The Miami Dolphins have been in the news throughout the offseason and well into the preseason, whether it’s been the signings of star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and highly coveted defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the potential signing of Dalvin Cook, or trading for Jonathan Taylor. It’s clear that the Dolphins are going all-in this year and inquiring at every possibility to bolster the roster.
Now that the trade dust has settled and the 53-man roster cuts have been made, it’s time to take a deeper look at the Dolphins' offensive position groups and grade where they’re at heading into week 1 of the regular season.
- Tua Tagovailoa, Skylar Thompson, Mike White
Starting with the face of the franchise position, we come in graded at a (B-). I flipped-flopped back and forth between going a little higher and where we landed because of the questions we still have at the position. Whether it’s Tua’s health, Skylar Thompson, or Mike White’s inconsistent play, it feels as if the Dolphins are still 1 probable injury away from being a below .500 team. That’s with a fully loaded roster too.
For the position group, I rate them lower than Tua’s talent level because the backups will be able to do the job. Run the offense, get the ball to playmakers, and don’t do anything crazy. Just manage, but I don’t see it. Skylar Thompson had a chance to secure the job, but had a really bad outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars who don’t have a highly-rated defense, let alone the backups. Mike White was also unimpressive this preseason and is battling a concussion. Need them to step up when their number is eventually called.
To go glass half full here, if Tua gives you 15 games, the position group is at least a (B+), and he’s done everything he could possibly do to build his body up to stay healthy through the season. He’s bulked up and stronger than ever. His Jiu-Jitsu lessons have given him more balance, and he’s learned to fall in ways that don’t make any impact on his head. He’s ready to take that next step.
If health isn’t an issue here, the Dolphins are off to the races. Tua has shown that he can be a top-10 quarterback, and in year two of Head Coach Mike McDaniel’s system, he’s going to do more of the same. I can see a top 5 offense this year. Just stay healthy.
Running Back: B
- Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Salvon Ahmed, De’Vone Achane(R), Chris Brooks (R), Alec Ingold (FB)
The Dolphins have been all over the running back market the last few months indicating that there was an immediate need to upgrade the position, but ultimately they didn’t overspend on the position and stayed with what they had in-house. I like the decision too. It’s not top 5, but I do think this group is deceptively deep. Even if health is an issue for Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., they’ve got dudes who can make plays behind them.
Mostert flashes elite burst, and top-end speed, but isn’t really able to do damage in short-yardage situations. Jeff Wilson Jr. was acquired last year midseason season to dispel that, but he’s had injury issues of his own. This in my eyes has led the offense to become a little too pass-happy, especially in those critical short-yardage situations.
The good news is that the Dolphins may have found their true short yardage back in rookie Chris Brooks who’s impressed in the preseason giving the offense a steady supply of angry runs, and always falls forward. If you’ve read some of my other posts about the running backs you know I’m a big Salvon Ahmed fan, and hope he gets the touches he deserves this year. The guy is a stud and should be our 3rd down back week 1, but that’s just me.
Wide Receiver: A+
- Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson, River Cracraft, Erik Ezukanma
There is no second thought here on how this position group is being graded. If I could give them a (A++) I would because they’re that good, and deep. There’s top-end talent with the future 2K man himself, Tyreek Hill, and the best WR2 in the league Jaylen Waddle. This duo will carry the offense, but they won’t need a bunch of targets to do so. Both get open downfield as much as anyone, and they’re two of the best at getting (YAC).
The top-end talent is great, but GM Chris Grier walked out of free agency with a sneaky steal in Braxton Berrios. He will be one of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s most trusted targets, and we already saw their chemistry blossom in the preseason. While Tyreek and Waddle are screaming downfield taking all the defense’s attention, Berrios will be running all those short routes, finding the holes in the defense.
The talent of this group is so deep that the Dolphins had to cut Chose Anderson who many thought could have a resurgence in Miami. There were flashes in training camp, but the depth with Cedrick Wilson, River Cracraft, and Erik “EZ” Ezukanma was too much for him to make the 53-man cut. This group is just that good.
Tight End: C-
- Durham Smythe, Julian Hill (R), Tyler Kroft
Most fans might say the Miami Dolphins have the worst tight end group in the league, and they could be right, but it depends on how you look at it. If you’re looking for route runners and playmakers, it’s the bottom tier. No argument there, but what if I told you that’s not how the position is going to be designed?
I see the position turning into an extra blocker whether it’s chipping edge rushers, or in there for maximum protection. The offense has more than enough weapons available to keep the tight end in for protection, or leaking out as a safety valve for Tua when needed. We won’t see many routes downfield from this position, but I would argue that it’s not needed.
Durham Smythe is an undercover solid tight end. He’s big, a solid blocker, and has trustworthy hands. He’s the guy in the play people will forget about until he strikes. Julian Hill is an undrafted rookie, but the coaching staff liked him enough to cut Elijah Higgins so that’s a plus. From what I’ve seen from the people who have watched training camp, he might be an absolute dog. Tyler Kroft was just signed today, and he’s solid depth at the position. No flash, but big and has reliable hands too.
As long as the position can get 2-5 catches a game, and be good in pass protection it’ll be extremely valuable to the offense, and Tua’s health.
Offensive Line: C+
- Terron Armstead, Isiah Wynn, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt, Austin Jackson, Lester Cotton, Liam Eichenberg, Kendall Lamm, Robert Jones, Kion Smith
The game of musical chairs has finally come to an end with Austin Jackson cemented at Right Tackle, and Isiah Wynn taking the Left Guard position from Liam Eichenberg. My first thought is that it’s a solid, middle-of-the-pack group, and that’s an upgrade from what we’ve had in the Tua era.
3/5 starters are guys we can count on talent-wise although health has been an issue for Star left tackle Terron Armstead who is also dealing with an injury going into the season. He’s indicated that he’ll be good to go, but someone with his injury history going into the season hurt is not a good sign.
Robert Hunt and Connor Williams are both great blockers and durable. We don’t need to worry about them outside Williams’ occasional rocket high snaps which I hope don’t happen much this year. Those are drive-killers, and he already had one of those in the preseason. It shouldn’t happen, and I think he’ll reel it in.
The other 2 starters Jackson, and Wynn are unknowns at this point. Long-time Dolphins reporter Omar Kelly stated that Austin Jackson has been the best lineman in camp on an episode of Another Dolphins Podcast, but I need to see it to believe it. If he’s right, and Wynn is just average we could see a top 10-15 offensive line. Kendall Lamm has impressed in the preseason too so if Armstead does miss time, I’m confident Lamm can hold it down. I have optimism in this group, but there are too many questions concerning health, and inconsistency so until they prove it, they’re graded as average.
Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with the grading and how you’d grade the position groups.