The Miami Dolphins saw the future of the team come together over the weekend with the 2017 NFL Draft class and several undrafted free agents joining a nucleus that made the playoffs in 2016, the first postseason appearance for the franchise since 2008. Miami attacked the draft with the basic understanding of where their needs were, where they needed depth, and where they needed younger. This weekend’s selection process was as much about the future of the Dolphins as it was the 2017 present.
Today also marked a change for SB Nation. Our parent company underwent a change for the future today, redesigning their website. In that change, you will notice a slight update to our site’s logo - and I think it looks pretty good to add the sunrays into the look. Eventually, we will see the layout changes come all the way down to us - so you can check out SBNation.com for a look into the future of The Phinsider.
Using that idea as inspiration, today, we are going to take a look at the Dolphins and come up with five predictions for the future of the franchise - five years from now. How will the Dolphins look?
Adam Gase has succeeded Bill Belichick as the top head coach in the AFC East. Eventually, Tom Brady is going to retire. The New England Patriots will fall from their perch one day - I think. When that happens, the question is, will Belichick, who will be turning 70 in five years, want to stick around and re-build, or will he retire along with Brady? In five years, with six years of head coaching experience under his belt, Dolphins head coach Gase should be in a position to establish himself as the top head coach in the division - and probably among the top coaches in the league.
Dolphins defense rivals Killer Bs, No-Name Defense. Every Miami Dolphins fan remembers fondly the Dan Marino era offense for the team - but that is not the actual tradition of the Dolphins. Miami was built into a championship team in the 1970s based around their defense, not their offense. Bob Griese is a Hall of Fame quarterback, but it was that No-Name defense that got him there. The Dolphins, with this draft class, seem to be positioning themselves to return to the era of a dominant defense. Miami added to their defense this year with defensive end Charles Harris, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor. In five years, if these picks, and another draft class or two, are playing to their full potential, Miami should be a scary defense for any team to face.
Jarvis Landry will be recognized among the great wide receivers in the game. Landry, as he finished his third season in the NFL in 2016, was receiving recognition as one of the top slot receivers in the game. Pro Football Focus recently called Landry the most dangerous slot receiver in the game. He has two Pro Bowl appearances under his belt and people are starting to realize what kind of talent the “other LSU receiver” has. He actually is tied for the NFL record with his former LSU teammate Odell Beckham, Jr., for the most receptions in a player’s first three seasons in the league. Landry is great - and in five years, the league should fully recognize just how special he is. And not just as a slot receiver, but as a receiver, period.
People have forgotten about Laremy Tunsil’s draft day video. Whenever Tunsil is mentioned in reference to Miami picking him with the 13th overall selection in 2016, there has to be a mention of the draft-day video release of him wearing a gas mask and appearing to smoke marijuana. The video scared teams away from a player who was rated among the elite in that draft, with Miami stopping the fall. Now, after a year of playing left guard, the Dolphins are installing Tunsil in his natural position of left tackle, trading away a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle in Branden Albert to make room for Tunsil. The potential for Tunsil to become one of the top offensive linemen in the league is there, and now he just has to reach it. In five years, when people mention Tunsil, it will not be because of the video, but rather as one of the top left tackles in the game.
The Hall of Fame resume of Reshad Jones will be discussed. In five years, Jones, Miami’s fifth-round pick in 2010, will be 34 and closer to the end of his career than the beginning. At that point, he will have played 12 years and should still be among the top safeties in the league. He only has one Pro Bowl appearance thus far, but his 2016 campaign was cut short due to injury, and he looked to be a shoe-in for a second straight trip to the all-star game before his shoulder surgery. With five more years under his belt, Jones should not just be considered a top safety in the game, but should be looked at as a potential Hall of Famer.
Which five-year prediction do you feel most confident about happening?
This poll is closed
Adam Gase top AFC East coach
Dolphins defensive rivals Killer Bs, No-Name Defense
Jarvis Landry among top NFL WRs
Laremy Tunsil’s video is forgotten
Reshad Jones making HOF case