Four Players Miami Cannot Afford to Lose to Injury in 2018

As we are just days away from the first OTA session and essentially the kickoff of this upcoming NFL aeason it is time to look at the Miami Dolphins roster and give it a last glance to see where things sit as they begin the long journey that is the 2018 NFL season.

While looking at this roster any reasonable minded Dolphins fan must admit the depth across the board at most if not all positions has improved and is better than what it has been in recent years. With that said though there are still a couple areas where depth is a big issue and I am going to dive into this today. One injury to a key player at a spot can derail an entire season and send a franchise into a downward spiral fast and ensure you have a very high draft pick in 2019. Who are the few key players the Miami Dolphins cannot afford to lose to injury in 2018.

Laremy Tunsil
(Back Up’s: Sam Young, Sean Hickey, David Steinmetz, Eric Smith, Zach Sterup)
After a spectacular rookie season at guard Laremy Tunsil was not a very good player in 2017 at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins. 2018 is a big year for Tunsil as he must improve his level of play or else media, fans, and the experts will start to look at him as a first round miss with his draft selection just a few years ago. With that said though, Tunsil, even if he isn’t living up to his pre-draft hype, must stay healthy in 2018 or else the Miami Dolphins will have a big problem on his hands. There isn’t a quality back-up behind him currently on the roster and replacing Tunsil should he miss multiple games or more would be a nightmare. Sam Young is very hot and cold and has looked OK (just OK mind you) at times and looked lost on the field at others. And players like Hickey, Smith, Sterup, and Steinmetz are borderline NFL quality players.  Miami must have a healthy Tunsil for 16 games in 2018.

Josh Sitton
(Back Up’s: Ted Larsen, Jesse Davis, Isaac Asiata)
We all know the Dolphins offensive line was downright horrible in 2017 and most of the same faces are coming back. Yes, Daniel Kilgore replaces Mike Pouncey which many experts think is a lateral move at best, but the only big difference in this line is the addition of Josh Sitton. But what if Josh Sitton were to go down to injury? We would be back with essentially the same group that failed in 2017. Either Ted Larsen or Jesse Davis will start at right guard leaving the loser of that battle to be the primary back-up at both guard positions and neither of those players are on the level of a Josh Sitton. Miami’s offensive line today on paper is as deep and good as it has been in recent years (that isn’t saying much I know) but really the key factor is Josh Sitton and if he were to go down to an injury Miami for the most part would be hoping the same guys who couldn’t get the job done in 2017 find a way to magically play better in 2018.

Ryan Tannehill
(Back Up’s: Bryce Petty, Brock Osweiler, David Fales)
While some “experts” already think Miami is the worst or one of the two or three worst teams in the NFL heading into 2018, if Ryan Tannehill were to go down to injury and miss multiple games or be lost for the season again, the Dolphins without a shadow of a doubt would be the worst team in the NFL. I know, I know for most if not all NFL teams if you lose your starting quarterback it is very tough to replace them. Only a couple teams have capable #2 quarterbacks on their roster. All true, but with the Dolphins the drop-off from their starter to #2 quarterback might be the biggest drop-off in the league. The big question of this offseason is, did the Dolphins do enough to improve the quarterback position; both starter wise and back-up wise. While we could have an endless debate about Ryan Tannehill being “the man,” what is not up for debate is the Dolphins organization did little to nothing to improve the back-up quarterback position. Bryce Petty, Brock Osweiler, and David Fales are bad football players, and should Tannehill go down Miami is looking at an awful 2018 season.

Kiko Alonso
(Back Up’s: Terence Garvin, Jerome Baker, Mike Hull, Chase Allen, Quentin Poling)
Some of you are probably saying to yourself don’t you mean Raekwon McMillian? NO, I mean Kiko Alonso and here is why. We still have no idea if McMillan is a good NFL player or not, so I can’t say if he goes down Miami will be hurting at linebacker. And Stephone Anthony who is penciled in as the other starting linebacker is an average player on his best day. The one linebacker Miami cannot afford to lose to injury believe it or not is Kiko Alonso. Yes, we know Alonso struggled at times in 2017 but overall on paper he is still Miami’s best linebacker. And the linebacker unit overall has no depth. If Alonso went down to injury Miami would be right back to where they were last year with one of the if not the worst linebacker groups in the NFL. You can make a case that Miami cannot afford to lose any of their top four linebackers to injury this year or else they will be back to where this group is just awful. Right now, with two promising youngsters in Raekwon McMillian and Jerome Baker there is hope this unit will be better in 2018. With that said though, if Kiko Alonso goes down then this unit becomes very inexperienced and young and the little depth they have goes away quick.

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  1. Agree, don’t like our backup QB’s and Tannehill’s health is an unknown. OL i do think were ok with Depth. Ted Larson is OK, he was injured in 2017, and Jesse Davis played reasonably well. Sam Young was serviceable. Linebackers With Baker, kiko and McMillan were good. Even with one of the backup Linebackers in rotation were ok, because we are super strong at Safety and pass coverage to makeup for it.

  2. "and should Tannehill go down Miami is looking at an awful 2018 season. "

    And a top 5 picks. Which is why i dont have a problem not wasting money on a backup for Tanny that couldn't take us to the SB. What would be the point?

  3. If we are basing importance by last season's production then players like S Jones and RB Drake should be considered to make this list. If the Fins are to become a good team then players like DE Harris, S Fitzpatrick, and TE Gisecki need to show enough to belong on this list next year at this time.

  4. 1. Any of the starters on the d-line.
    2. Josh Sitton

    Beyond that it doesn't really matter. The team is bad.

  5. but in 2016 they had Miami at 6- 10 and the team flipped that opinión..


  7. I'm not sure Alonzo beats out Baker for the Starting spot. Baker can cover TE's, something Kiko can't do. McMillan has said multiple times that Baker was really good at covering TE's in college. We'll see. FINS UP!!!


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