It’s a strange feeling being that it’s the first week of January and we’re not talking about offseason plans for the Miami Dolphins.
Although they’re likely to get blasted in the first round of the playoffs next Sunday on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers if the point spread (10) is any indication, they’re in the playoffs, which is a miracle considering the 1-4 start and the lack of talent across the roster.
With the regular season over, let’s check out how the Miami Dolphins fared on a positional basis, per Pro Football Focus rankings. The Dolphins’ top five graded players are as follows:
- Reshad Jones (88.5)
- Ndamukong Suh (88.4)
- Cam Wake (87.4)
- Jay Ajayi (86.8)
- Jarvis Landry (85.1)
Note: Grades range from 1 to 100
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill ranked 13th among NFL passers this year, while backup Matt Moore, who was thrust into action in Week 14, would rank 27th if he had enough snaps to qualify.
No running back graded out as high as Jay Ajayi, who experienced a breakthrough season in Year 2, rushing for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns on 4.9 yards per carry.
The Dolphins have a solid trio of wideouts this year. Jarvis Landry ranked 10th, DeVante Parker ranked 22nd, and Kenny Stills ranked 54th. Tight end Dion Sims ranked 40th while Jordan Cameron missed most of the season due to injury.
The offensive line didn’t seem to be as inept this year but players didn’t fare well individually, with Ja’Wuan James ranking 32nd and Branden Albert ranking 65th among offensive tackles. With the 32-year-old Albert due over $10 million next season, expect a restructure if he returns.
At offensive guard, rookie Laremy Tunsil ranked 48th while Jermon Bushrod ranked a putrid 74th of 76 players and was PFF’s lowest graded run blocker of the year. All three of Miami’s centers ranked in the bottom nine at the position.
Expect some new additions on the interior line this summer, per usual.
On defense, Byron Maxwell was a pleasant surprise, ranking 11th among cornerbacks, while Tony Lippitt ranked 57th, slot corner Bobby McCain ranked 70th, and rookie Xavien Howard ranked 102nd.
The injured but exceptional Reshad Jones ranked 6th among safeties while the also injured Isa Abdul-Quddus ranked a solid 33rd. Miami will be without both against Pittsburgh.
Miami’s defensive line featured two dynamic performers. Cameron Wake ranked 7th among edge defenders and Ndamukong Suh ranked 3rd among defensive tackles. Also at defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips ranked 60th and Earl Mitchell ranked 64th. Wake needs assistance at defensive end, with Mario Williams ranking 63rd and Andre Branch ranking 65th.
Miami’s defense was soft in the middle, with the overrated Kiko Alonso ranking 49th, Spencer Paysinger ranking 54th, Donald Butler ranking 73rd, Neville Hewitt ranking 75th, and Jelani Jenkins ranking 89th.
Based off these rankings and my eye balls, I’d think Miami’s biggest needs are at guard, center, tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, and linebacker.
Best available in the draft is the way to go but if there’s an impact player available on the defensive line or at linebacker in Round 1, the Dolphins shouldn’t blink. Also, drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds wouldn’t be a bad idea — for once.