Does Cameron Wake top the list?
The first part of this two-part series seemed to spark some good dialogue. So let's keep the momentum going and complete the list with players ten through one on my list. If you missed yesterday's discussion and my ranking of players 20 to 11, just click here.
Onto my list of the top ten Miami Dolphins right now:
10. Sean Smith - I know, I know. I've been on the Sean Smith bandwagon since before he was even drafted by the Dolphins. So you might think I'm being a little biased here. But the stats we talked about last week prove he's been very good. He's even showed the mental toughness you need to succeed in this league by regaining the starting spot he lost to Jason Allen last offseason. And if he had caught two-thirds of those dropped interceptions, we're talking about Smith as a Pro Bowl corner in just his second season.
9. Vontae Davis - Sean's partner in crime, of course, is Vontae. And to this point, he's had the better career and is the better overall corner (though not by much). He's a physical corner who is rarely out of position. Once he learns to play the ball in the air better, he'll move up into the elite group of corners in this league.
8. Kendall Langford - One of the most unheralded players on the team, Langford has been consistently getting better and better each year and is coming off of a really good season. But you'd never know it since "5 technique" defensive ends are usually overshadowed. Make no mistake about it, though. Langford was a big reason why this defensive front seven was as good as it was in 2010.
7. Paul Soliai - What an incredible story this guy is. From a guy who was on the roster bubble to the team's designated "franchise player." It all seemed to click for big Paul in 2010. The nose tackle spot is a tough position to learn to it makes sense that it took a while for Soliai to really get it. But now he has to prove he wasn't a one-year wonder.
6. Randy Starks - Coming off of an outstanding 2009, Starks was asked to bulk up to play the nose in 2010 after losing Jason Ferguson - sapping Starks of his athleticism and quickness. Once he moved back to defensive end, he played quite well, though not as dominant as in '09 because of the extra bulk. Look for Randy to again be a great force at end now that he's had time to get his athleticism back.
5. Davone Bess - What's not to love about this guy? All he's done since being undrafted is work his tail off and become one of the best undrafted wide receivers in league history and one of the most feared slot/possession receivers in the NFL. (I told you so)
4. Brandon Marshall - Some will think that "The Beast" should be closer to number one on this list. It's not that he doesn't have the talent to be at the very top. But there are a number of questions surrounding him that I can't justify putting Brandon ahead of the other three guys I've yet to name.
3. Karlos Dansby - He wasn't the play-making inside linebacker we all thought we were getting. But that's really only because Mike Nolan needed him to drop into coverage often to make up for the short-comings of others in this defense. Make no mistake about it, though. He was still very good in '10 and will only get better in 2011.
2. Cameron Wake - Last year, Wake proved to be everything we thought he'd be...and more. He was the elite pass-rusher that he flashed at times in 2009. And he was a better than expected run-stuffer as well. The best part? He's still relatively raw and will continue to improve as he gets more experience.
1. Jake Long - Was there any question who number one would be? Jake played half the season with a bad shoulder that required post-season surgery and still reached the Pro Bowl for a third time and earned first-team All-Pro honors. He's probably the best left tackle in the game today and will be for a very long time.