The Miami Dolphins are just weeks away from kicking off their 2023 training camp, and with that, grades are due. Where do the Dolphins excel, and where do they fall short?
Tua Tagovailoa, Mike White, and Skylar Thompson will likely be Miami’s three quarterbacks on Week 1 of next season, and guess what? That’s a solid group, really solid. When healthy, Tagovailoa is one of the best signal callers in the league, and White is a formidable backup. And Thompson, while still raw, made great strides in 2022, and did well to propel Miami into the playoffs at the end of the season.
Running Back: B
While improvements are welcomed, the Dolphins’ running back room is still good. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. form a solid 1-2 punch, and rookie Devon Achane brings some more blazing speed to the room. Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin round out the group, but don’t expect either to play a massive role in Miami’s offense next season.
Wide Receiver: A+
Perhaps Miami’s best position group across both sides of the ball, the Dolphins’ wide receiver room receives a near perfect score from me. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle were the deadliest tandem in the league last year, and the Dolphins recently signed Braxton Berrios and Chosen Anderson in free agency, adding to an already skilled group.
Tight End: C
With the loss of Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins tight end group is fairly unproven. Durham Smythe excels as a blocker, but has yet to show any spark as a receiver. Tanner Conner will look to make a big jump in his second year with the team, and free agent signing Eric Saubert brings much needed depth to Miami’s tight end room. However, until they show something on the field, they receive a C.
Offensive Line: C
Last season, the Dolphins’ offensive line was graded as the 20th best in the league by Pro Football Focus, and that’s about where I’d grade them heading into this season. The future of center Connor Williams is still up in the air, and bar left tackle Terron Armstead, this is a fairly lackluster group. If the Dolphins want to make a Super Bowl run next season, improvements are needed.
Defensive Tackle: A-
On paper, Miami’s defense is legit, and it starts in the trenches. Christian Wilkins has established himself as one of the league’s best interior lineman, and he’s accompanied by Zach Sieler, one of the NFL’s most underrated players. Add to that Raekwon Davis, and you’ve got an extremely solid group.
Defensive End: A-
The Dolphins continue their dominance in the trenches, with the tandem of Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb, two of the NFL’s premier edge rushers. Although the pair only managed 9.5 sacks combined last season, the talent is there. Phillips led the team with 25 quarterback hits, and Chubb wasn’t far behind in 3rd (12 quarterback hits). Give it time, and they’ll come along.
Rival #NFL executive on Miami #Dolphins' Jaelan Phillips:— Sumeet (@flameosumeet) June 19, 2023
“Jaelan will be an All-Pro this season in Vic Fangio’s defense, opposite Bradley Chubb. By Week 10, Phillips could be making a strong push to be the league’s defensive player of the year.”#FinsUp pic.twitter.com/10QqYlnTap
The Dolphins’ linebacking core has been average for a few years now, and it doesn’t look like that’ll change in 2023. David Long Jr. was a nice pickup in free agency, but the Dolphins need more. There’s potential for Channing Tindall to make massive strides in his second year, but it remains to be seen whether that’s likely.
Far and away Miami’s best positional group on defense, the Dolphins’ cornerbacks are flat-out elite. Xavien Howard, Jalen Ramsey, Nik Needham, and Kader Kohou highlight an extremely talented secondary, and if healthy, they’ll go on to do great things next season under new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio.
In just his 2nd year, Jevon Holland has become one of the league’s best safeties, but he can’t do it all on his own. Brandon Jones, Holland’s partner-in-crime in the secondary, suffered a nasty injury last season, and it’s unclear whether he’ll return to the same level he once was. Until then, Miami’s safeties grade out at a B+ level.
Is this the year Jason Sanders returns to normal? Only time will tell, but the Dolphins could use an All-Pro level kicker again. Sanders only made 26 of his 32 field goal attempts last season (81.5%), 25th-best in the league last year. He receives a C+ heading into the 2023 NFL season, purely for the level we know he’s capable of reaching.
The Dolphins brought in punter Jake Bailey in free agency, who earned All-Pro honors in 2020. Bailey was considered as the top punter in the NFL that season, with an average punt distance of 48.7 yards, and a net of 45.6. He’s a ways away from that level now, but he’s still a very decent player, and the Dolphins should expect good performances out of him next season.
What do you think of these grades? Are they too nice? Too harsh? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, or on Twitter at @ThePhinsider!