2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown
21. Miami Dolphins (AFC East)
2013 Record: 8-8
Head coach: Joe Philbin – Philbin got the Dolphins through the distractions of the “Bullygate” scandal, and managed to get the Dolphins to an 8-8 record last season which is an improvement over the 7-9 of 2012. If Philbin can find a way to get better pass protection from his offensive line, then Dolphins defense may get them a shot at the playoffs.
Best offensive player: Mike Pouncey, center – Pouncey was the sole Dolphins player on offense to be selected to the pro bowl last season, which was his first. However, Pouncey will be out of the lineup for at least three months due to hip surgery, and the Dolphins will have to find a way to make it without him.
Best defensive player: Cameron Wake, defensive end – Cameron Wake is one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. He has registered 51.5 sacks over the past five seasons for the Dolphins, and it looks as though he could be in for another big season in 2014.
Rising Star: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback – Tannehill improved last season over his rookie year. He had 24 TD passes, and threw for 3,913 yards. If the Dolphins can find a way to give him better pass protection, then Tannehill is likely to improve even more this season.
Best new addition: Branden Albert, left tackle – The Dolphins signed Brandon Albert as a free agent specifically to come in an provide stability at the left tackle position, and to help bring down the 58 sacks the Dolphins gave up last season. Albert is coming off of a pro bowl season, and should help the Dolphins immediately.
Biggest offseason loss: Paul Soliai, defensive tackle – Soliai was with the Dolphins for eight seasons and was a stalwart on their defensive front. And while he’s not irreplaceable, not having a player of his caliber up front in defensive line rotation will be felt by the Dolphins.
Biggest strength: The Dolphins biggest strength is at defensive end. They return pro bowler Cameron Wake and also Olivier Vernon who had a break out season last year with 11.5 sacks. And even though Dion Jordan will be serving a four game suspension, he could still develop into a good pass rusher adding to the rotation. NFL Power Rankings
Biggest weakness: The Dolphins biggest weakness is depth on the offensive line. With Mike Pouncey out due to hip surgery, quality depth on the Dolphins offensive line is dangerously thin. Yes they signed Branden Albert, but he can’t play all five positions. The Dolphins can only hope that they can hold things together until Pouncey can return. 2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown