With the NFL draft now in the past, and free agent signings relatively wrapped up we are fast approaching the start of a new football season in a couple months. A lot of different moves have been made, and this is SONTLive writer Simon Villanoz evaluation of every team’s offseason as of now. A division will be evaluated every week and a team released one by one. Today we cover :
The Miami Dolphins
Minkah Fitzpatrick (11)
Mike Gesicki (42)
Jerome Baker (73)
Durham Smythe (123)
Kalen Ballage (131)
Cornell Strong (209)
Quentin Poling (207)
Jason Sanders (209)
Miami’s season ended when they let Jay Cutler be their starting quarterback. I believed Kaepernick could’ve gotten them to the playoffs, but they decided to go the Cutler route and ended with winning 6 games. In addition, they traded Jay Ajayi for pretty much nothing. Kenyan Drake didn’t have a bad season, but they definitely were lacking at running back.
Their offseason was a bit rough. They traded Jarvis Landry who was their youngest Pro Bowler on the roster last season. In addition, they let go of Ndamukong Suh who was one of the best defensive tackles in the league last year. Then they lost their starting center in Mike Pouncey to the Chargers. In free agency, they addressed their offensive line issues by signing Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore. Miami also brought in Frank Gore to give them a little bit more at running back, but don’t expect him to make much noise for more than one season. In an attempt to replace Jarvis Landry, they signed Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. Miami at least tried to replace Landry, but I just don’t think those receivers will match his production or impact for the Dolphins. They also signed Brock Osweiler, but you can expect him to be cut before the season even starts.
Miami’s draft did a lot to rescue their struggling offseason, but not much. They’d select Minkah Fitzpatrick with their first-round pick, which I believe is as safe a pick as any. He can play either cornerback or safety well, which are both needs for this Dolphins team. The Dolphins would take the former Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in the 2nd round, who should be an instant upgrade over Julius Thomas who they let go. Gesicki may have been the best tight end in this draft, and he upgrades another need the Miami Dolphins had going into the offseason. They would then add linebacker Jerome Baker who I think will be able to strengthen a pedestrian Miami linebacker crew. Finally, the last good pick I’d like to talk about was the power running back Kalen Ballage they took from Arizona State. I think he may have been a sleeper in this draft. When I moved to Colorado Springs as a kid, I heard of this running back who was apparently the best in the state. He went to Falcon High School which is where a number of my own friends met him, and it’s very close to where I lived. He’s always been an old-school power back, who just knocked people out when he ran. Ballage has the body of a linebacker, yet he still churns out good production when given his touches. I think he’s a great complement to the speedy style of Kenyan Drake, and I can see Ballage cutting into his playing time stealing red zone snaps possibly.
Miami’s draft would save them from having a rough offseason grade. They lost a lot of key players and starters who they were just barely able to replace through free agency and the draft. This division will belong to the Patriots no matter how much any team in this division improves, but the Patriots dynasty won’t last forever and being prepared for the future is always important.
Miami Dolphins Final Grade: C-