2015 Dolphins Grades – Safety


The Miami Dolphins got a lot of production and value out of Reshad Jones at the safety position last year but how did the other safeties perform along side of him? We take a look at the safeties not named Jones.

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Michael Thomas – Safety

2016 salary – impending free agent

The Dolphins had hoped that Thomas would return from his 2014 season ending chest injury and continue his upward trend. While Thomas played “o.k.” he was largely ineffective and never came close to the potential he showed on the field in 2014. Thomas was increasingly inconsistent through the year. He registered 85 tackles on the season.

Profootballfocus graded Thomas as the 41st best safety in the league with an overall rating of 74.2. He was far better in run protection, 74.7, then he was against the pass, 69.8, and 65.5 in pass rush. He played a total of 365 snaps against the pass and 348 against the run.

Thomas still has some learning to do and the Dolphins may want to take a long look at retaining him in 2016 but not as a projected starter. The Dolphins need better production from the safety position opposite Jones. Thomas is good on special teams and his contract shouldn’t be a big one.

2015 grade – C

Why C?

Thomas was not the starter at the beginning of the season as that fell on Walt Aikens who far more inconsistent on the season. Eventually Thomas got more playing time and while he wasn’t great by any means, he was at least serviceable when his game was on.

Walt Aikens – Safety

2016 salary – $703,000

Aikens was up but mostly down throughout the 2015 season. He saw his playing time reduce and his snaps go to Michael Thomas. Aikens played 280 snaps against the pass and 180 against the run totalling 29 combined tackles on the season.

Aikens wasn’t reliable in 2015 and the Dolphins needed far more production from a player they believed heading into the season was ready to make the jump to full time starter. PFF ranked him the 80th safety in the league with an overall score of 54.9. He was only graded out as 42 against the run and 60 against the pass. It became evident early in the season that the Dolphins needed to upgrade at the position. There are rumors they intend to do just that this off-season.

2015 grade – D

Why a D?

Aikens didn’t reach his potential and frankly, while he has shown signs of potential, the Dolphins need to make a decision on his future with the team as they can’t continue to invest time in a player who isn’t making positive strides year to year and 2015 was not a good one for him.