As we wait to see which GM candidate the Miami Dolphins decide to hire, let’s continue our look back on the season that was by ranking the team’s top 20 players of 2013. Today, we’ll look at player No. 11, punter Brandon Fields.
Inside 20: 33
Pro Football Focus breakdown
Position rank: 12 of 41
Max hang time: 5.10 seconds
Percentage returned: 49.4 percent
Why he’s No. 11
There’s a reason Fields is on his way to the Pro Bowl this week; he was perhaps the top punter in not only the AFC but the entire league. Only Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King averaged more yards per boot than the 48.8 Fields averaged in 2013. The 33 punts Fields pinned inside the 20-yard line ranked fourth. His combination of leg strength and accuracy is inferior to few if not none. The Dolphins’ special teams were nothing to write home about this year thanks to an inconsistent rookie kicker and too many mistakes in the return game, but Fields certainly did his part to keep Darren Rizzi‘s units respectable.
Why he’s not higher
It’s pretty simple; Fields is a punter, and the impact punters can have on a game is limited. Yes, he was one of the league’s best at the position, but there isn’t a substantial disparity between the best punter and those punters who rank near the middle of the road. There was only about a three-yard difference between the averages of the aforementioned King and the No. 16 ranked punter in yards per kick, after all. Fields is due to make over $3 million in 2014. If any punter has earned that lucrative of a salary it’s Fields, but in reality, no punter should probably be compensated that handsomely.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.