2015 Dolphins grades: Ja’Wuan James


The Miami Dolphins lost Ja’Wuan James to a toe injury midway through the 2015 season and struggled considerably in his absence. How he recovers and plays in 2016 will be critical for his future with the team.

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Ja’Wuan James – right tackle

2016 salary – $2.29 million

The Dolphins are paying James a lot of money as part of his first round draft selection. His first season was good but not great and he showed enough potential to think that 2015 would be a much better year. Unfortunately, like Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey, James suffered due to the lack of guard play on the inside. He often over-committed his blocking and was unable to pick up the inside rush thanks to poor play by the guards.

ProFootballFocus graded James as the 33rd best tackle in the NFL which is not bad considering his season was cut short by the toe injury. He graded at 70 overall. He was far better in pass blocking ranking at a 79 but his run production was, like everyone elses, poor at 35. Miami needs better run blocking production from their tackles but again, it’s difficult to judge if it is the play of the tackle or lack of support from the interior. It’s been said often since grading the offensive line but it’s also a huge reality.

After James left the field the Dolphins offensive line play suffered more and because of that, his grade is reflected.

2015 grade – C

Why a “C”?
James was playing well in pass protection before getting injured and there were some that believed he should have recovered faster but he was unable to get back on the field. What James does in 2016 will be critical for his future because his contract will be up following the 2017 season. Ideally you would like to know if he is going to become your franchise right guard. Miami has two years to figure it out but they will need to address the position soon so they can develop talent behind him ahead of the 2018 season.

Ulrick John 

John played a total of 30 snaps all season and he had by far the best offensive line grade in run blocking at 75.6. I don’t typically grade players who played that few of snaps, but Ulrick will get a “B” for his performance. The Dolphins should take a long look at him this off-season. He isn’t a starting caliber player yet but he could be that developmental type that grows into his role.