Dawg Blogs: 5 Guys You should Expect to make Significant Leaps in 2017

Kdawg954

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While I sit back and watch vets like Hoops and Hayden Fox give their week to week and season ending analysis, I figure I continue these Dawg Blog opportunities in the offseason in regards to current personnel, salary cap and free agency and attempt to give some insight into what can fit realistically into the future of the Miami Dolphins.

I first wanna take a look at what I believe to be 5 guys that I personally expect to make significant leaps in 2017.

1. Kenyan Drake - Too much talent to leave off the field. A nightmare matchup on third downs. The coaching staff clearly showed more trust in Damian Williams in 2016 as DW impressed in camp with his pass blocking and his "do it all" yeoman like work ethic but at some point it becomes difficult to overlook the offense's potential with Drake on the field. He'll have to work hard this offseason in pass protection but the combo of him and Ajayi in 2017 could be lethal for our offense. You get him and Jarvis in the slot on 3rd downs, it really fits into the wheelhouse of what Ryan Tannehill wants to do underneath and will open up what he can do on the outside. Also I would like to see him take over the KR duties full time. He is better than Grant on them.

*Damian Williams is a RFA this offseason. With the low tender offer creeping towards that 2 million mark, there is no guarantee he is resigned by Miami as it would make him the highest paid RB on the roster. Expect one the PS guys (Storm Johnson or Senorise Perry), or a late round/UDFA to have a shot at the #3 RB spot in 2017.


2. Leonte Carroo - I have Kenny Stills gone from the roster. It's not that I wouldn't want him back, I'm just looking at the roster and not finding room for a #3 WR on this team that will likely command #1/#2 money in FA. Everybody wants to fix the defense, but many also want to bring in 2 guards, extend Jarvis, resign Sims, draft Howard or Njoku, etc. You've gotta pick your poison at some point and this is mines. Step in Leonte Carroo. He was drafted to be the Stills replacement and the front office/coaching staff thought enough of him to give up 3 draft picks (2017 3rd, 2017 4th and a 2016 6th) to get the deal done. What idiots, am I right?

Kid is a playmaker. We worry about losing the big play ability of Stills, Leonte Carroo averaged 20.1 yards per reception his final 2 years at Rutgers. The man has "vise grips" for hands, dropping just 2 of 96 catchable balls over the time span. TDs? He had 29 in 30 career collegiate games. He's tough to bring down, has tremendous ball skills ala Devante Parker in many ways. He doesn't have the top end 4.38 combine speed Stills had, but ran an impressive 4.50 flat and was thoroughly disappointed with it. He's got enough speed. I fully expect the Parker/Carroo duo to continue what Miami has going at WR, with Jarvis in the slot. Good times ahead.

*Kenny Stills is a UFA this offseason. Will be one of the more sought after WRs on the market in 2017. Miami can maybe stretch 7 million per season, I think Kenny will end up in that 9 to 10 range when it is all said and done. Only 24

3. Thomas Duarte - The late 7th rounder in 2016 is ready to make an impact in 2017. He was always drafted as a guy that would need a year to bulk up, work on his blocking and refine the aspects of being a NFL TE. Since being drafted he's put on 16 pounds and when called up this year for the Sims injury, Adam Gase had this to say: “We’re seeing improvement in the run game and we obviously feel really good about him in the passing game,” Gase said. “His pass protection is getting better. He’s shown signs of improvement for us and we want to do the best job we can to stay in-house and be able to move guys up and give them the opportunity they deserve.” Now you should not envision Duarte as a #1 TE in 2016. He'll be a piece in the Gase offense, he's got some Jordan Reed in him and I personally think he'll fill void left by Charles Clay in this offense. I think he'll pair nicely with a resigned Dion Sims and a newly extended Marqueis Gray. He'll be active on special teams as well. He has a big offseason ahead of him. Continued strength training and work in both pass pro and specifically run blocking.

*Dion Sims is a UFA. I expect him back and as our #1 TE as he really has the tools to be a solid Anthony Fasano type for us. Fasano was at his best when he had a seam threat ala David Martin on the team. Expect the Sims deal to slide in around 4 years, 18 to 22 million. Jordan Cameron is done. Gray is resigned through 2018. Dominique Jones is in a similar situation as Damian Williams. Low Round tender closing towards 2 million, I do not expect him back.

4. Jordan Phillips - He's flashed the talent, but like many DT's in this league, the great ones flash it much more often. The Suh's and the Aaron Donalds come to mind. Ace players as rookies with remarkable motors. Jordan has to remain consistent. He is too damn good to be so ineffective on so many plays. His first 2 years are very similar to what Paul Soliai gave us for 2 years and the light started to come on in year 3 and flourished in year 4. I see a similar track for Phillips. He's not the run stuffer that Paul was but gives you much more from a penetrating the pocket standpoint. We passed on some pretty damn good LBs in the 2nd round of that draft, guys that I'm sure would be much more effective for us right now . . . so Phillips has to prove his doubters wrong and show up more consistently. Workout with Suh this offseason, such a huge benefit to him. I do expect in year 3 we'll see the talent that the front office envisioned when we drafted him.

*Suh under contract through 2020 and is going nowhere. Mitchell on the last year of his deal and its very cuttable at 3.5 million saved and only 500K towards dead cap . . . however there is a lack of depth at DT on this team right now so it is quite possible Miami sticks with Mitchell in 2017. Tony McDaniels was kept back in the day in a rotational role at 3 million. Warmsely is a DE/DT and could be ready to take an active role on the DLine in 2017. Dolphins ran with Nick Williams for the latter part of the year and they seem pretty high on him. He's an EFRA so expect him back to compete.


5. Devante Parker -
Easily the biggest X-Factor on this team. At times I feel like we have a top 10 playmaker on the outside but more often than not he is just an afterthought. First, he needs a completely healthy offseason. He needs to show a little maturity in regards to his conditioning. His ball skills are top notch and he's got a rapport with Ryan Tannehill. The pieces are there, it is time we saw it all come to fruition. He's a legit #1, with Gase on the headset and all the other options around him, Devante should have a stellar year in 2017.

*Juice on year 4 of a 4 year rookie deal, expect an extension this offseason. Kenny a UFA. Leonte on year 2 of 4 on a rookie deal. Rashawn Scott will be the favorite in that #4 role in 2017, will be on year 2 of his 3 year rookie deal. Jakeem Grant will still be limited to a returner/gadget #5 WR.

With 4 of these 5 guys offensive skill guys, the focus really needs to be at LB, OL and DE, with obvious depth added all over the defense. Just not much development available at those spots, unless you have your money on a hail mary from Dion Jordan. I don't.
 

Albert Romano

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Im just not sure about Duarte, maybe replace him with Howard although he had a good year it was derailed by the 2 surgeries a little, hoping for even more from him next year.
 

SkapePhin

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Its my hope that Drake and Ajayi can form a "lightning and thunder" duo like the Giants had in the early 2000s.
 

FinfanInBuffalo

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Good post but a large amount of wishful thinking. We'll be lucky for 1 or 2 of those guys to take a major step up. All 5 would be like winning the lottery. I think Parker and Drake are the most likely.
 

SkapePhin

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I also don't think Stills will leave. Gase seems to really like him and Stills seems to really want to be part of the team. I think they will make a deal.
 

Albert Romano

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I also don't think Stills will leave. Gase seems to really like him and Stills seems to really want to be part of the team. I think they will make a deal.
Maybe but keep in mind there is crazy money out there still. Take a look..

Still alot to teams with way more money than us and cap flexibility.

http://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space/

Wow do the Titans look set up..
 

TheWozz

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Great write up. Id really like to see those jumps as we could use the increased productivity that would come with all of them. Phillips bringing consistent high level play on the dline would be big. I think Drake could be quite a nice change of pace and a real weapon out of the backfield.

Im not sure that Carroo was earmarked to replace Stills as much as insurance against Parker not staying healthy plus FO and staff falling in love with the perceived value at that pick. I think there is a pretty good chance we keep Stills, but we'll find out soon enough.
 

Kdawg954

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Im just not sure about Duarte, maybe replace him with Howard although he had a good year it was derailed by the 2 surgeries a little, hoping for even more from him next year.
I just look at many first round mock ups and I see a loaded defensive draft. Howard won't be there if he has the type of combine that he is capable of, but even if he is, there are some really great LB prospects and I can't deal with what I saw from the middle of the defense another season.

I'm not expecting Duarte to be a slam dunk . . . I think Gase will use him as a piece in his grand offensive scheme. He's got the best pass catching tools out of all of the TEs on the roster, he was ready to go from that aspect in 2016, but he will continue to be a work in progress from a pass pro/run blocking standpoint. He'll need to work hard for coaches to develop the trust needed to be out there.
 

finmann

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Good read...Jordan Phillips is the one that I have spoken about the most, if the light as you say "comes on" he and Suh could wreck havoc over this league. But he seems to either be lazy, out of shape or not very good. However, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see what happens this year. Maybe working out with Suh is the answer, I don't know. By the way, has Suh been mentoring this guy?
 

Kingdom Come

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Good post but a large amount of wishful thinking. We'll be lucky for 1 or 2 of those guys to take a major step up. All 5 would be like winning the lottery. I think Parker and Drake are the most likely.
I don't agree. All five have either flashed or are well spoken of by the coaches and are doing what is asked of them. Even Duarte has added the weight they wanted and been working hard on his blocking. We already know he has great hands and can run routes like the WR he was in college.

Jordan Phillips looked like he was starting let loose and have some fun towards the end of the season. Too me, that is a super good sign. Always have to keep in mind, players are just people, and most are still very young. They need to have some fun doing this job or they end up burning out and becoming drug addicts like Dion Jordan and so many others.

If our guys ace the draft and free agency this year, things are looking up,wwaaaayyyyy up!
 

TheWozz

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I just look at many first round mock ups and I see a loaded defensive draft. Howard won't be there if he has the type of combine that he is capable of, but even if he is, there are some really great LB prospects and I can't deal with what I saw from the middle of the defense another season.
I think Albert meant Xavien improving on his rookie year at CB replacing Duarte on your list rather than OJ replacing him on the roster...I think...
 

Kdawg954

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Its my hope that Drake and Ajayi can form a "lightning and thunder" duo like the Giants had in the early 2000s.
Thats the idea. Need a road grader RG and health from the others. The talent is there from both backs for sure.

I also don't think Stills will leave. Gase seems to really like him and Stills seems to really want to be part of the team. I think they will make a deal.
From a numbers standpoint, I can't see it happening, but you are absolutely right, if the team really wants him and Kenny really wants to be here, then it certainly can get done. All I know is Gase was in that war room pounding the table for Leonte Carroo last year and its not likely to see him say "well yea I cosigned giving up those picks for him but now I really want Kenny as well and Jarvis to get a 8 figure extension". We'll see.
 

Kdawg954

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I think Albert meant Xavien improving on his rookie year at CB replacing Duarte on your list rather than OJ replacing him on the roster...I think...
Ahh yea, you know, I thought about Howard on that list, but the injuries and the fact that we are already so barren at CB, he's a shoe in to start. Hard to really get a good feel for what he has to improve on when he was thrusted into the top role regardless.

Sorry about that Albert.

---------- Post added at 09:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 AM ----------

Good post but a large amount of wishful thinking. We'll be lucky for 1 or 2 of those guys to take a major step up. All 5 would be like winning the lottery. I think Parker and Drake are the most likely.
It's not even major step ups, I expect those from Phillips and Parker. But getting a solid change of pace back in Drake, a seam threat option from Duarte and a #3 WR from Carroo would be feasible. Hey if they wanna go "all world" on us, they can do that too lol.
 

SkapePhin

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Thats the idea. Need a road grader RG and health from the others. The talent is there from both backs for sure.



From a numbers standpoint, I can't see it happening, but you are absolutely right, if the team really wants him and Kenny really wants to be here, then it certainly can get done. All I know is Gase was in that war room pounding the table for Leonte Carroo last year and its not likely to see him say "well yea I cosigned giving up those picks for him but now I really want Kenny as well and Jarvis to get a 8 figure extension". We'll see.
It still seems to me that Carroo was insurance for Parker as Carroo would replace Parker's skills more easily than Stills'. This offense needs Stills' speed, Carroo doesn't have that.
 
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