Miami Dolphins
Laremy Tunsil is ready to breakout for the Miami Dolphins heading into the 2018 season (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

There’s not a whole lot of buzz going on with the Miami Dolphins lately. Ryan Tannehill comes back this year so that’s good I guess. Star power like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, and Mike Pouncey are gone. The ownership is a mess. So is the front office. Miami feels like a team that is destined to go through a full rebuild any second now and Adam Gase has even proven he’s a competent head coach. What can we expect from the Miami Dolphins heading into training camp in 2018?

3 Position Battles To Watch

1. Running Back: Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage

Frank Gore has been around longer than Dinosaurs but somehow he throws a big wrench in this entire Miami backfield. Kenyan Drake showed promise to be a credible running back starter in this league when Miami shipped off Jay Ajayi. Drake ran for 644 yards on 133 attempts this past season but didn’t find the end zone that often. Only 3 occasions. Will Gore be that uber-annoying goal-line vulture? Don’t count out Ballage, either. He had a boatload of talent but never quite put it together at Arizona State. He looked unbelievable during the pre-draft process and could be a steal for Miami. Nevertheless, this offensive line stinks so buyer beware.

2. Defensive End: Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Andre Branch

We know what you’re going to get out of Cameron Wake who still brings it. The problem is we need to create a pass rush on the other side. That task becomes even harder without big boy Suh clogging up the middle. Robert Quinn didn’t grade out well analytically in 2018 but he still had 8.5 sacks for the Rams so who cares what PFF says. William Hayes will bring a strong veteran leader to the club as a rotational guy. Andre Branch, well, let’s just see what we get until his albatross contract runs out.

3. Linebacker: Stephone Anthony, Jerome Baker

Injury prone isn’t a word to use lightly with this linebacker unit. Kiko Alonso is hurt more often than a 2-year old running around with knives. Raekwon McMillian is coming off a torn ACL not playing a down in his rookie season. Both of them will start. The other spot is up for grabs. Jerome Baker was McMillian’s former teammate at Ohio State and smaller linebacker who has great range. Stephone Anthony was a former first-round pick by the Saints that never quite lived up to the hype. Anthony only had 15 tackles for Miami in 2017 so it’s probably Baker’s job to lose.

Ready To Breakout: Laremy Tunsil

Laremy Tunsil dropped in the 2016 NFL Draft when a video surfaced of him with a gas mask on from his time at Ole Miss being a knucklehead. I always said if he can smoke all that and not cough one time, he must have a fantastic future. Tunsil has been solid all around for the most part but is on the cusp of becoming elite. Tunsil was ranked as the 47th best tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus with an overall grade of 59.5. I don’t care what the numbers say, his technique is flawless and has the tools to become a pro bowler for years to come.

Rookie To Watch: Minkah Fitzpatrick

This one is an obvious pick. Minkah Fitzpatrick, immediately makes this defense a lot better. He’s a rangy safety that Miami has never really had since Ed Reed went to college there. Fitzpatrick can really do it all and is one of the safest players in the entire draft. I’m shocked Miami was smart enough to pick him.

AFC East 2018 NFL Draft Grades: Jets Win, Bills Roll The Dice

Fantasy Sleeper: Mike Gesicki

Touchdowns are enormous in fantasy so what better way to bargain hunt than by targetting a potential freak show at tight end? Gesicki has great size and the vertical ability to be an instant red zone threat in the league from day one. He can’t block to save his life but it’s fantasy so who cares. Gesicki figures to be a big-time upgrade over Julius Thomas. Don’t give me that Jarvis Landry talk either because he averaged like 2 yards per catch. Gesicki figures to be a guy to monitor on the waiver wire.

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