It's a breath of fresh air that the Miami Dolphins are winning, even though they are winning ugly. With 3 wins on the trot, the team is finally starting to believe in themselves. They are starting to turn the corner. They are finally starting to have that winning mentality ingrained into them.
And the best part? A large proportion of the stars on show are players that were drafted in all corners of the draft, by Miami. So without further ado, let's check out who's stocks are up, and down.
Jay Ajayi - Running Back
Before Sunday, the New York Jets had the best run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 74 yards a game. This, then, was a big test for Ajayi, himself removed from 2 consecutive 200+ yard games, and he passed with flying colors. He made 111 yards on the ground, averaging 4.6 yards and a long of 20 yards. Moreover, he caught 3 catches for 19 yards. When running with the ball in his hands, Ajayi appears strong and has the burst to shoot through the holes and drive past players for the extra yards. He's really helping the Dolphins create a new identity for the team. Head coach Adam Gase should also be commended, too, for sticking with Ajayi. As the game progresses, Ajayi just keeps getting better.
Kenyan Drake, Jakeem Grant - Kickoff/Punt Return Team
Only a few weeks removed from a touchdown after a punt return against Tennessee, Dolphins fans thought Grant had done it again on Sunday, only for the play to be called back due to a penalty. There's no doubt Grant is electric; he's like a lightning bolt, and it feels like he can score on every play. Drake also joined the party on Sunday, scoring a touchdown on a kickoff return. Both players were drafted by Miami in this year's draft, and both players look like they have big futures on this team.
Laremy Tunsil, Branden Albert - Left Guard, Left Tackle Guard
One of the reasons behind Jay Ajayi's dominance in the last few games - he's rushed 529 yards in the last 3 games - has been the offensive line, and in particular the left hand side of the offensive line. Tunsil in particular, who has had to contend with the gas-mark video that hit the mainstream media on the day of the draft, was heralded as a fine pass-blocker, but has now added another dimension to his game - he's now turning into one of the best pulling run blockers in the game. What's more, he also has the athleticism to get to the next level to clear away linebackers, allowing AJayi to make big gains on the ground. Both Tunsil and Albert are making this offensive line formidable, a far cry from the start of the season.
Cameron Wake - Defensive End
Cameron Wake turned back the clock on Sunday, as he was on fire against the New York Jets. At the end of the day, Wake made 2 sacks and three quarterback hurries. He's clearly showing that he shouldn't just be used as a situational pass rusher, but as a 3-down player. Long may it continue.
Matt Darr - Punter
It was an unfortunate game for Matt Darr. The past two seasons he has been a really dependable player, yet one play during this game was a moment of madness. Attempting to catch a perfectly good snap, Darr fumbled the ball that helped the Jets lead 23-20, and almost gifting them the game. Darr remarked after the game that it had never happened to him during practice, in the NFL or at college. Darr will come back from this, but it really could have been a far more costly mistake if the Dolphins lost the game.
Ryan Tannehill - Quarterback
I'm sticking my neck out here, and a lot of readers will disagree with me on this (as per my week 7 article), but Tannehill's stock is going down in my eyes. He's no longer the hope for this franchise. The burden no longer falls on his shoulders alone. He now has a better supporting cast that can win games even when he's not firing on all cylinders. He threw the football 149 yards, completing 17 of his 28 passes on Sunday. He's not playing bad, but it appears his role has changed to one of a game manager. The question is, is his salary cap worth its weight in gold? Maybe in the next few weeks, if or when the team needs him to step up, he will come up with the goods. However, right now, he's more the by-product of what is starting to become a pretty good offense.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.