Pro Football Focus is half-way through their annual Top 101 Players list, in this case for the 2014 season. PFF's list is built based only on the past year of football, in this case 2014, and it is built looking to keep all positions equal, so a quarterback does not get ranked ahead of a linebacker simply because he plays quarterback. In the bottom half of the list, players 101 to 51, the Miami Dolphins had two players make an appearance.
The first player on the list was the 96th-ranked Lamar Miller. The Dolphins' starting running back finished the season with 1,099 yards on 216 carries, giving him a 5.1 yard per attempt average. He recorded eight rushing touchdowns, adding another on one of this 38 receptions. Of their ranking for Miller, PFF writes:
Owner of the fifth-highest running back rushing grade, Miller had similar issues to Charles in so much as his line was a mess for most of the season and he didn’t do an awful lot right in the passing game. Yet he finished the season particularly strong, earning positive rushing grades in six of seven to finish 2014.
Best Performance: Week 16, MIN @ MIA, +3.8
Key Stat: Cracked 1,000 yards and then some with only two 100-yard rushing games and outside of a run of 97 yards no runs longer than 33 yards. Consistent down to down.
Miami's second appearance on the list comes just a few spots later, where offenstive tackle Branden Albert falls into the 91st ranking. The Dolphins' 2014 top free-agent aquisition was dominating at left tackle for the team through the mid-way point of the season before a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee ended his season during the team's Week 10 contest against the Detroit Lions. Albert appeared to be on course for his second-straight Pro Bowl selection and, potentially, an All-Pro nod, before the injury. PFF explains:
If not for missed time Albert was making an All-Pro case so it’s a hard luck story for him that injury has pushed him down the list. The fact he still makes it despite playing just 558 snaps is a testament to how good he was during that period. Averaging just one quarterback disruption allowed per game and with some good work in the run game, Albert was more than justifying his deal in his first year in Miami.
Best Performance: Week 7, MIA @ CHI, +5.9
Key Stat: Second-highest pass blocking efficiency score of all offensive tackles in 2014.
Will any more Dolphins players make the list - well, outside of the near assured Cameron Wake slot? Which players deserve to be in the top-half of the league from their 2014 performance?