The football season is still a few months away but it is never too early to start analyzing your favorite teams’ roster. The Miami Dolphins had a very aggressive off-season which saw them add the likes of Greg Jennings, DeVante Parker, Jordan Cameron, Ndamukong Suh and more. In this column, I will list the top 50 players on the Miami Dolphins roster in a power rankings format.
50. JD Walton - Center/Guard
If he has to start, it won’t be a good thing but Walton brings depth to multiple positions along the interior of the Miami offensive line.
49. Zach Vigil - Linebacker
Will Vigil make the team? That is to be determined but one thing for sure is that the camp battle between Vigil, Jeff Luc, and Mike Hull will be interesting as one of them has a chance to make the team and contribute.
48. Jeff Luc - Linebacker
Please review the notes above for Vigil. One interesting thing with Luc is that he grew up a huge Dolphins fan.
47. Mike Hull - Linebacker
Again, please review above notes on Vigil and Luc. With that said, I think Hull has the passion and skill to win the battle.
46. Zack Bowman - Defensive Back
Bowman is a special teams’ ace but he will have a tough battle ahead of him to make the final roster. The Dolphins invested draft picks in two defensive backs (Bobby McCain and Cedric Thompson) who can contribute to special teams immediately as well.
45. Matt Hazel - Receiver
Hazel was impressive during rookie-camp and with Rishard Matthews wanting out of Miami, Hazel could find himself as the fifth receiver on this team.
44. Damien Williams - Running-Back
Williams flashed good running ability in limited opportunities as the Dolphins’ number two back but he will have to fight off impressive rookie Jay Ajayi to maintain that spot.
43. Bobby McCain - Cornerback
I don’t expect much contribution from McCain in his rookie campaign unless it comes on special teams but I do think this kid has a future. He is a feisty, aggressive player in the mold of Cortland Finnegan.
42. Jeff Linkenbach - Guard
He will be a depth guy more than likely but is important to remember he has more playoff starts than every offensive lineman on our roster besides Branden Albert.
41. Kelvin Sheppard - Linebacker
Sheppard might have an opportunity to start but I don’t think he is good enough. Sheppard is a core special teams’ player that provides depth at the linebacker position.
40. Terrance Fede - Defensive End
Fede closed out a win against the Minnesota Vikings by blocking a punt in his rookie season and will have a chance to contribute more now that Dion Jordan is suspended for the entire season.
39. Anthony Johnson - Defensive Tackle
Johnson is a good player and in my opinion, he is a starter in this league but he is buried on the Miami depth chart.
38. Rishard Matthews - Receiver
Matthews is a solid player but the Dolphins are loaded at receiver. Matthews is unhappy and wants out of Miami. The Dolphins would be wise to send Matthews away for a late draft pick.
37. Jordan Tripp - Linebacker
Tripp is a favorite of the coaches down in Miami and will be one of the most interesting players to watch during training camp. The Dolphins have two starters at linebacker in Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins but it remains to see who the third is.
36. Spencer Paysinger - Linebacker
Paysinger was an interesting signing that will be battling Jordan Tripp for a starting position. The savvy veteran, Paysinger, is the odds on favorite.
35. Walt Aikens - Defensive Back
Aikens was one of the MVPs of the rookie-camp but with Louis Delmas and Michael Thomas returning, Aikens is far from a lock to make the roster.
34. Michael Thomas - Defensive Back
Thomas had a game-ending interception off of Tom Brady two years ago and is a solid nickel-back. He showed lots of promise and improvement before being put on injured reserve halfway through last season.
33. Jamil Douglas - Offensive Line
It won’t be long for Douglas to off-seat Dallas Thomas for the starting left guard position.
32. Chris McCain - Linebacker
McCain won’t be an every down player but with the Jordan's suspension, he will have an opportunity to flourish as a linebacker in pass rushing situations.
31. Matt Moore - Quarterback
Matt Moore is a valuable backup that can win games if needed and could start for a handful of teams in the NFL.
30. Caleb Sturgis - Kicker
When the Dolphins drafted Sturgis, I really thought he would develop into one of the better kickers in the NFL but instead has been a major disappointment.
29. Dallas Thomas - Offensive Line
I think Thomas has nightmares of Mario Williams after the ass-kicking he received from him last season. With that said, Thomas is the teams’ current starter at left guard.
28. Jason Fox - Offensive Tackle
Fox was a very good swing tackle for the Dolphins and filled in nicely once given the opportunity late in the 2014 season.
27. Dion Sims - Tight End
I thought Sims would have a chance to start once Charles Clay left for Buffalo but Miami signed Jordan Cameron. Sims is a very solid number two tight end.
26. Jordan Phillips - Defensive Tackle
Phillips was an absolute steal for the Dolphins in round two of the 2015 NFL draft. Phillips has a chance to grow into Miami’s version of Nick Fairley playing next to Ndamukong Suh.
25. Brice McCain - Cornerback
McCain is an excellent nickel cornerback that could start if Jamar Taylor struggles.
24. Billy Turner - Guard
The Dolphins have Turner penciled into the right guard position and while hopes are high, it is not a certainty that he will play at a high level. We'll see how he progresses during the next few months.
23. Greg Jennings - Receiver
Jennings is the fourth best receiver on the Dolphins which speaks to the strength of the position to the team. Jennings will bring veteran leadership to a young receiving core.
22. Jay Ajayi - Running-Back
The Dolphins should be arrested and charged with theft with their selection of Jay Ajayi in round five of the 2015 NFL draft. Ajayi runs like Marshawn Lynch and will give Miami a very good one-two punch with Ajayi/Miller.
21. Jamar Taylor - Cornerback
Taylor is a guy I had ranked as a top 15 prospect in the 2013 NFL draft. He will have a chance to start in 2015 and it should be noted that he played well before being injured in 2014.
20. Derrick Shelby - Defensive Line
Keeping Shelby on the team was an underrated move by the Dolphins. Shelby is stout against the run and brings toughness to the team.
19. Brandon Fields - Punter
Fields is a top five punter in the league and gives the Dolphins a leg above the competition when it comes to field position.
18. Earl Mitchell - Defensive Tackle
Mitchell started strong in 2014 but fizzled as the season went on. However, with Suh and Phillips now aboard, I expect Mitchell to have a very good season.
17. Kenny Stills - Receiver
The Dolphins have their new Mike Wallace without the attitude. Stills is a big-play, deep threat that has a very high reception % for passes over twenty-yards.
16. Koa Misi - Linebacker
Misi is one of Joe Philibin’s favorite players and while he doesn’t put up eye-popping numbers, he has been Mr. Consistent for the Dolphins over the past several years.
15. Jordan Cameron - Tight End
The Dolphins lost Clay but still upgraded the position. Cameron was a Pro-Bowler two seasons ago despite poor quarterback play and will instantly become a red zone threat for Ryan Tannehill.
14. JaWuan James - Right Tackle
James played very well at right tackle before moving over to left tackle after the injury to Branden Albert where he still played decently. The truth is that James outplayed higher regarded offensive linemen (Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, and Glen Robinson) from his draft class.
13. DeVante Parker - Receiver
It won’t be long before Parker is way higher on this list. Parker’s game reminds me of AJ Green in Cincinnati and there is no doubt that Tannehill is happy to have this big-time target.
12. Jarvis Landry - Receiver
Landry is a pass-catching machine that is lethal out of the slot. Landry proved he could move the chains and find the end zone in his rookie campaign and I expect him to continue on this path in 2015.
11. Olivier Vernon - Defensive End
Vernon was a beast two seasons ago accounting for 11.5 sacks and played well in 2014 but I expect this season to be his best considering he is in a contract year and the addition of Suh.
10. Lamar Miller - Running-Back
Producing 1,000 yard running backs is not a specialty of the Dolphins but Miller eclipsed that mark in his first season as the primary starter. His 1,099 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns were impressive and I expect even better in 2015.
9. Jelani Jenkins - Linebacker
What a gem this guy turned out to be as he is without question the best linebacker on this team. Jenkins finds the football, tackles, and makes plays.
8. Louis Delmas - Safety
Delmas was playing at a Pro Bowl level before an injury cost him the 2014 season. He is the best communicator on the team and brings leadership to a young defense. The good news is that reports state that Delmas is way ahead on his rehab and will be ready by training camp.
7. Reshad Jones - Safety
Jones is one of the best strong safeties in the NFL. He can cover, he can hit, and he can make plays. He was much better when he and Delmas were on the field at the same time.
6. Mike Pouncey - Center
I am so glad that Mike Pouncey is moving back to center where he is one of the league’s bests at the position. He should be happy that Miami gave him a new contract and will continue to be the leader of the unit.
5. Branden Albert - Offensive Tackle
The Dolphins’ season ended when Albert suffered a season-ending season against the Detroit Lions. Before the injury, Albert was Pro Football Focus’ 4th rated offensive tackle and Tannehill was kept relatively clean.
4. Brent Grimes - Cornerback
Grimes is among the best cornerbacks in the NFL coming off of a second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance representing the Dolphins. The highlight of the 2014 season for my money was his one-handed interception against the Lions on a play where he was covering Calvin Johnson.
3. Ryan Tannehill - Franchise Quarterback
Tannehill has shown drastic improvement every year he has been in the league and his 2014 campaign should have had him in Hawaii. The Dolphins just rewarded him with a new long-term contract showing their faith in him. Tannehill gets Albert back protecting his blind side and has a plethora of weapons (Cameron, Landry, Jennings, Stills, Parker) at his disposal so I am expecting a big time jump for him in 2015.
2. Cameron Wake - Defensive End
Wake is among the best defensive players in the NFL. He has a non-stop motor and a knack for creating havoc. I cannot wait to see just how good he is playing next to Suh.
1. Ndamukong Suh - Defensive Tackle
Elite. Dominant. Force. Need I go on? Suh might be the best football player to play for the Dolphins since Dan Marino. Suh completely changes this defense and the culture of this football team. The Dolphins who some label as “soft” added the biggest badass in the entire league. The Dolphins already had one of the best defensive lines in the league and adding Suh takes them and the defense as a whole to the next level.
This column was written by Neal Driscoll. Follow him on Twitter: @NealDriscoll