The 2016 Miami Dolphins have a lot to prove. They have a brand new head coach, a quarterback with question marks still surrounding him, a completely rebuilt cornerback corps, and an offensive line that needs to prove they can protect the quarterback and open running lanes.
They also have several players who need to make a comeback after the 2015 season. Earlier today, Cover 32 posted their top five Comeback player of the year candidates, and there were no Dolphins players listed. However, there should be at least three Dolphins players in consideration for the award.
3. Mario Williams, defensive end
Williams is coming to Miami after spending a season playing out of position as an outside linebacker instead of a defensive end. He only tallied 5.5 sacks on the year, after averaging 12.3 sacks a year the three preceding seasons, with two Pro Bowl and one First-Team All-Pro selections. If the former first-overall pick (2006) can find anything like the player he was his first three years with the Buffalo Bills (2012-2014), he has to be considered for comeback player of the year.
2. Arian Foster, running back
The Dolphins signed Foster this week, adding a veteran to a very young running back corps. Foster tore his Achilles tendon last year on Week 7, against the Dolphins; now, he will be looking to comeback with Miami. In 2014, Foster gained 1,246 yards with eight touchdowns, even though he only played in 13 games that season, earning his fourth career Pro Bowl selection. He has had a rough three seasons, missing 23 games over that span. If he is capable of finding his Pro Bowl form, at age 30 and after an Achilles tear, Foster should be close to the top in comeback player of the year consideration, surpassing Williams in that race.
1. Cameron Wake, defensive end
Wake will battle Foster in making the case for comeback player of the year among players who tore their Achilles last year. For Miami’s second all-time sack master, the injury came in Week 8, after he tallied his seventh sack of the year. In comparison, New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon, who signed an $85 million deal this offseason leaving Miami, tallied 7.5 sacks over the entire season. Wake was on his way to a special year when the injury happened. If he comes back anywhere close to that player, at age 34 and coming off a huge injury, Wake simply should be the comeback player of the year.