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Future first-time Pro Bowl players for Dolphins

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Denver Broncos v Miami Dolphins Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt recently released a list of “prime candidates” from each NFL team who could make their first career Pro Bowl in 2018, starting with the AFC. The Miami Dolphins have several young players who could fit the bill. Where did Brandt look for the Dolphins’ candidate?

Probably in the place that could make the most sense among those young players. Brandt selected cornerback Xavien Howard as the prime candidate for Miami.

After a rookie season hampered by injury, Howard started 16 games in 2017, finishing with 13 passes defensed and four interceptions -- including two of Tom Brady in one game. He plays the game well.

But is ”X“ the only choice for the Dolphins? There are probably a few more who, with a good year, could see their first all-star selection.

  • Ryan Tannehill - the Dolphins’ seventh-year quarterback may no longer fit the “young” player category for the team, but he would be making his first Pro Bowl if selected. Tannehill was playing really well before being injured at the end of the 2016 season, so if he can return to that form for the entire 2018 season, with the Dolphins starting to pick up wins they did not have last year without Tannehill, Miami’s quarterback could have a case for the Pro Bowl.
  • Kenyan Drake - coming into his third season, Drake is set up to be the starter for the team, leading a group that includes veteran Frank Gore and rookie Kalen Ballage. Drake finished the season among the league leaders in rushing yards after he was installed as the team’s starting running back, and the Dolphins believe that can continue this year. Head coach Adam Gase wants a multiple runner attack, riding the hot hand each week, but Drake could break out and become a true feature back, leading to a Pro Bowl berth.
  • Kenny Stills - with Jarvis Landry now in Cleveland, the Dolphins are looking to move the ball around more in the passing game. Stills could become the biggest beneficiary of that. In 2016, with Tannehill at quarterback for most of the season, Stills a 17.3 yards per reception average, the second highest average of his career and the highest since his rookie season in 2013.In 2017, with Jay Cutler and Matt Moore under center, Stills saw his average fall nearly 3 yards per reception, down to 14.6. If Tannehill and Stills can get back on the same page quickly, Stills could have a big year.
  • Danny Amendola - another player who does not fit the “younger” player model, but definitely could be in line for a first Pro Bowl. If Landry could make the Pro Bowl as Miami’s slot receiver, there probably is no reason why the player brought in to replace Landry does not have a chance to make the Pro Bowl. Amendola would likely have to catch over 100 passes for him to make the Pro Bowl.
  • Raekwon McMillan - the Dolphins’ starting middle linebacker missed all of his rookie campaign after tearing his ACL on kickoff coverage on the opening kick of the preseason. McMillan was receiving rave reviews about his ability to grasp the defense and to take charge - which we are hearing again this year as he looks to come back and assume the position that was almost his last year. This season might be a little too quick to assume McMillan could become a Pro Bowl selection, but if he is able to live up to the hype, there is no reason to not think he will be a consideration.
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick - the Dolphins’ first-round selection this season has the potential to be a dominating player in the secondary for Miami for years to come. He has the versatility to play just about anywhere from boundary cornerback to a center-fielder style free safety. The Dolphins’ coaches have been using him all over the secondary throughout the team’s offseason training program, and he has been showing his talent, with teammates reporting that he led the team in interceptions this spring. If he can continue with that, Fitzpatrick could become a rookie Pro Bowl selection.

Poll

Who will be the next Dolphins first-time Pro Bowl selection?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Ryan Tannehill
    (213 votes)
  • 19%
    Kenyan Drake
    (201 votes)
  • 1%
    Kenny Stills
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Danny Amendola
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    Raekwon McMillan
    (33 votes)
  • 24%
    Xavien Howard
    (251 votes)
  • 27%
    Minkah Fitzpatrick
    (282 votes)
1010 votes total Vote Now