Last year’s defense for the Miami Dolphins was an off-week Fantasy team at best. Though they held offenses to a respectably low 19.8 points-per-game, their turnover ratio was anemic. Sporting a patchwork secondary, most of which has been replaced, they collected a mere 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns (none of which was a fumble return).
This year’s crop of Dolphin defenders hope to remain stout at the point of attack by being a highly versatile unit that plays fast and changes looks as often as possible. Led by sack specialist Cameron Wake, who has been perhaps the best pass rusher in the NFL since 2010 with 37.5 sacks, this defense has added a bunch of new pieces in the hope that they can improve on last year’s numbers.
Gone are cornerbacks Vontae Davis (traded to Colts) and Sean Smith. Gone are linebackers Carlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. And gone is the idea of the wait and react defense.
Today’s Dolphins feature newly added veterans Brent Grimes, Phillip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe; all of which are supposed to add speed and tenacity. But Jeff Ireland didn’t stop there. He continued to strengthen the defense with draft additions Dion Jordan, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis and Jelani Jenkins.
Even though for the past three seasons the Dolphins haven’t cracked the top-10 as a Fantasy defense, they have the ability to finally cash it all in and make a push to be a top-five group. Through four preseason games, their starting defense has stifled the first team offenses for the majority of snaps. Whether that’s a byproduct of preseason or of good team play, we won’t know until the Dolphins open against the Cleveland Browns in September.
For now, my money is on the Dolphins to make a big impact by creating a lot of turnovers this year, but I still wouldn’t draft them above the 11th round.