Do the Dolphins have the most underrated roster in the league?

Do The Dolphins Have The Most Underrated Roster In The League? pt1

  • brian flores
  • Devante Parker
  • Fitzpatrick
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Mike Gesicki
  • NFL
  • Preson Williams
  • Roster Tua
  • Tua Tagovailoa
By David Gregg September 9, 2020 0 Comment
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Do The Dolphins Have The Most Underrated Roster In The League?

The 2019 Miami Dolphins roster was the laughingstock of the league. And rightfully so. It was so bad that it has led to the 2020 Dolphins team being the most underrated roster in the NFL.

During Brian Flores’ first year in Miami, they made over 250 roster moves. With so many injuries and several talented players being shipped out the door, Grier & Flores didn’t leave a single rock unturned in their search for hidden talent. They signed undrafted free agents, where they found talents such as cornerback Nik Needham, and wide receiver Preston Williams. Players from the CFL, like linebacker Sam Eguavoen. The Dolphins also signed several players off the waiver wire such as defensive backs Ken Webster & Tae Hayes. And signed even more straight off other teams practice squads such as linebacker Calvin Munson & defensive back Nate Brooks.

Their roster was so bad that they started 0-7, and had many fans and pundits alike calling out the Dolphins for  “tanking.” However, with this ragtag group of players, Miami finished their last 9 games with the same 5-4 record as the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

2020 Outlook – An Underrated Roster

Many fans and analysts still see the Dolphins as having a poor to a mediocre roster. A number of sites do have the Dolphins as the most likely team to go from worst to first within their division. These sites, however, gave Miami very low odds of doing so. There is a belief out there surrounding the Dolphins that this roster rebuild will take three years. Since this is only year two the Dolphins can’t be ready to compete yet. The talent on the current Miami Dolphins roster suggests otherwise. Through free agency, the draft, and trades, Miami has put together a sneakily good, under-the-radar, talented roster. An underrated roster that may indeed be good enough to not only compete for the AFC East Crown but shock everyone with a San Francisco 49ers type run through the season and deep into the playoffs.

Quarterbacks

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will most likely be the Dolphins Week 1 starter vs the Patriots. Fitzpatrick is the very definition of a journeyman QB. The former 7th-round pick out of Harvard has spent the past 15 seasons bouncing around the league between 8 NFL teams. He holds records for being the only player to throw a touchdown for 8 different teams and the first NFL QB to throw for 400 yards in three consecutive games. Over the past 4 years, Fitzpatrick has improved in completion percentage, yards-per-attempt, touchdown rate, interception rate, and passer rating. After being inserted back into the lineup in week 6 his stats continued to improve. The most notable of which was 23 TDs in 12 games for 1.92 TDs per-game which is the team’s best single-season TD rate since Marino posted a 1.93 TD rate back in 1994!

Tua Tagovailoa was the most talented QB in the 2020 NFL Draft. He single-handedly took Alabama’s offense and completely changed it’s scheme from run-first to a pass-heavy attack. Tua posted incredible stats in his “two” seasons as Alabama’s starter. (He rarely played into the fourth quarter of games, and never finished his junior season) He had an insane 87 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions, a 69.3 completion percentage, and outright smashed the career passer efficiency rating of 181.3 set by Kyler Murray by posting a 199.4 rating. Teammates of both the Crimson Tide and the Dolphins have spoken of Tua’s ability to read defenses and lead defensive backs with his eyes away from the route he wants to throw.  And, contrary to popular belief Tua throws a really good deep ball!

 

In mid-November 2019, Tua Tagovailoa suffered a freak accident dislocating and fracturing his hip. Many worried this injury could cost Tua his career. Thanks to the quick action of team doctors, this would not be the case and Tua has made a full recovery. A recovery faster than most anticipated.

Offensive Line

The 2020 offensive line should be much improved over 2019’s line. You may have heard that the Miami Heat have shooters, well the Miami Dolphins have maulers. Big Fat Maulers! They have an average weight of 320.33lbs!

The 2020 starting lineup will be almost entirely remade. Right tackle Jesse Davis is the only starter from 2019 to keep his job.

Newcomers left guard Ereck Flowers and center Ted Karras had the best seasons of their career in 2019.

Rookie first-rounder Austin Jackson is the clear winner of the left tackle battle. At just 21 years old, Jackson is the second-youngest player on the roster. He has spent the 2020 camp going up against players such as Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis. On one particular rep, he manhandled Davis while ripping off his jersey.

Rookie 4th-rounder, Solomon Kindley has surprised many, likely earning himself the starting job. During his college career, he played 901 pass-blocking snaps giving up a grand total of four sacks and just 14 hurries. He is a former Georgia Bulldog so you know he played against some quality SEC pass-rushers!

Running Backs

To say that the running back room of the 2019 roster was a disappointment would be an understatement. However, if the remade offensive line lives up to expectations then there is reason to believe that the duo of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida could be special.

Since 2016, Howard is in the top ten in the league in total yards, touchdowns, and yards-per-game. He is also one of the best in the game at down-and-distance with less than two yards to go.

Breida has posted the fasted speeds as a ball carrier each of the past two seasons and is a great back catching the ball out of the backfield.

Wide Receivers

DeVante Parker, in his 5th year finally had his breakout campaign. His 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns were by far career bests. And that was with a fairly unimpressive first half of his season. In the second half of the season, he noticeably improved each week culminating in a Week 17 match up vs Patriots’ & Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Parker made him look like an inexperienced rookie cornerback earning him the nickname Uncle Vante.

Preston Williams was one of Miami’s pleasant UDFA surprises. Despite reeling in only 32 catches of 60 targeted passes Williams was among the best rookie receivers over their first 8 games. However, his rookie season would be cut short by an ACL tear. Now fully healed he should pair with Parker to be one of Fitzpatrick’s favorite two targets.

Sprinkle in Jakeem Grant, (who has a dispute with Matt Breida as to which of the two is the fastest player on the roster)  and dynamic playmaking rookies, Malcolm Perry, and Lynn Bowden Jr, and you get one of the most exciting wide receiver corps in the league.

Note: the trade for Bowden gives Miami seven players in the top 80 selected in the 2020 NFL Draft

Tight Ends

Mike Gesicki had a solid year in his second season in the NFL. He, like Parker, is another player that really started coming along in the second half of the season. All five of his touchdowns coming in the last six games. One of which was the week 17 game-sealing touchdown in the back of the endzone ensuring Tom Brady would finish his last regular-season game as a member of the New England Patriots in a loss.

An Underrated Roster

Through the first half of the 2019 season, the Dolphins offense was utterly uninspiring. The only real bright spot on that offense was wide receiver Preston Williams. His play during the first eight games was overshadowed by the Dolphins, somewhat expected, 0-7 start. The failures of the offensive line, running backs, lack of a pass rush, and league-worst run-defense, earned the Dolphins the title of the least talented team. During the 2020 off-season, each one of those positions was upgraded, some of which with elite talent. Despite this, the Miami Dolphins are still viewed as a team that is incomplete and not yet ready to compete for AFC East Crown. The Dolphins are absolutely being overlooked, making them the most underrated roster in the league.

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