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2018 Team Report: Miami Dolphins

Quarterbacks

Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Backup(s): Brock Osweiler, David Fales, Bryce Petty

Starting QB: How much patience will the Dolphins continue to have for the mostly mediocre Ryan Tannehill? They assured him he would be the starter in 2018 regardless of what they did in the 2018 NFL Draft, though after Josh Rosen went off the board at No. 10, what they did in the draft was stand pat at the position. That doesn't mean they have an overabundance of faith in Tannehill, who has been hurt often over the last two years, with a knee injury which he sustained in 2016 and which kept him out of all of 2017. They brought in Brock Osweiler as well, who had one of his best stints under Adam Gase. Tannehill hasn't improved under Gase the way we expected, but injuries may have something to do with that. He lost Jarvis Landry but gained Frank Gore and a nice rookie tight end. His third year in Gase's offense (despite not playing last season) has to yield some improvements.

Backup QB: Brock Osweiler knows head coach Adam Gase from when they were both in Denver. Things haven't gone well for Osweiler since, as he signed a massive contract in Houston, then imploded there and back in Denver again. Osweiler has a decent arm, but his decision-making and ability to throw under pressure aren't great. He's here because Matt Moore left in free agency and Tannehill has been hurt the last two seasons. David Fales did OK last season in his first and only NFL start, completing 29 of 43 for 265 yards, a touchdown and a pick. He will battle recently added Bryce Petty for the third quarterback spot. Petty has four touchdowns and ten interceptions in seven starts. Petty has shown some ability, but not enough to be more than a backup.

Running Backs

Starter: Kenyan Drake
Backup(s): Frank Gore, Kalen Ballage (R), Senorise Perry, Brandon Radcliff
Fullback(s):

Starting RB: Kenyan Drake added some weight, and is hoping it won't impact his speed and burst while improving his endurance and durablility. Drake took over after Jay Ajayi was traded, and did well. He can run the ball between the tackles and contribute to the passing game and the Dolphins expect him to have a breakout year in 2018, though he could face a lot of stacked boxes if the passing offense struggles again this season.

Backup RBs: Every year we count Frank Gore out and every year he proves us foolish. Even with no Andrew Luck and a shaky Colts offense, he topped 900 yards all three years in Indianapolis. His yards per carry has dipped below 4.0 those three years, but the Miami offense and offensive line might serve him better. He hasn't been as effective in the passing game either, but again it's hard to tell what is age related and what is offense related. A fourth round pick out of Arizona State, rookie Kalen Ballage has had flashes where he looked like he could be an every down back, despite being in a committee. If he wants a shot at a significant number of carries though, he needs to work on his ball security. He's an advanced receiver and will be used early more often in the passing game. Senorise Perry hasn't done much since he ended up in Miami back in 2016, and is likely to end up on special teams if he makes the roster. Brandon Radcliff is a north-south runner who ended up on the practice squad after being an undrafted rookie free agent in Indianapolis and Tennessee.

Fullback:

Wide Receivers

Starters: DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills
Backups: Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Rashawn Scott, Francis Owusu, Isaiah Ford, Malcolm Lewis, Drew Morgan

Starting WRs: With Jarvis Landry in Cleveland, DeVante Parker becomes the main man, though it remains to be seen if he can carry that weight. Every season the chatter becomes how he's going to break out and every season he underwhelms and, most of the time, ends up banged up. Adam Gase has praised him, so he'll have a chance, but after a season with no touchdowns post-Week 3 and with no 100-yard games, color us pessimistic. Not long ago, Kenny Stills was not a lock to be brought back, and now he's outlasted Landry. Primarily a deep threat, Stills has put decent yardage total seasons together, but isn't a high volume receiver. If Ryan Tannehill can stay healthy, maybe that changes this year.

Backup WRs: Jarvis Landry isn't around to run out of the slot, so the team pulled in Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson to fill the role. Amendola may see more time there than Wilson who could also line up outside. Amendola has often been hurt over the course of his career, though, so Wilson will still spend plenty of time there. Leonte Carroo ended up on injured reserve last December, but even when he was healthy, he wasn't on the field much and was vaulted over by Jakeem Grant. Grant wasn't exactly money on the field himself, but there has been some talk about him becoming more involved. Unfortunately, Grant is really short, which limits his effectiveness against the much bigger corners he faces. Rashawn Scott is a solid receiver, but doesn't standout in any way, which is why he has not stuck on an active roster often in the past two years. Francis Owusu has excellent hands, really doesn't have much dimension as a player. Isaiah Ford missed most of last year with a knee injury when he was waived/injured after surgery. Prior to that he had failed to impress in camp. Drew Morgan showed great hands in camp last year but when push came to shove in August he failed to perform. Malcolm Lewis is a practice squad player who will struggle to make the roster.

Tight Ends

Starters: Mike Gesicki (R)
Backups: AJ Derby, Gavin Escobar, MarQuies Gray, Durham Smythe (R), Thomas Duarte

Rookie Mike Gesicki is an athletic, seam stretching tight end who can also be a red zone threat. With Julius Thomas gone, he should step in for an immediate - and big - role in Adam Gase's offense. AJ Derby is more of a receiver than inline tight end, but could find a role in any two tight end sets. Gavin Escobar has struggled to show consistency and has been off and on multiple rosters since leaving Dallas in 2016, and is a longshot to have an impact here. MarQuies Gray is an excellent blocker but won't see much in the way of targets, and he'll have to fight off Notre Dame rookie Durham Smythe who was one of the best skill position blockers in college football last season. Thomas Duarte is a converted wide receiver who was stashed on the practice squad in 2016 and not on any team at all last year.

Place Kicker

Jason Sanders (R), Greg Joseph (R): The Dolphins drafted Jason Sanders out of New Mexico in the seventh round to be the only kicker on their roster heading into OTAs. He wasn't one of the highest-rated kickers in draft rankings, although he made a 53-yard kick into the wind with three second left to beat Tulsa last year. Miami's special teams coaches liked the power in his leg and brought him in for one of their 30 official visits. They also signed Greg Joseph (Florida Atlantic) after the draft, another power leg rookie kicker.

Kick and Punt Returners

Kick Returners: Jakeem Grant, Senorise Perry, Kenyan Drake

The Dolphins are in an enviable position at kickoff returner, bringing back established specialist Jakeem Grant and both of his primary backups from 2017.

Punt Returners: Jakeem Grant

While Jakeem Grant is entrenched as the team's primary punt returner, he was frequently spelled by Jarvis Landry, who is no longer with the team. As a result, the top backup position is wide open.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Josh Sitton, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Jesse Davis, RT JuWuan James
Key Backups: Sam Young, Ted Larsen, Anthony Steen, Isaac Asiata, Jake Brendel

Left guard Josh Sitton arrived via free agency from the Chicago Bears and can be a cornerstone player. If healthy, Sitton should help offset the loss of center Mike Pouncey. Daniel Kilgore is a decent option at the pivot, he is also a new arrival from the San Francisco 49ers. The coaches like Jesse Davis at right guard. The tackles duo is mixed: Laremy Tunsil does a good job on the left side but JuWuan James can be an average player. The Dolphins' offensive line ranks as a low-tier option going into the season.

Team Defense

The Dolphins defense was shaken up this offseason, and quite possibility not for the better. They already had a ton invested at defensive end in Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, and 2017 first-rounder Charles Harris, but still brought up William Hayes on a one-year deal and gave up a fourth-round pick for arguably overpriced Robert Quinn. To free up cap room, they released Ndamukong Suh to destabilize the middle of the line. They will get 2017 second-round Raekwon McMillan back to boost a weak linebacker group, and added slot corner/free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the first round to fill cracks in the secondary. The Dolphins were one of the worst fantasy defenses last year with only 30 sacks and 15 takeaways, but hopefully the return of Ryan Tannehill will help the team in a global way and the loss of Suh can be offset by other additions. The Dolphins will go undrafted, but if the edge rush and secondary click, they'll have some matchup value.

Defensive Line

Starters: DE Robert Quinn, DE Cameron Wake, DT Davon Godchaux, DT Akeem Spence
Backups: DE Charles Harris, DE Andre Branch, DE William Hayes, DT Jordan Phillips, DT Vincent Taylor

Starting DL: Robert Quinn isn't the same player who put up 19 sacks in 2013, but he can still be an effective player when healthy. The Rams decided to move on this offseason and traded him to Miami, where he will see a boost to his fantasy value thanks to the fact he'll be playing DE instead of OLB. Cameron Wake is 36 years old now but he still posted 9.5 sacks last year and looked pretty good doing it. The loss of Ndamukong Suh drawing blockers inside won't help though and maybe this is the year he finally starts to slip. Davon Godchaux was a rookie last year who put up decent numbers but he's a clear downgrade from Suh. Akeem Spence was acquired via trade this summer and fills a huge need in Miami. He's coming off a solid year in Detroit but they decided to move on just 1 year into a 3-year contract.

Backup DL: Charles Harris underwhelmed as a rookie with just 2 sacks after being a 1st round pick, but he is talented and could still pan out as a future starter. Andre Branch and William Hayes are both quality veterans who can be counted on if needed but their fantasy upside is probably minimal. Jordan Phillips is a talented player who hasn't been able to put everything together yet. Vincent Taylor was a late-round pick last year who provides depth.

Linebackers

Starters: WLB Kiko Alonso, ILB Raekwon McMillan, OLB Stephone Anthony
Backups: ILB Mike Hull, OLB Jerome Baker [R], OLB Terence Garvin

Starting LBs: Kiko Alonso hasn't been able to replicate the success he had as a rookie, but he is a reliable starter. He's hurt by playing in front of a tough stat crew but also hasn't been much of a playmaker either. Raekwon McMillan was expected to take over the middle linebacker job last year before he suffered a knee injury in preseason. He's a high-end prospect who could provide a boost to this defense if he can stay healthy. Lawrence Timmons was cut after a rough year, which opens up a spot for former 1st round pick Stephone Anthony. After bombing out with the Saints, he's trying to salvage his career in Miami but has done almost nothing for the past two seasons.

Backup LBs: Mike Hull is little more than a 2-down run stopper but he looks like the top backup inside. Jerome Baker comes from a big-time program in Ohio State and is a speedy playmaker who profiles as a weakside linebacker. Terence Garvin is a veteran who started 3 games for Seattle a year ago and provides depth some experienced depth here.

Defensive Backs

Starters: CB Xavien Howard, SS T.J. McDonald, FS Reshad Jones, CB Cordrea Tankersley
Backups: CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick [R], CB Bobby McCain, CB Tony Lippett

Starting DBs: Xavien Howard took steps towards becoming the #1 cornerback the Dolphins want him to be last year. He posted 4 interceptions and was often asked to shadow the #1 receiver from opposing teams. T.J. McDonald missed half the year to suspension a year ago and wasn't all that productive once he entered the starting lineup. It's likely the main reason for his disappointing showing was the presence of an elite safety like Reshad Jones, who is one of the most productive tacklers in the league. Jones is extremely productive and a strong candidate to finish as the #1 fantasy safety again. The other cornerback position here is a question mark and Cordrea Tankersley was often picked on as a rookie. If he doesn't show some improvement, the team does finally have some better options to turn to.

Backup DBs: Minkah Fitzpatrick is a very talented prospect who figures to start out as the team's nickel corner, but he has the ability to play just about anywhere. Bobby McCain has served as the team's primary nickel corner the past two years but he is a bit of a liability. Tony Lippett is coming off an Achilles injury but the converted WR has shown promise as an outside corner.

Last modified: 2018-06-09 13:22:07