UA-59049186-1 2017 NFL Team Preview: Miami Dolphins - Good if it Goes

2017 NFL Team Preview: Miami Dolphins



Last Year:

Record: 10-6

Offense: 22.7 (17th)

Defense: 23.8 (18th)


Key Acquisitions: TE. Julius Thomas, OG. Ted Larsen, DE. William Hayes, LB. Lawrence Timmons, S. T.J. McDonald

Key Losses: TE. Dion Sims, OT. Branden Albert, DE. Mario Williams, DT. Earl Mitchell, LB. Koa Misi, S. Isa Abdul-Quddus

2017 Draft Picks

1(22) Charles Harris OLB Missouri
2(22) Raekwon McMillan ILB Ohio State
3(33) Cordrea Tankersley CB Clemson
5(20) Isaac Asiata OG Utah
5(35) Davon Godchaux DT LSU
6(10) Vincent Taylor DT Oklahoma State
7(19) Isaiah Ford WR Virginia Tech

2017 Outlook 

Coaching Staff

  • HC: Adam Gase
  • OC: Clyde Christensen
  • DC: Matt Burke
  • ST: Darren Rizzi


QB. Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore

RB. Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake

WR. DeVante Parker, Leonte Carroo

WR. Kenny Stillls, Jakeem Grant

WR. Jarvis Landry

TE. Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano

LT. Laremy Tunsil, Terry Poole

LG. Ted Larsen, Anthony Steen

C. Mike Pouncey, Jake Brendel

RG. Jermon Bushrod, Kraig Urbik

RT. Ja’Wuan James, Sam Young


DE. Cameron Wake, Andre Branch

DT. Ndamukong Suh, Vincent Taylor

DT. Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux

DE. William Hayes, Charles Harris

SLB. Raekwon McMilan, Trevor Reilly

MLB. Lawrence Timmons, Mike Hull

WLB. Kiko Alonso, Neville Hewitt

CB. Byron Maxwell, Alterraun Verner

SS. Reshad Jones, Nate Allen

FS. T.J. McDonald, Walt Aikens

CB. Xavien Howard, Cordrea Tankersley

NB. Bobby McCain


K. Andrew Franks

P. Matt Darr



The Dolphins shocked a lot of people by making the playoffs last season. A big reason why was because quarterback Ryan Tannehill was in the midst of his most effective season before going down towards the end of the year. He completed a career high 67% of his passes and also had a career high 93.5 passer rating. Another guy that had a breakout season was Jay Ajayi who was one of the best running backs in the NFL. But what was most impressive was that he was so effective despite playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Speaking of said line I think they should be better in 2017. The team will be moving their first round pick from last season Laremy Tunsil from guard to left tackle. Tunsil showed flashes last season but was inconsistent. I think part of it was playing a position he was unfamiliar with as he is a better fit at tackle which is the position he has played pretty much the majority of his career. I expect him to play up to the level of his draft classmates Jack Conklin, Ronnie Stanley, and Taylor Decker all of whom which had good seasons as rookies and he arguably has more talent than all of them. It will also help that Branden Albert, the guy he is replacing, will no longer be on the team. At the right tackle position will be their best overall lineman Ja’Wuan James who has lived up to his first round draft status back in 2014 and was one of the best run blocking tackles in the league. It should help the offensive line that Mike Pouncey will be back at center. He only played in five games last season and when he was out they missed more than just his ability but his leadership as the anchor of the group. Ted Larsen comes over from the Bears were he was solid in the eight games he started and should be a major upgrade at left guard over Anthony Steen, who was one of the worst guards in the league last season. Jermon Bushrod came over from the Bears last season and was converted to play guard for the first time in his career and it did not go as well as expected. He was OK in pass pro but run blocking was a major issue for him. Maybe with a year to get adjusted to a new position under his belt he can improve his performance in his second year with the team. The most impressive group on offense in 2017 may be the receivers. Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Julius Thomas potentially form one of the best receiving corps in the league. Landry is a stud and one of the best possession receivers in the league. Parker really played better in his second season and looks like he could be on the verge of being a pro bowl caliber receiver in this league and Stills is a fast receiver that can stretch the field. The question mark is Thomas who comes over from the Jacksonville to play tight end. He never quite fit in with the Jags but if he can start playing up to the level he did a few years ago in Denver the Dolphins will have an abundance of playmakers. Overall with the projected improvement of the offensive line and a bunch of talented at the skill positions if Tannehill can continue to develop and get better the Dolphins could be one of the better offenses in the league in 2017.


The Dolphins were up and down last season on defense and I expect them to be more consistent this year. The Dolphins have two studs up front in Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. Wake’s 2015 season was cut halfway short but he bounced back strong with 11.5 sacks last season and though he is 35 years old he is only entering his ninth season because he did not start playing in the NFL until he was 27 so he is not your traditional 35 and I believe he has at least one more strong season left in him. At the other end spot the Dolphins brought in William Hayes from the Rams who is a decent pass rusher and a beast vs the run. He is big and strong enough to be kicked inside some in nickel situations so that their first round pick Charles Harris, who is a pass rush specialist, can get his share of snaps as well. The best overall player on the team is Suh who will be the main man inside at defensive tackle. He had another great season in 2016 and looks to continue his hall of fame push in year eight. The team’s second round pick in 2015 Jordan Phillips was OK last season and will start next to Suh again in 2017 in base sets. The Dolphins linebacker group has some potential but also has question marks. The guy that was supposed to be their best player Koa Misi unfortunately suffered a severe neck injury early last season and now it is believed to be career ending. Even if Misi does not retire he is not expected to be available to play at all in 2017 and that is a major loss for the Dolphins. They will now have to turn to the declining Lawrence Timmons to play middle linebacker. Timmons play dipped significantly over the past two years with the Steelers and the Dolphins are hoping that a different defensive scheme and a change of scenery can help turn back the clock for Timmons. The Dolphins look a little better at the outside linebacker positions. Kiko Alonso will move from the middle and get the nod as the weakside linebacker spot to replace Misi. He has yet to play up to the sensational level he did back in 2013 in his rookie season. He missed the entire 2014 season due to injury and has not looked the same since. He played decent in his first season with the Dolphins but I think the move to the outside will help him as his game is more suited for that. Clearly the Dolphins believe that he can get back to the level he showed he could play at early in his career because they agreed to give him a three year $29 million dollar deal during the offseason. Rookie Raekwon McMillan, the team’s second round pick, is slated to be the starting strong side linebacker. The former Ohio State Buckeye was one of the fastest linebacker prospects in the draft and should at least bring good energy and sideline to sideline explosiveness to the position for the Dolphins. Last offseason the Dolphins traded for Alonso and Byron Maxwell from the Eagles and just about everyone expected Alonso to be the top prize in that trade for Miami. However, Maxwell was the better player of the two last season for Miami and ended up being the Dolphins best cornerback. He looked more like the guy that made a name for himself with the Seahawks than the disaster he was in Philly and figures to be the team’s top corner again. Opposite him will be second year man Xavier Howard. Howard was the team’s second round pick last season and had a up and down rookie year as a lot of rookie corners do but the Dolphins are hoping for improvement in his second season. Bobby McCain was the team’s second most effective corner last season and is expected to be the nickel man. Misi was not the only Dolphin who’s career was cut short due to injury. Free safety Isa Abdul-Quddus suffered a neck injury near the end of last season and was waived after failing a physical during the offseason. His career is believed to be over. Replacing him will be T.J. McDonald who comes over from the Rams. McDonald was very good in coverage last season and should compliment the hard hitting Reshad Jones, who is more of a box safety, very well. Speaking of Jones he was the best player in the Dolphins secondary again last season and is one of the best in the game at his position. As good as he was against the run he actually had the best year of his career in coverage and was a more all-around player last season. Overall the Dolphins should be better defensively in 2017. The defensive line and secondary should definitely be better and if Timmons is not completely washed up and McMillan has a strong rookie year the linebacking corps will be strong as well.

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