The Dolphins need big production out of their second year players. Many of them will be competing for starting roles and need to show they’ve taken major steps forward, not back.
The Miami Dolphins need big production out of their second year players. Many of them played or started in some capacity last season and will be expected to take on bigger roles this year. Some players experience a drop in production their second year known as the sophomore slump. The Dolphins cannot afford any players to have a sophomore slump but need them to take major steps forward.
Jordan Phillips, Jay Ajayi, DeVante Parker, Tony Lippett, and Bobby McCain are all second year players that will be competing for starting positions this year. Last year they all showed flashes of ability but need to be consistent playmakers if they want to start. If the Dolphins want to be better than 6-10 or 8-8 they need their 2015 draft class to step up.
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Jay Ajayi and DeVante Parker have been given the keys of the offense. They will likely be the starting wide receiver and running back that Miami will base most of its offense on. While both have been productive when the played, both have had injury issues that they need to grow from. If they can be healthy and consistent Miami should be much better than inefficient offense they put together last year.
Jordan Philips, Tony Lippett, and Bobby McCain will all be competing to take a starting job on defense. Philips will be trying to beat out Earl Mitchell for the DT job opposite of Suh. Miami’s run defense was terrible last year. Philips needs to do a better job occupying lineman and closing running lanes if he wants to see more playing time.
Lippett and McCain will be fighting for the perimeter and nickel cornerback spots. McCain is the likely candidate for the nickel job at this point, but still needs to show that his rookie mistakes are behind him to lock down the spot. Lippett will be competing against this years second round pick Xavien Howard for the perimeter job.
Although Lippett has been in the league and has more NFL experience, Howard has more experience at the corner position. Lippett’s first year playing corner full time was last season and he needs to show a lot of progress to be more than just a situational player. He needs to show physicality on the line and the ability to turn his hips and run with receivers in Vance Joseph’s press system.
If Miami wants to take the next step towards the playoffs they need their young players to start making an impact. These second year players need to show why they were drafted and take leaps forward in their development. If they do, Miami could see a much better team this year.