Written by Chad Hahn
After tearing apart the roster over the past year building for the future as they set themselves up with a war chest of draft picks and well over 100 million in cap room, the Dolphins are poised to quickly rebuild the roster through the draft and free agency. Here’s and important question though :
Which players will they build around? Here’s the answer:
WR- Devante Parker. Parker enjoyed a breakout season, his first in the NFL. A lot of credit for this year is his relationship with veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Parker finished the year with 72 catches 1202 yards and 9 touchdowns. The fifth leading receiver in yardage in the NFL. Now that his confidence level has grown he looks the part of the future #1 WR for team going forward.
WR- Preston Williams. Nicknamed the unicorn, the UDFA from Colorado St. stood out with his spectacular catching ability throughout training camp and the preseason. He continued to build the coaches trust into the season earning a starting WR role. He lead the team in receiving until his season ending injury. He finished with 32 catches, 428 yards and 3 touchdowns. Him and Devante Parker will be a nice starting duo for years to come as long as he stays on the right track off the field.
TE- Mike Gesicki. Like Parker a lot of the growth especially in the second half of the season can be accredited to the building relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Gesicki finished with 51 catches, 570 yards and 5 touchdowns. His growth this year was very important to the team as they look to setup a 2 tight end formation in 2020 similar to the Patriots scheme when they had Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
OG- Michael Dieter. Last year’s 3rd round pick from Wisconsin started 15 out of 16 games in his rookie season and looks to continue to grow within the organization. Deiter was a consistent player for the team.
DL- Christian Wilkins- Last year’s 1st round pick started coming on strong towards the last part of the year and led all rookie defensive lineman in tackles with 56 combined tackles. He also had 2 sacks. His personality is infectious and is becoming a team leader.
DL- Davon Godchaux- Davon is also becoming a team leader and plays extremely hard and made an adjustment this year switching the defensive scheme as now he is being used as more as a nose tackle. He finished the year with 75 combined tackles and 2 sacks.
LB- Jerome Baker- Baker was spring into the defensive play caller role in his second year and the vocal leader on defense. He has a lot of passion and ability that will continue to grow in this system. Baker finished with a combined 126 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1 interception.
LB- Raekwon McMillian- Raekwon progressed a lot this season and I’d still developing into a 3 down LBer but he took big steps into becoming a big time run stopper at MLB. He finished with 72 tackles.
LB- Andrew Van Ginkel- Last year’s 5th round pick spent most of the season on injured reserve but played the last few games and showed some play making abilities from the stand up LBer spot. He finished with 15 tackles and 1 sack. He can potentially earn the starting OLB position for the team in 2020.
LB- Vince Beigel- Acquired in a trade from the Saints for LBer Kiko Alonso was not a big name and in what looked like a salary dump trade for Miami, turned out to be much more. Beigel displayed relentless pursuit and is in current contract extension talks with the team to stay with the organization for years to come. He finished with 59 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 interception.
CB- Xavien Howard- Howard, when healthy is an All Pro at his position. Unfortunately he hasn’t stayed healthy with another knee surgery and now is being investigated for an off the field incident. This off-season will be important to Howard if he plans on staying with this organization. Both sides are hoping to continue his on the field production after reaching a big contract extension just last season. Howard finished the season with 17 tackles and 1 interception.
CB- Nic Needham- The UDFA from UTEP played hard raptly in training camp and earned a starting CB spot after some injures to the team at that position. He was a bright spot playing at a surprising high level resulting in 54 tackles, 1 sack and 2 interceptions. He looks to be a big part of the secondary in 2020.
FS/CB- Bobby McCain- Transitioning from CB to a full time safety in the new defensive scheme takes time and it was no accept ion for McCain. McCain is a team leader and captain and signed a contract extension last year. Although he was placed on injured reserve he finished with 25 tackles and 2 interceptions.
SS/CB- Eric Rowe- He signed a 1 year deal to come to Miami last off-season and played hard and really took off when he replaced starting safety Reshad Jones went on injured reserve. Resulting in signing a contract extension already to stay with Miami for another 3 years. Currently slated to be the team’s starting SS if the team parts ways with Jones this off-season. Rowe finished with 81 tackles, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble.
Honorable Mention: Josh Rosen, Patrick Laird, Taco Charlton, Jesse Davis, Adrian Colbert.
Rosen was acquired during last year’s draft for a 2nd, and 5th round pick (which was re-acquired via the Kenyon Drake trade). He’s still extremely young and has talent. I believe Rosen will have a shot at being the answer for this franchise at QB if given the true opportunity with talent around him.
Laird played hard after coming onto the team as an UDFA from California. I believe he can carve out a similar role to what Rex Burkhead has with the Patriots.
Charlton was claimed off waivers early in the year from the Cowboys. The former 1st round pick showed flashes of on the field talent, the question is can he earn the coaches trust as he was a healthy scratch towards the end of the year.
Davis who was a consistent starter for the team and signed a 3 year extension for 15 million wasn’t stellar and in my opinion would be best served as a Guard or the main backup for all Offensive Line positions.
Colbert was a very late addition as he was claimed from the Seahawks but played a lot in the last few games and it appeared he earned respect from the coaching staff. He could wind up being the starting safety or the 3rd safety on the roster in 2020.
In summary, before the biggest jump in this rebuild is about to happen this off-season, there are a lot more building blocks then people outside the building will acknowledge. No doubt they will add a lot of talent this off-season and can make a quick turnaround. Now it’s up to General Manager Chris Grier and Head Coach Brian Flores to follow through will all this possibilities. This is the real season for this organization, enjoy!