As they did last year, Pro Football Focus has ranked the rosters for all 32 NFL teams, trying to place the teams in order from best situation to worst. As Sam Monson explains:
We got together PFF's analysts and ran through the data, composing a ranking that incorporated our grading as well as football evaluation for added context -- allowing us, for example, to reward teams that have an excellent quarterback situation but a relative hole along the defensive line when it came to run defense. We have collected the number of elite or high-quality players each team can count among its starters (for these purposes we gave each team a starting side of 12 on each side of the ball to reflect both base and nickel/third-down defense).
How do the Miami Dolphins rank? Let's start scrolling.
The Seattle Seahawks are number one. Okay, I can see that.
Browns 14. Interesting. Still no Dolphins.
Bills 15. When the explanation starts "Under the direction of Rex Ryan..." I'm not sure how much "roster ranking" you are doing here. They will have a good defense, and a middle of the pack ranking makes sense for now. Odd that we still haven't seen the Dolphins. They have to be coming up soon, right?
Okay, hold on. Jets 21 and still no Dolphins? Seriously? "As usual, it's the defensive line that will carry the Jets." The Jets get love because, if Geno Smith fails, Ryan Fitzpatrick is there. What?!?
Yep. According to PFF, the Miami Dolphins have the 23rd best roster in the league. Now, I am not going to argue that Miami should be number one, but 23rd seems a bit low. How do they explain it?
Top five players: Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh, Brent Grimes, Reshad Jones, Branden Albert
Starters who should be upgraded: Dion Sims, Ja'Wuan James, Dallas Thomas
Analysis: The Dolphins are a fashionable pick to be contenders this season, and Tom Brady's suspension does provide a potential opening in the AFC East. But on paper they don't look as ready to seize the opportunity as the other two teams in the division. Suh joins Wake to form a duo that should provide fireworks on the defensive line. The D also contains quality players like Grimes and Jones, but beyond that, depth is a serious concern across the unit.
On offense, Ryan Tannehill is a solid starter who still needs to iron out his inconsistency and accuracy issues, while there is no star playmaker with the ball in his hands. (The Dolphins are certainly banking on rookie first-rounder DeVante Parker developing into one.) This team has a decent amount of top-end talent, but it could be in trouble if injuries bite.
I can understand the concern about depth. I mean, not everyone can have a Ryan Fitzpatrick waiting in the wings at every position, just in case something happens to the starter. But, really? Depth at wide receiver, where, admittedly, the Dolphins are relying on a lot of young players, is one of the major concerns?
And the defense's concerns are also depth? No issues with the starters across the team, but depth questions make them the 23rd ranked roster in the league? Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh, Earl Mitchell/Jordan Phillips/A.J. Francis, Olivier Vernon, Brent Grimes, Reshad Jones, Louis Delmas, they do not count. The ranking is all about whether or not Jordan Kovacs and Mike Hull are ready to contribute.
What really makes me question the ranking, however, is the placement of Dion Sims on the list of "starters who should be upgraded." Sims played really well last year in the absense of Charles Clay and has shown he is a very capable tight end in the league. I guess Miami could use an upgrade at the position, but Sims is capable.
If Miami were to look for an upgrade at the tight end position, since Clay is now with the Buffalo Bills, I would hope they look for a pass-catching, red-zone threat who is, say, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. Someone in the mold of a Jordan Cameron. Someone who has been to the Pro Bowl and has experience in the league. Unfortunately, most of those players are already signed with new teams. For example, Cameron signed with....wait....the Dolphins.
So, wouldn't Miami already have their "upgrade" to Sims?
I like PFF. We use their grades here on the site, and they do add some numerical way to compare players - but I think they are off on this ranking. Again, I don't think Miami is the top roster in the league, but I also don't think they are a bottom 10 roster either.