and Tunsil takes a step forward, this will be a much improved offensive line, even if they still do have some holes.

Grade: C+

Running Backs

The Dolphins struggled mightily running the ball to start last season. Off of a breakout 2016 season in which he rushed for 1272 yards and 8 touchdowns on 260 carries (4.89 YPC), Jay Ajayi managed just 465 yards and no touchdowns on 138 carries (3.36 YPC) through 7 games in 2017. That was almost entirely the fault of the offensive line though, as he picked up 2.77 of his 3.36 yards per carry after contact and was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked running back in terms of running grade at that point in the season.

Despite that, the Dolphins decided to trade Ajayi to the Eagles for a mere 4th round pick at the trade deadline, in an effort to improve their running game. It actually worked, but only because backup Kenyan Drake proved to be a diamond in the rough. A 3rd round pick in 2016, Drake split carries with Damien Williams for 4 games before the Dolphins committed to him as a feature back for the final 5 games of the season. He rushed for 444 yards and 2 touchdowns on 91 carries (4.88 YPC) in those 5 games and had a 4.84 YPC average on the season, despite horrific blocking.

He led the NFL in yards per carry after contact with 4.29 and broke 29 tackles on 133 carries. On roughly the same amount of carries, Drake had 7 carries of 20+ yards, as opposed to 2 for Ajayi and he was much more useful in the passing game, with 32 catches. Ajayi had just 48 catches in 31 games with the Dolphins. It was only a few games, but Drake was very impressive down the stretch last season and has a lot of upside behind an improved offensive line.

That being said, the Dolphins don’t seem 100% sold on him as a feature back and added a couple other running backs this off-season. Drake isn’t that proven yet, so it’s a good idea for them to have insurance and competition for him, but it begs the question of why they traded Ajayi for a mere 4th round pick in the first place. He and Drake could have worked in tandem. Instead, the Dolphins used that 4th round pick on Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage, who may or may not be able to contribute as a rookie.

Instead, it’ll likely be veteran Frank Gore as the #2 back behind Drake. Going into his age 35 season, Gore can’t keep doing this much longer, but I’ve been saying that for half of a decade. Gore has proven to be ageless so far. He only averaged 3.68 yards per carry last season, but that was because he was on a terrible Indianapolis offense. He had a carry success rate of 44%, which is pretty impressive all things considered, and earned a positive grade from PFF. Perhaps most impressively, Gore hasn’t missed a game in 7 seasons, the only running back in the NFL who can say that. He’s not the same player he was in his prime obviously, but he hasn’t shown any real decline since his late 20s. It’s possible he has another solid season left in the tank, but that’s far from a guarantee. He shouldn’t eat into Drake’s carries too much, as Drake deserves the opportunity to prove himself as a 20+ touch per game back.

Grade: B+

Defensive Line

By far the most impactful cap casualty for the Dolphins this off-season was Ndamukong Suh, one of their very few truly great players. He finished last season as Pro Football Focus’ 7th ranked defensive tackle, but the Dolphins did not want to pay him his scheduled 17 million dollar salary in his age 31 season in 2018 so they let him go. Between Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins lost their best player on both sides of the ball this off-season.

Losing Suh seemed avoidable and will likely prove to be a mistake. The Dolphins did not need to sign both Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. They also did not need to trade for defensive end Robert Quinn, who is owed 11.44 million in 2018. Quinn was likely going to be released by the Rams if they couldn’t trade him, so it’s a bit surprising the Dolphins were willing to surrender a fourth round pick for him, especially since defensive end was not a position of need.

Quinn will compete with Cameron Wake, Charles Harris, Andre Branch, and William Hayes for playing time at defensive end. From 2012-2014, Quinn was one of the better pass rushers in the NFL, totaling 40 sacks and 44 quarterback hits, but he has just 17.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits in the past 3 seasons. Injuries cost him 15 games between 2015 and 2016 and have seemingly sapped his effectiveness.

He played in 15 games last season, but finished 43th out of 46 eligible 3-4 outside linebackers on PFF. He managed 8.5 sacks, but just 6 hits and 23 hurries on 402 pass rush snaps. He also committed 8 penalties and struggled mightily against the run. Going into his age 28 season, Quinn still has some bounceback potential and is a better fit in Miami’s 4-3 than he was in the Rams’ 3-4 defense last season, but he’s highly paid and was not a necessary addition for a cap strapped team.

Cameron Wake is probably still their best pass rusher, although his age is a big concern, in his age 36 season. Wake has totaled 92 sacks and 132 quarterback hits in 9 seasons in the league, after going undrafted and spending a few seasons in the CFL. Despite his age and an achilles tear that ended his 2015 season after 7 games, Wake does not seem to have slowed down much at all.

He has issues against the run, but finished last season as PFF’s 12th ranked 4-3 defensive end in pure pass rush grade, his 9th straight season in the top-12 at his position in that measure. Outside of the achilles injury, he’s missed just 3 games in his career and he could have another solid season left in the tank, but his age makes him a question mark. With as much depth as the Dolphins have at defensive end, they may scale back his role (610 snaps in 2017) in order to keep him fresh. He should still play the majority of passing down snaps.

Second year defensive end Charles Harris should also play a big role on passing downs. The 22nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Harris struggled against the run as a rookie and only managed 2 sacks, but he added 9 quarterback hits and 23 quarterback hurries on 309 pass rush snaps. Undersized at 6-4 250, Harris may never become a good run stuffer, but he could have solid sack total in a bigger role in 2018.

William Hayes is their best run stuffing defensive end. It looked like he’d be the odd man out when the Dolphins acquired Robert Quinn, but they re-signed Hayes as a free agent just days later, fully guaranteeing him 4 million on a one-year deal. Hayes was limited to just 10 games by a hamstring injury in 2017, but he still finished 14th among 4-3 defensive ends on PFF on 271 snaps. He played more run snaps than pass snaps (140 vs. 131) and finished with the 5th best run stuffing grade at his position, but he also earned a positive pass rush grade and had 1 sack, 4 hits, and 13 hurries on 129 pass rush snaps.

In fact, Hayes has earned positive run stopping and pass rushing grades in each of the past 6 seasons from PFF. He’s only totaled 27.5 sacks in those 6 seasons, but he’s added 36 quarterback hits and was only a part-time player for most of that time, maxing out with 594 snaps in 2018. He was very effective on a per snap basis. He won’t be anything more than a part-time player in 2018 either, but his salary suggests the Dolphins have a role for him. His age is becoming a concern, as he’s going into his age 33 season, but he should prove to be useful once again. Even if he doesn’t, the Rams have enough defensive end depth to compensate.

Andre Branch may end up being the odd man out, after he was their worst defensive end in 2017. A second round pick by the Jaguars in 2012, Branch has earned a negative grade in all 6 seasons in the league. Branch originally arrived in Miami on a one-year deal that paid him 2.75 million in 2016, but the Dolphins inexplicably gave him a 3-year, 24 million dollar deal with 17 million guaranteed the following off-season, after a mediocre 5.5-sack season. Branch followed that season up with an even worse season, but he’s locked into a roster spot because his 8 million dollar salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed. It’s one of many questionable contracts the Dolphins have given out in recent years. With four other more talented defensive ends on the roster, it’s unclear how much he’ll play this season.

While the Dolphins are deep at defensive end, they have major questions at defensive tackle after losing Ndamukong Suh. Suh led this defensive line with 877 snaps last season and no one player will be able to replace him. Young defensive tackles Davon Godchaux, Jordan Phillips, and Vincent Taylor will take on bigger roles, while veteran Akeem Spence will likely also be in the mix after being acquired from the Lions for a conditional 7th round pick.

Godchaux was second on the team in snaps by a defensive tackle with 500 last season, despite being a mere 5th round rookie. He actually did a decent job against the run, but did not record a sack on 234 pass rush snaps and only had 2 hits and 8 hurries. He also had a whopping 12 penalties and finished 67th out of 79 eligible at his position. If he can avoid penalties, he could be a solid base package run stuffer in 2018, but he’s hardly the every down player Suh was.

Phillips has the most upside of any of their defensive tackles. Even though Godchaux played more snaps than him (410 snaps), Phillips actually had more starts (11 vs. 5). A second round pick in 2015, Phillips struggled mightily in his first 2 seasons in the league and continued his poor play through the first 3 games of last season before missing 3 games with an ankle injury. Upon his return, Phillips came off the bench for two games behind Godchaux and, when they plugged him back into the starting lineup week 10, he played by far the best football of his career and showed why he was a high pick in the first place. From week 10 on, he was PFF’s 22nd ranked defensive tackle and he finished the season with the first positive grade of his career. He’s hardly proven, but he has big upside, going into the final year of his rookie deal.

Taylor also flashed upside last season, earning positive grades as a run stuffer and pass rusher last season, despite being a mere 6th round rookie. He only played 185 snaps so he’s still a projection to a larger role, but he’s earned a bigger role in his 2nd season in the league. Spence, on the other hand, has never earned a positive grade from PFF in 5 seasons in the league. Owed 2.925 million non-guaranteed, Spence is not a lock for the final roster and the 7th round pick they surrendered to acquire him is conditional on him making the final roster, but he has a good chance to make the team just because he’d give them much needed veteran leadership at the position. This is a relatively deep defensive line, but they’re much better at defensive end than defensive tackle.

Grade: B-

Linebackers

As I mentioned, the Dolphins have given out a number of questionable contracts in recent years. Two of those contracts were given last off-season to linebackers Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons. Alonso received an extension worth 28.91 million over 4 years, while Timmons received a 2-year, 11 million dollar contract to come over from the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. Alonso and Timmons finished 83rd and 74th respectively among 90 eligible non-rush linebackers on Pro Football Focus in 2017. Fortunately, they were able to let Timmons go this off-season, but Alonso remains on the roster with a guaranteed 7.9 million dollar salary.

Alonso has not been the same since missing the 2014 season with a torn ACL, earning negative grades in 3 straight seasons since then. He’s a decent run stuffer, but struggles mightily in coverage. He could still be an every down player next season, but the Dolphins have some reinforcements arriving at the linebacker position. They used a 2nd round pick on middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL. He’s obviously unproven and coming off of a significant injury, but it wouldn’t be hard for him to be an upgrade over Timmons. He’ll likely be an every down player.

They also used a 3rd round pick in this year’s draft on a linebacker, taking Jerome Baker. He has the ability to be an every down player as well, but will probably be eased into action as a rookie. He’s currently competing with 4th year player Stephone Anthony. A bust of a first round pick by the Saints in 2015, Anthony was traded to the Dolphins for a 5th round pick early in the 2017 season and played 130 mediocre snaps in 8 games. Baker should win that competition. The Dolphins also could use safety TJ McDonald around the line of scrimmage as a linebacker in sub packages more often. The 6-2 223 pounder would be a good fit as a hybrid player. The Dolphins at least have better linebacker options than they did last season.

Grade: C+

Secondary

A big part of the reason why McDonald could play more linebacker in 2018 is because the Dolphins have three starting caliber safeties. Veteran Reshad Jones remains as one of the starters, after making his 2nd Pro Bowl in 2017. Ironically, 2017 was one of Jones’ less impressive seasons. He’s finished in the top-14 at his position on Pro Football Focus in 4 of 8 career seasons, but “only” finished 32nd at his position last season, as he got beat deep for 6 touchdowns. Going into his age 30 season, it’s possible he’s slowing down a little bit, but he should remain a solid starter for at least a couple more seasons.

Despite that, the Dolphins used the 11th overall pick in the draft on Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick can also play slot cornerback, but the Dolphins gave slot cornerback Bobby McCain a 4-year, 27 million dollar extension this off-season, so Fitzpatrick figures to focus exclusively on safety. He may not be an every down player as a rookie, but the Dolphins figure to be in nickel and dime packages a fair amount next season and could use 3 safeties with regularity. McDonald has been about a league average starter over the past 4 seasons (51 starts) and would fit a hybrid role well. He missed 8 games with suspension for an off-the-field issue last season. Having him for a full season should give this secondary a little bit of a boost, as should the addition of Fitzpatrick.

As mentioned, Bobby McCain is locked in the slot cornerback. His contract is another questionable one handed out by the Dolphins. He is now the 2nd highest paid pure slot cornerback in the NFL behind Houston’s Aaron Colvin. A 5th round pick in 2015, McCain developed into a capable slot cornerback, earning his first positive coverage grade in 2017, but hasn’t proven himself worth what the Dolphins are paying him, especially with Fitzpatrick also being able to play slot cornerback.

At 5-9 195, McCain lacks the size to play outside and only played 27 snaps there last season. That leaves Xavien Howard, Cordrea Tankersley, and Tony Lippett to compete for the outside cornerback jobs. Howard is probably locked into one of the starting jobs. He made all 16 starts in 2017 and played well enough to remain in that role in 2018. He allowed just a 52.5% completion percentage and a 66.8 QB rating in his coverage last season, but he also committed 12 penalties and overall only graded out about average on PFF. A 2nd round pick in 2016, Howard played better down the stretch and could have a breakout year in his 3rd season in the league if he can stay healthy.

Tankersley started in all 11 games he played in 2017 and wasn’t bad all things considered. Going into his 2nd year in the league, Tankersley has the tools to develop into a capable starter. He’ll have to compete with Tony Lippett, who returns after missing last season with a torn achilles. A 5th round pick in 2015, Lippett made 13 underwhelming starts in 2016 in the first significant action of his career. He could win the #2 cornerback job with a strong off-season, but Tankersley is a more talented player. Lippett’s return at the very least does give them valuable depth in a secondary that is overall deeper than last season.

Grade: B

Conclusion

The Dolphins are coming off of a terrible season and lost their best offensive and defensive player this off-season. However, there are some areas where they will be better this season. They have an improved offensive line and a promising young running back in Kenyan Drake. They get quarterback Ryan Tannehill back from injury and replaced Jarvis Landry with a Jarvis Landry lite in Albert Wilson. On defense, they have several young players who could have breakout seasons, including cornerback Xavien Howard, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, and defensive end Charles Harris. Overall though, they are an underwhelming team on paper. They should have an easy schedule, so they should win some games, but they’re unlikely to be playoff contenders unless everything goes right. I will have an official prediction later in the off-season.

Final Prediction: On paper, the Dolphins are one of the least talented teams in the league in 2018, though they do benefit from having a terrible division.

Prediction: 4-12 3rd in AFC East

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s