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Cameron Wake holds back Dolphins defensive triplets ranking

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ESPN’s defensive triplets rankings for the Miami Dolphins are knocked lower by the presence of a four-time Pro Bowler.

NFL: Miami Dolphins-Minicamp Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we took a look at ESPN’s rankings of the Miami Dolphins “offensive triplets.” The website added a new look at the 32 teams in the league on Wednesday, again from Bill Barnwell, this time ranking the “defensive triplets” for all the franchises. For the Dolphins, their ranking is harmed by the presence of Cameron Wake.

Four time Pro-Bowl selection Cameron Wake.

One time First-Team All-Pro selection Cameron Wake.

Seventy career sacks Cameron Wake.

The Dolphins ranking is harmed by the presence of Cameron Wake.

As crazy as that sounds, it might be correct in a specific way.

Miami’s defensive triplets, according to Barnwell, consists of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, safety Reshad Jones, and Wake. That is a fairly elite set of defensive triplets, but Miami is only ranked 11th in the league. Barnwell explains the ranking, writing:

A year ago, this would have been a top-five pairing. Suh was every bit as good as the Dolphins could have hoped after giving him a massive deal (and contractual considerations aren't included in this analysis), and Jones has developed into one of the league's better safeties, even if he's probably not worth the $10 million per year he reportedly wants in a new deal. Wake? It's hard to say what he'll be, given that he is 34 and coming off of a torn Achilles. There are questions about Mario Williams, who is 31 and was run out of Buffalo this offseason, and the likes of Byron Maxwell and Isa Abdul-Quddus have short résumés as contributors. That third spot is up for grabs, which says more about Wake's future than it does about Miami's.

To be fair, Barnwell’s explanation of why Miami is only 11th actually makes some sense. Wake, at 34, is coming back from that torn Achilles and no one really knows for sure what Miami will have from him this year. The early indications from the team’s Organized Team Activities and minicamp are all positive, with Wake looking like the explosive Wake we are all used to seeing. That, however, is not enough to ensure we are all going to see the Pro Bowl, All Pro Wake in 2016, so Miami’s defensive triplets ranking being held back some by the question mark about Wake is understandable.

Like we did with the offensive triples, we also take a look at the rest of the AFC East, where the New York Jets are ranked fifth in the league with cornerback Darrelle Revis, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. The New England Patriots at just one spot ahead of Miami in tenth with linebacker Jamie Collins, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and safety Devin McCourty. Finally, the Buffalo Bills are ranked 17th with defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

Do you think Miami is ranked fairly in this case? Will Wake’s 2016 performance pull their ranking back to a top-five ranking?