The 2015 NFL regular season begins in about 10 weeks, with a few more weeks of vacation time for the players, followed by training camp and the Preseason between now and then. Of course, there will be plenty of changes around the league and with the Miami Dolphins' roster, but there are also some players for the Dolphins poised to have a breakout season this year. Who are they? We take a look at a few.
Jarvis Landry, wide receiver
Landry entered his 2014 rookie season behind Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson. By the end of the year, he led the team in receptions and was second in receptions and receiving touchdowns. A year later, and Landry is the man still standing after the team traded Wallace and released Hartline and Gibson. Dolphins fans all know about Landry, but this season, even with the additions of Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills plus the drafting of DeVante Parker, Landry could burst onto the national radar.
Olivier Vernon, defensive end
It's hard to say a player who has 21.5 sacks in three years, including an 11.5-sack season in 2013, is "poised to break out," but that is exactly what the 2015 season could be for Vernon. No one should benefit more from the Ndamukong Suh signing than Vernon, who will now be on the opposite side of the defensive line from two All-Pro talents in Suh and Cameron Wake. Double digit sacks should be right in Vernon's crosshairs again this year.
Jelani Jenkins, linebacker
After claiming the starting linebacker position last year thanks to injuries, Jenkins went from buried on the depth chart to calling the defensive signals by the end of the year. Now, with the starting position effectively his, Jenkins should be comfortable in the defense and ready to have a big year, building on his 110-tackle, 3.5-sack, 2-forced fumble 2014 season. Add in the freedom of a dominant line, and Jenkins could be the breakout player of the year for the Dolphins.
Dallas Thomas, guard
A lot of Dolphins fans are ready to dump Thomas, and, if Miami were to sign a veteran free agent guard (such as Evan Mathis), then Thomas may have failed, but he could be on the verge of breaking out as well. If he can solidify one of the guard positions, and prove that he is developing into an NFL starting offensive lineman, Thomas could have a breakout season. He might not become a household name or earn a Pro Bowl, but he would breakout from the general malaise fans currently feel when he is mentioned. (Note: Change the name to Billy Turner, and you probably have the exact same write-up.)
LaMichael James, Punt/Kick Returner
This is a pure guess at this point, but I have this idea that the Dolphins will shy away from Landry as the primary returner in an effort to protect one of their top wide receivers, and turn to James. After being released by the San Francisco 49ers last year, then joining the Dolphins' practice squad before being called up late in the year, if given the opportunity, James could shine as a returner for the Dolphins. James might want a bigger role on the offense, but he really could become a special teams weapon.