Who will break out is always a question on every sports fans mind regardless of the team or sport. This time of year around the NFL that is a main question asked around the proverbial water cooler. The Miami Dolphins are a team with enough star power. The defensive side of the ball has 2 time pro bowler Cam Wake, All Pro cornerback Brent Grimes, and burgeoning star Olivier Vernon. On the offensive side of the ball Mike Wallace joined the Dolphins as a high profile player already. Where the Dolphins are lacking are those other players who come out of the darkness, from unknown to contributor. It is tough to predict players who will go from off the radar to stardom, but you can get an idea of players who can go from unknown to recognizable. There are a few players on both sides of the ball for the Dolphins that have a chance to jump on the scene, much like Charles Clay did on offense and Olivier Vernon did on defense last season. Lets take a look at some of the players who could go from unknown to consistent contributors for the Fins.
On the offensive side of the ball the receiver position has become one of strength for the team, however coming into this season there was not a do it all guy. Brian Hartline is a back-to-back 1,000 yard receiver, who is the model of consistency. He however isn’t the biggest deep threat. Mike Wallace is the antithesis, the definition of a deep threat, but not a go over the middle… make a big 3rd down completion type of wide out. Brandon Gibson coming off of a knee injury started to show signs of being that guy who could do it all last season. He was the slot guy to take over for Davone Bess, could get a big 3rd down grab, also had enough speed to get down the field. After his injury he is a question mark going forward. There are two players in this receiving core to watch (as long as they remain on the team, of course) who could be a big difference in this group. Rishard Matthews is entering his 3rd season in the league; he is coming off a year with 41 receptions for 448 yards, and 2 scores. In the place of Brandon Gibson he became a consistent player that had do it all kind of ability.
Jarvis Landry, the 2nd round pick out of LSU, is coming off a season where he caught 77 balls, for 1,193 yards, with 10 TDs. He was thought to be a guy who could go over the middle, truly fit inside the slot. What has happened in camp is Jarvis has shown his ability to do it all. He can go down the field, he can go over the middle, and most importantly he doesn’t drop anything. These are not the only players who will make a difference on offense; they are the two that could shine brightest, and are the strongest examples of individuals that could be household names in South Florida after this season.
The offense isn’t the only side with emerging talent; two names jump off the page thus far between camp and the first 2 pre-season games for the defense, Will Davis and Terrence Fede. What you will notice is both of these guys are Dolphins draft picks; something has been oh so rare over the last decade for the Dolphins. Will Davis was a 3rd round pick from last season, he is trying to find a spot in a talented secondary. Cortland Finnegan and Louis Delmas have been added through free agency and with pro bowl CB Brent Grimes these are 3 spots that are locked up. The injury to Reshad Jones and confusion of the nickel corner spot has left room for Will Davis. Davis has taken advantage of this thus far as he has been unstoppable, he has been rated as one of the best overall corners in all of the NFL this preseason. He is the kind of player that can play every cornerback spot, and after a tough rookie year is playing with the hunger you like to see from your nickel corner.
The other name mentioned who has gone from surprise, to person of strong interest, is Terrence Fede. Fede is facing an injury and could be out the remainder of the preseason. This would be an issue for most 7th round picks, however Fede has been involved on seemingly every play through 2 games. He is the kind of player who fights through depth at a position, and makes a home on a roster. After a year with the focus on all the wrong things, Fede is the kind of player this team yearns to have on its roster. He is a small school player who has earned everything he has ever had coming out of Marist. Fede with his 3 tackles and 1 assisted tackle, has already compiled better numbers than both former 1st round pick Jared Odrick and big free agent signing Earl Thomas. These are the kinds of things that find you on the field and in the mouths of fans this season.
The Miami Dolphins are a team trying to make a playoff push. Every team needs stars and the Dolphins have enough to hang their hat on, what the Dolphins need is players to step up and out of the shadows. Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry on offense, ring of consistency and shine of big plays. Will Davis and Terrence Fede are two players who have put in the work and look to cash in on the television set on Sundays this season. The Miami Dolphins hope all 4 of these players make their presence felt come this September.