Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback released their list of the Top 400 Players in the NFL heading into the 2017 training camp season. Andy Benoit put together the massive list, and simply asked if player A did his job better than player b throughout the listing, and then ranked the players based on his thoughts. He did not include special teams players or rookies.
Now, before we get to the Miami Dolphins rankings on this list, I will caveat it with a statement that, these rankings are a little...odd. For example, Joe Flacco is ranked 136th overall, with Russell Wilson three spots behind him at 139th, then Carson Palmer at 155th, and Cam Newton at 162nd overall. Flacco over Wilson? And over Newton?
Since we are already talking quarterbacks, we will take a look at Miami’s Ryan Tannehill. The good thing is, he is on the first page of the full listing with explanations. The bad thing is, of course, it is a countdown, so he is in the 300-400 range. He is listed as the 347th player in the league, the 22nd quarterback on the list - out of 23 who made the list. Only the Kansas City Chiefs’ Alex Smith is behind him of the quarterbacks who made the list. Ahead of Tannehill is Andy Dalton (338), Marcus Mariota (297), Kirk Cousins (261), Sam Bradford (249), Dak Prescott (223), Carson Wentz (202), and Jameis Winston (164). That makes sense.
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips is ranked over 100 players ahead of Tannehill at 241. That makes sense.
Miami has 12 players make the list. Here are the players, with their rankings and the explanation that Benoit included:
Ryan Tannehill, QB - 347
Tannehill is approaching a crossroads season in his career. If he can't thrive in Adam Gase's scheme, and with the weapons Miami has around him, it'll be time for the Dolphins to move on. (I think he will thrive.)
Andre Branch, DE - 330
A bust in Jacksonville, Branch has found a home 350 miles south in Miami. You sometimes see that with guys who enter new schemes. You rarely see it with guys who change teams but stay in the same scheme, like Branch has.
Julius Thomas, TE - 327
Thomas has a chance to recapture his magic now that he's once again playing for Adam Gase. He'll be split out as a weakside receiver a lot. He wouldn't be a Dolphin if Gase didn't think he could win regularly on the perimeter.
Lawrence Timmons, LB - 275
He doesn't quite run like he used to, but Timmons should still improve Miami's reeling linebacking corps.
Jordan Phillips, DT - 241
Phillips possesses outstanding initial quickness for his size. He will likely always be underrated while playing alongside Ndamukong Suh.
Jay Ajayi, RB - 186
He was once considered more of a gap scheme runner'someone who follows specific blockers through fairly specific running lanes. But Miami has discovered, under Adam Gase, that Ajayi is actually outstanding on outside zone runs, which is usually where slashing runners thrive.
Laremy Tunsil, OT - 182
Tunsil is ranked relatively low only because he hasn't played much left tackle in the NFL. Give him three or four weeks and he could emerge as the best young left tackle in football. His springy movement is unreal.
Jarvis Landry, WR - 178
He's a shifty playmaker, but Adam Gase's offense is tailored for regimented receivers who execute their routes on time and with precision. With a few tightened screws, Landry could be great.
Reshad Jones, S - 142
Jones is a high-risk, high-reward safety who can make plays in space or down in the box. The further he is in the box, the less dicey his risk-taking becomes.
Cameron Wake, DE - 134
How many players in history could have torn their Achilles at age 33 and still recorded 11.5 sacks at age 34? With the trade for ex-Ram William Hayes and first-round selection of Charles Harris, Wake can fully settle in as a pass-rushing specialist. This will prolong his career.
Mike Pouncey, C - 80
Supremely talented in the same ways as his twin brother, but durability is a concern. Pouncey has missed 19 games over the last four years, including 11 in 2016.
Ndamukong Suh - 51
Suh can beat you with sudden strength or gradual strength. Either way, he's stronger than your blocker.
Just for the record, the top player in the league, according to this list is Tom Brady, followed by J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, and Le’Veon Bell.