Each NFL season, every team has a player that bears a little added attention. So which performer could turn the corner for the Miami Dolphins in ’17?
Welcome to yet another 32-team series from End Zone Score. In recent months, we took the time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers.
Every NFL season features players that come into their own after a slow start to their careers. It’s tough to tell when each performer’s coming-put party will take place. Some are immediate successes. Others take longer due to numerous circumstances, but they prove to be worth the wait. Here we will try and pinpoint a player from each team in the league that we feel is on the verge of putting it altogether.
We have to admit we are taking a little bit of a leap of faith here. This past season, the Miami Dolphins were 29th in total defense while only two clubs in the NFL allowed more rushing yards per game.
This offseason, the team added some help to the front four. The club swung a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for veteran defensive end William Hayes. The franchise also drafted three defensive linemen in end Charles Harris (1-Missouri) and interior prospects Davon Godchaux (5b-LSU) and Vincent Taylor (6-Oklahoma State). All hope to cure what ails this unit, one spearheaded by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and pass-rushing terror Cameron Wake.
But the focus here is on Jordan Phillips, who begins his third season with the team and second as the main starter next to Suh. Of course, he played in 16 games but was limited to only 11 starts due to his erratic performance. His play this past season against the run was underwhelming and that’s being kind. The 6’6”, 334-pound product of the University of Oklahoma is way down the list of Pro Football Focus’ interior defenders when it comes to rushing defense. But it’s a different year for the 24-year-old pro and a chance for retribution.
“I’ve grown up a lot,” said Phillips last month to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald and other writers. “I’m ready for the new opportunity. I’m ready to help the team the way I need to.”
“It’s my third year,” added the former Sooners’ defender. “I’ve been under the wing of Suh for a while as well as the rest of the guys in the room. I know what to do. I know how to get it done. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Can you say the benefit of the doubt? Forget the term “up and coming” when it comes to Jordan Phillips. The words “quantum leap” may apply to the Miami Dolphins third-year defensive tackle by season’s end. We say he puts it altogether this fall and winds up making a major difference for a team looking to return to the playoffs.