This is the time of year when fans take a look at their roster as we head towards training camp and make bold statements. They say that they expect "player A" to break out this year while "player B" will struggle for whatever reason. Without question, we all have done that in the past and will do that between now and September.
But now is also a good time to take a look at the roster and just think about which players may be a bit overrated and which players may be somewhat underrated. Why? Because it's early July and there's nothing else to really talk about - that's why.
We'll talk about which Dolphins are probably overrated next week. Today let's look at which Dolphins are underrated - whether it's by the their own fans, by the media, or by the general NFL fan nationwide.
Davone Bess - I think it's impossible not to list Bess at the top of this list. Bess quietly finished 11th in the AFC in receptions (76) while catching over 67% of the passes thrown his way. He officially had just four drops - and even that low figure was a surprise. Davone's value really showed on third downs, though. Bess was first in the AFC and second in the entire NFL in third down receptions that resulted in first downs, converting 28 third downs (just one behind the NFL leader). Not bad for an undrafted free agent who was in just his second season in the NFL. Look for D-Bess to finally start getting the national respect he deserves as he continues to gain experience and improve.
Lousaka Polite - If Bess was number one on this list, then Polite is just barely beneath him. The "Lousaka Monster" - as he's been dubbed by our community - is simply the best blocking fullback in the NFL. I dare anyone to say anything else. All you need to do is flip on some game film and you can see why most Dolphin fans would agree. But Polite is more than just a great lead blocker. In 2009, Polite converted 17 of 18 3rd down or 4th down rush attempts with 2 or fewer yards to go. Nobody in the NFL was better. Nobody.
Kendall Langford - It seems like this 2008 third round pick out of Hampton has been overshadowed for his two years in Miami. Despite winning the starting defensive end job as a rookie, nobody seemed to be talking about Kendall in '08. Then last year, Langford was overshadowed by Randy Starks, who put up terrific sack numbers and was a force all season long. Quietly, though, Langford put together a second consecutive solid season in 2009. He continues to be stout against the run. And last year he improved on his ability to get to the quarterback. His 2.5 sacks is not the impressive figure. His 15 quarterback pressures, however, is quite impressive for a defensive end in a 3-4. I'm expecting Langford to take a big step forward in 2010.