The Miami Dolphins saw many changes this offseason, starting with the surprise firing of head coach Brian Flores, who they replaced with a young and brilliant offensive mind in Mike McDaniel. With Tua Tagovailoa entering a make-or-break season, a large focus of the offseason was to add more protection and more weapons to the offense. With a new coach in the picture, Miami added a plethora of athletes to add to their already speedy offense.
This roster is improved from last year’s that came very close to making the playoffs, as the season will lay on the shoulders of how their young QB plays. Below, we will break down each position group of the Dolphins.
QB: Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater, Skylar Thompson
Explanation: Tua’s performance this season will be the No. 1 factor in determining the success of the Dolphins this season. While he has not been bad, his play has not been up to par for a team looking to contend. He now has all the pieces in place and a new coach to give him the chance to play well. The grade is lower because Tagovailoa has left much to be desired in his first two seasons, but the grade could very easily improve given his play. Bridgewater is probably one of the most capable backups in the entire league right now, as the Dolphins would likely not miss too much of a beat if Tagovailoa went down.
RB: Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel, Raheem Mostert, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Gerrid Doaks, ZaQuandre White
Explanation: This position group is very reminiscent of a classic Shanahan-system backfield, with no true number 1 back, but a handful of ball carriers that can be difference makers. This position saw a huge offseason makeover, as Myles Gaskin, who looked like he could be a starter, will now have to largely compete for carries. The top three names are all new signings, as players who have great speed and have been productive in the past.
WR: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson, Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr, Trent Sherfield, Erik Ezukanma, Cody Core, River Cracraft, DeVonte Dedmon, Braylon Sanders
Explanation: The receiver group is where the largest and most clear offensive upgrades occurred. Building off Jaylen Waddle’s impressive rookie season, Miami added former Cowboy standout Cedrick Wilson. What already looked to be a much improved and respectable group, the Dolphins were not done and made a blockbuster trade for All-Pro WR Tyreek Hill. This group has star power and a lot of speed. Tua Tagovailoa will have no excuse but to succeed in an offense that features these names.
TE: Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, Hunter Long, Cethan Carter
Explanation: The Dolphins’ TE room is one that is deep and versatile. Mike Gesicki will be playing on the franchise tag this year and is someone that can be used as a big slot more than a traditional TE. He will add another receiving dimension to this talented offensive roster. In addition, the group still has depth, as between Smythe, Shaheen, and Long, Miami has players that can block and catch, as McDaniel can run as many two TE sets as he would like.
OL: Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Michael Dieter, Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson, Robert Jones, Solomon Kindley, Greg Little, Cole Banwart, Adam Pankey
Explanation: This unit had trouble last year and made it very difficult for Tagovailoa and Miami’s offense to have success. While investments along the OL had been made, they were not enough or were just not working, as a result, two FA signings joined the team in Terron Armstead, which was a big-time signing, and Connor Williams.
Williams was highly penalized last year but still looks to be an upgrade, although maybe not a significant one, joining Dieter and Hunt on the interior, who both were not bad. Between Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg, set to protect Tua’s blindside, they both have struggled in their careers so far, so the RT spot will be instrumental in the unit’s success. They are an improved group but still are not great and have some question marks, specifically on the right side.
DL: Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Jaelan Phillips, Andrew Van Ginkel, Melvin Ingram, Adam Butler, John Jenkins, Zach Sieler, Cameron Goode, Brennan Scarlett, Darius Hodge, Daeshon Hall, Benito Jones, Ben Stille, Owen Carney, Jordan Williams
Explanation: Ogbah is coming off a very solid season, as he re-signed with the Dolphins as part of a four-year deal. Wilkins had a good season last year as well and is going into a big fourth season, as the Dolphins will have to think about his future with the team and picking up his option or not. Phillips had a very solid rookie season and will look to continue improving to have an even better season in year 2.
Van Ginkel and newly signed Melvin Ingram can also add some rushing help to this group. That said, the rest of the group lacks much talent at all, as Davis struggled last year, and while Butler provides some good depth, the rest of the depth at other positions is not really there either. While there is talent, this is a top-heavy group, but the grade can easily improve given an even bigger year from Phillips and Ogbah.
LB: Elandon Roberts, Jerome Baker, Channing Tindall, Sam Eguaveon, Calvin Munson, Duke Riley
Explanation: Much like the offensive side of the ball, the LB core of the Dolphins is one that is all about speed. Baker has been solid over the past few seasons and is playing on a hefty contract, as he should be a strong point for the group. Roberts returned on a small contract, as he is a good depth player, but will likely be forced to start opposite Baker. Newly drafted Channing Tindall could crack the starting lineup before the season’s end but is still raw and will need time. Overall, this group is a clear weak point on the team. While Baker is good, he is not enough of a superstar to make up for the lack of deficiencies in this group
CB: Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Noah Igbinoghene, Nik Needham, Keion Crossen, D’Angelo Ross, Trill Williams, Quincy Wilson, Elijah Hamilton
Explanation: At the top, there might not be a better CB duo in football, as Jones and Howard are both top 10 highest paid CBs in the league. Both are phenomenal players to have starting on the outside, as their play will be the key to the performance of the whole defense. Nik Needham put together a few good performances last year as well, as he should be controlling the slot duties. That said, this group lacks some depth, as if either Howard or Jones or both go down, then the CB group is in trouble.
S: Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones, Eric Rowe, Sheldrick Redwine, Clayton Fejedelem, Verone McKinley III,
Explanation: Rounding out the secondary, Holland is coming off a very good rookie season and is becoming one of the better safeties in the entire league. Jones and Rowe will have to compete for the other spot, but both are likely not high-level starting-caliber players. Outside of Holland, this is a pretty thin group, as Miami needs to bank on Holland staying healthy and having another great year.