Miami is in their second week of OTA’s, and with every video that the social media team posts, fans are getting more and more excited about the upcoming season. New coaching staff, new players, new hope for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since Adam Gase coached a Ryan Tannehill/Matt Moore-led team. Miami has star players up and down their roster both on offense and defense, and it’s fun to imagine the competitions that will take place throughout the season within the team to lead in different statistical categories. Here’s who I think will lead in all the major statistical categories during the 2022 season.

Passing Yards, Touchdowns – Tua Tagovailoa (4,000 yds, 30 TD)
This is obvious, and I’m not entertaining any notions of injuries, benching, trades, etc.

Rush Yards – Raheem Mostert (800)
Rush Touchdowns – Sony Michel (6)
Raheem Mostert is coming off a knee injury that cost him all but one game last season and only played in 8 games the year before. Even with the injury history, he’s still the fastest running back in the crowded room and has the most significant potential for big plays. Mostert also has a history playing under McDaniel, with the two spending the past five seasons together in San Francisco. Edmonds may be the popular pick to lead the team in rushing due to him being healthier during the offseason, being the only running back to receive a multi-year contract out of the three additions, and potentially starting the season as the lead back as Mostert works back from injury. However, it’s hard not to picture Mostert taking over lead back duties if he can remain healthy and return to his 2019 form when he ran for 379 yards in the final five games of the regular season at a 5.92 yards per attempt clip and ran for 220 yards in the playoffs against Green Bay. As for Michel, he should be looked at as more of a short-yardage back and someone who can help punch the ball in with fullback Alec Ingold leading the way when the team gets down near the goal line. It’s fair to assume that none of the running backs will eclipse 1,000 yards, as it appears McDaniel will deploy a running back by committee approach and go with the hot hand between Mostert, Edmonds, and Michel.

Receptions – Jaylen Waddle (105)
Receiving Yards – Tyreek Hill (1,100)
Receiving Touchdowns – Mike Gesicki (7)
Tyreek Hill was the big off-season acquisition and will immediately impact the offense. Hill not only can take the top off the defense, but he also possesses the skill to turn a 5-yard pass into a 75-yard touchdown by making defenders miss and outrunning everyone to the endzone. Jaylen Waddle immediately became Tua’s favorite target as a rookie, and the two’s chemistry going back to their time in college will continue to grow. While Tyreek will lead the team in yards thanks to the big plays, Waddle will likely see more passes his way as Tua’s favorite target, and the be the benefit of not drawing the opposing team’s top corner. Look for McDaniel to finally utilize Gesicki’s skillset in the RedZone, something previous coaching staffs did not always take advantage of. Anytime the ball is inside the opponent’s 20, look for plays to be drawn up to take advantage of Gesicki’s size and volleyball background to go up and get the ball. George Kittle tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions three times while McDaniel was on the 49ers staff. Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the league, but there’s no reason Gesicki’s larger frame can’t replicate similar red zone success.

Sacks – Jaelan Phillips (11)
Tackles – Jerome Baker (100)
Interceptions – Jevon Holland (5)
Emmanuel Ogbah was the team leader in sacks in each of the past two seasons. Last year Ogbah was challenged by rookie Jaelan Phillips, who finished with 8.5 sacks behind Ogbah’s 9. Phillips put his ability and physical traits on full display against the Panthers and Giants, where he tallied five sacks combined in the two games. With his rookie season behind him and Ogbah and recent addition Melvin Ingram helping take some of the offensive line attention preventing constant double teams, expect Phillips to lead the team in sacks and pressures. Jerome Baker has been the team leader in tackles in each of the previous three seasons, and I don’t look for that to change. There is a chance rookie 3rd-round draft pick Channing Tindall could have an opportunity to challenge Baker if Baker is given more pass-rushing opportunities, with Tindall having the ability to roam sideline to sideline and being the better tackler of the two. However, I don’t expect Tindall to receive the necessary playing time or start the first couple of weeks as he adjusts to the NFL with those opportunities instead of going to Elandon Roberts. The interception leader may come as a shock since that title has gone to Xavien Howard the last couple of seasons. Howard will go for stretches of times where the opposing quarterback won’t target him due to his great coverage and reputation as a ballhawk. It is much harder for a team to avoid throwing Holland’s direction as most of the time, he is not the primary man in coverage but instead roaming over the top, ready to take advantage of any misthrow/misread by the quarterback. Miami hasn’t had that kind of safety since Reshad Jones, and Jones twice led the team in interceptions. However, Jones only recorded ten pass deflections once his entire 10-year career, something Holland did his rookie year, showing Holland’s knack for being in the right place at the right time.