Dolphins Stock Market: Who’s Rising and Who’s Falling?
The Dolphins have had a roller-coaster type season and it is only week 4. Through some of the poor showings, there have been players that have taken the next step. The unwritten rule is that drafted players should be given three years to showcase their skills and prove that they can live up to their potential. As for free-agent signings, they must play well from day one. Throughout the years we have seen the Dolphins miss on countless draft picks and free agents. The front office has also done a poor job at resigning talented players, which has resulted in those players leaving. General manager Chris Grier must learn from the organization’s mistakes and reward players for performing. The 2019 Miami Dolphins roster was comprised of about 50% undrafted free agents. This allowed young players the opportunity to get extended playing time and time for the team to see which players were worth keeping. The Dolphins did not really spend much in the 2019 offseason, which set them up to make big splashes in 2020. With financial and draft capital, the Dolphins claimed they could “do whatever they wanted,” and they did just that. The Dolphins handed out nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in free-agent contracts by adding 10 new faces to the team. Miami also added 11 new draft picks and many of them are contributing already. In this article, we take a look at which players stock is going up and who is dropping.
DL Christian Wilkins
The 2019 #13 overall pick has performed at a high level this season. Wilkins has quickly turned into one of Miami’s best players and a fan favorite. Whenever the Dolphins score, you can see Wilkins sprint into the end zone to celebrate with the offense. Wilkins has logged 11 combined tackles on the season and currently leads all interior defensive lineman with a 61% run stop rate. You can contribute some of Wilkins’ success to defensive line coach Marion Hobby, who coached Wilkins at Clemson in 2016. Wilkins has deflected a lot of thrown balls this season to go along with his run-stuffing. This Dolphins defense has not been able to stop the rush all season but Wilkins has been a solid force upfront thus far.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel
Van Ginkel did not play much in week 1 but saw his snap count increase the past two games. Andrew has done the most with his playing time and has shown that he belongs on the field. The Dolphins linebacker has 8 combined tackles on the year to go along with 1.5 sacks. The sack numbers are the most impressive part of Van Ginkel’s game. It always seems that he is making his presence known and getting solid pressure on the QB. Van Ginkel is 5thamong all linebackers with at least 20 pass rushes in pressure percentage. Miami seemed to figure out their pass rush deficiencies in week 3 and Van Ginkel was a big part of that. This is a player that deserves more playing time and we will see if he gets it in the coming weeks.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) October 1, 2020
LB Kyle Van Noy
The Dolphins signed Van Noy to a 4-year, $51 million dollar contract this offseason. Van Noy spent the last 4 seasons in New England before coming to south beach. Being a big-time player in New England meant that Dolphin fans expected him to perform admirably in Miami. Van Noy has done just that and more. Van Noy has to clean up his missed tackles and not allow Bills QB Josh Allen to truck him again, but Kyle has made a number of big plays for the team. He has 12 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles so far on the season. Last week he stripped Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew and was also able to recover the loose ball. Van Noy ranks #1 in pressure rate among all linebackers with 9 and has a 90.1 pass-rush grade after 3 weeks. Van Noy is Miami’s most reliable linebacker and has been nothing short of fantastic in 2020.
RG Solomon Kindley & LT Austin Jackson
The Dolphins currently have two rookies starting on their offensive line and both have been pleasant surprises. Anytime you have a rookie starting on the line, it is going to come with a learning curve. That’s not the case in both players’ short, 3-week careers. Kindley, the 111thoverall pick out of Georgia, secured a starting role in training camp. Many believed it would be rookie Robert Hunt starting at right guard for Miami but it’s been Kindley who has shined. On 120 pass-blocking snaps, Kindley has only allowed 4 QB pressures and 0 sacks. As for Miami’s second 1stround pick, Jackson has only committed one penalty to go along with 0 sacks allowed as well. Besides improving on their run blocking, there should be minimal complaints against these two. It is very important for both of these players to get as many reps as possible before Tua Tagovailoa takes over at quarterback. The Dolphins’ main concern should be creating a brick wall in front of Tua and it seems as though the left tackle and right guard positions are taken care of.
RB Myles Gaskin
Second-year man Myles Gaskin has been another bright spot on this Dolphins team. In the offseason, Miami brought in running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida to uplift a lifeless rush attack. Neither of those guys has performed and it is Gaskin who has taken over RB1 duties. Gaskin always seems to create a positive play. Whether it is turning a loss into a 1-yard gain or making a defender miss, Gaskin has proved he can do it all. Coach Brian Flores had very high praise for Myles and claims, “he is everything you envision a Miami Dolphin to be.” Gaskin is a three-down back and quite dangerous in the passing game. He is currently tied for 4thin receptions for running backs with Ezekiel Elliott with 15 catches. A player that was on the bubble to even make the team this season is now Miami’s lead horse and someone to game plan against.
Honorable mention: Mike Gesicki, Matt Haack, Jason Sanders
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) October 1, 2020
RB’s Jordan Howard & Matt Breida
Both Howard and Breida have not lived up to the offseason hype. Ever since entering the league, Howard’s rushing yards have decreased every season. So far this year, Howard has 16 attempts for only 12 yards. Although he has scored in each of Miami’s first three games, Howard is having trouble punching it in at the goal line. It sometimes takes him two or three attempts to score from inside the 3-yard line. As for Breida, he was supposed to be a weapon for Miami’s offense in the screen game. Besides a nice route against Jacksonville resulting in pass interference, Breida has been non-existent. Breida was supposed to be a big-play weapon for Miami. I still expect Breida to make some big plays this season, but through 3 weeks, he has not. Myles Gaskin has taken over the running back room, but now Howard or Breida must step-up to secure the backup role.
CB Nik Needham
Needham, coming off a very strong 2019 season, is underperforming. The former undrafted rookie was one of the few bright spots for Miami last year. The Dolphins seemed to have found a gem and a solid starter going forward. When the Dolphins signed Byron Jones and drafted Noah Igbinoghene, many believed Needham would remain the starting slot corner. In week 1, Nik played 0 defensive snaps and only contributed to special teams. The following week he started and had his worst game to date. In week 3, his snap count was down again. So far Needham has only been on the field for 29.6% of Miami’s defensive plays. Either he is going through a sophomore slump or the rest of the DB’s are overachieving, which does not seem to be the case.
LB Elandon Roberts
Roberts came over from New England this offseason with hopes of getting more playing time. He has played in two games for Miami this season and got hurt in the other. Roberts has been a very poor signing for Miami and his snap count continues to plummet. Elandon has only contributed 6 total tackles and has had a number of missed tackles. He sometimes seems lost on the field and not doing his job. Linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel and Kamu Grugier-Hill deserve to be playing more and we can start to see Roberts’ playing time vanish. It is only week 4 but Miami could get lucky that they only signed Roberts to a 1-year $2 million dollar deal.
FS Bobby McCain
Bobby is neither playing well or poor; he is just a player out there on the field. Ever since making the switch to safety, McCain’s play has been nothing to brag about. When he was a cornerback, he seemed to make key plays for the team and make his presence felt. The fact that McCain’s name has not popped up too much could be a good thing as well. It could indicate that he is in the correct spot and simply doing his job. Bobby McCain’s true position is slot cornerback and Miami would be wise to move him back there. Bobby was one of the better slot corners in the NFL, which is why Miami rewarded him with a contract extension. The reason his stock is down is that his potential is so much more.
Honorable mention: Jesse Davis, Jakeem Grant