Yes, I know another overly-optimistic article about our beloved Dolphins who everybody is expecting to tank this year due to clear lack of talent. What brings me to write this article is that the stories of this off-season are oddly similar to those about the 2016 Miami Dolphins that made the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Considering that we were a team that severely under performed last season even though we had high expectations coming off of our playoff berth, many people have already written us out of the 2018 playoffs and a lot of fans would be surprised if we had more than six wins next year. Even though free agency has already been underwhelming to say the least with the signings of Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola, there is still hope that we can see the Dolphins playing well into January.
First off, the tools for a successful team are set in stone and can be improved upon throughout the draft and trades throughout the rest of the off-season. Currently our major needs in my opinion are tight end, linebacker, free safety, and kicker, however we still need depth at just about every position. Personally, the front office would be better off just stocking up more draft picks, but signing an impact player on defense such as Tre Boston from the Los Angeles Chargers or Zach Brown would be great especially since they will not be top dollar signings. Austin Seferian-Jenkins would also be a nice addition as it is clear that he has turned his career around and can solidify our tight end position. During the draft I would like to see us trade down unless a top linebacker such as Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds is available at pick 11. As for our other needs, they can be addressed in the mid rounds by drafting players like Frank Ragnow, Troy Fumagalli, and Deshone Elliott who all have the potential to be key players on day 1.
In all our current talent levels look like this:
Quarterback- Ryan Tannehill should be back and be a solid quarterback like he has been his entire career however I am still not willing to bet that he will be a pro bowl caliber player especially after not playing a down of football in almost two years. A backup is needed, but not a first round selection as we can land someone like Kyle Lauletta from Richmond in the mid rounds.
Runningback- Kenyan Drake will be the leader of our stable of backs in 2018 and he would pair well with a bigger back such as Rashaad Penny from San Diego State who I think would be a better option than Damien Williams at this point.
Wide Receiver- I think everybody is with me with the fact that we do not need another wide receiver on our roster. The signings of Wilson and Amendola actually shocked me today but we should be in a good position with our receiving core now. While I was a little disappointed to see Landry go I have a feeling Wilson will fill in well especially now that he will have more opportunities now than he did in Kansas City. The future of Parker and Carroo are up in the air now which could lead to Miami looking for another deep threat if Parker is traded. Overall I see Grant, WIlson, and Stills having great years with Stills possibly being over 1,000 yards now that Landry is no longer here to get most of the targets. As for Amendola I do not expect him to put up any numbers larger than he has in the past couple of years for New England.
Tight End- MarQuies Gray is fine but I do not see him as a number one option for us, as stated earlier I would like to see us go after Seferian-Jenkins in free agency and Fumagalli in the draft to finally give us viable receiving tight ends for the first time since Clay left.
Offensive Line- I think the line will be just fine with James, Tunsil, Pouncey, and Davis however I would really like to see another guard (Sitton) to come to Miami and bring a leadership presence in addition to getting another offensive lineman such as Frank Ragnow from Arkansas.
Defensive Line- Even with Suh being released we are still in a good spot even if we do not resign William Hayes. Robert Quinn appears to be returning to his old form and Wake is still himself and will probably have over 10 sacks again. Harris should hopefully see more snaps this year and Branch could put together a decent season if he is healthy but if he is not we still have Cameron Malveaux who has shown promise. Phillips, Godchaux, and Taylor could all be good interior defensive lineman this year and will not cost nearly as much as Ndamukong Suh.
Linebacker- Kiko Alonso is most likely going to be a starter even though he struggled last year but the return of McMillan should help our run defense drastically. Adding another linebacker in the draft and possibly signing Zach Brown would make this unit a strength for Miami while having Chase Allen and Neville Hewitt as backups.
Defensive Back- Strong Safety is fine with Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald however I would really like to see a true free safety to play over the top. Cornerback should be a really good unit this year with the return of Lippett along with the way Tankersley, McCain, and Howard played last year.
Special Teams- Kicker is a clear need even though I still do not understand why we let Parkey go, Haack should be better with time, and Denney will most likely be great as always. Our return units should be fine even with Grant and Drake taking larger roles on offense and Amendola is still here if one of them is injured.
In all, our team has the foundation of a playoff team and is only a year removed from their last playoff berth but the key is winning in the draft and improving on the defensive side on the ball, specifically stopping the run and covering tight ends.
As always feel free to drop your opinions below on what Miami should do to make the playoffs this season.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider’s writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.