When Jason Taylor was voted into the Pro-football Hall of Fame many began talking about his legacy. When Cameron Wake signed his extension many began talking about his legacy as well. Jason Taylor weighed in on Wake saying he was the best pass rusher he had seen.
That might be true. Wake is a beast of a defensive end and credit has to go to Jeff Ireland for bringing him to Miami from the CFL. When Wake is at his best he is almost unstoppable but teams have found ways to keep Wake off their quarterbacks.
Wake however is not a well-rounded defender. He is a fantastic pass rusher but he struggles setting the edge with regular consistency and struggles at times in pass coverage as well. Seriously though when you think of Cam Wake it’s not his run stopping ability or pass coverage that comes to mind.
In 2016 Wake returned from an Achilles injury in 2015 and looked younger than in previous seasons. The Dolphins had slated him to be a 3rd down specialist but injuries and poor play by the other DE’s moved Wake once again into the three down player he had been and he didn’t disappoint.
If Jason Taylor believes that Wake is the best in Dolphins history then it has to be true correct? Well maybe not.
First of all there is the modest Jason Taylor making that claim and Taylor would never put himself above another. Period. That’s just how he is. So we are all left to make that determination and frankly there is no comparison between the two. It’s probably a little closer than “no comparison” but Taylor’s HOF career is still statistically better than Wake by quite a wide margin.
Instead, let’s compare Wake to some of the other Dolphins defensive ends in history.
Wake ranks 2nd on the Dolphins career sack leaders list. He has 81.5 and will add to that in the next two or three seasons. He will not catch Taylor’s 131 as a Dolphin. Nor will he be surpassed by the next three who have long since retired from the NFL.
Bill Stanfill is third with 67 1/2 followed by “Killer B’s” Doug Betters at 65 1/2 and finally Vern Den Herder with 64. The similarities between all three and Wake are interesting.
Stanfill and Vern Den Herder each had 5 sacks in one game. Stanfill did it twice. Vern Den Herder also had three games of registering four sacks. Doug Betters also had a four game sack count. Wake? Wake has had one game with 4.5 and one with four. Impressive but it doesn’t make Wake necessarily the best.
More from Dolphins News
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
- The Miami Dolphins should not take a running back in the draft
In a single season Jason Taylor couldn’t beat Bill Stanfill but instead he tied him for most sacks in a season with 18 1/2. Trace Armstrong finished 4th with 16 1/2 and Doug Betters 5th with 16. Joey Porter is 2nd with 17 1/2 but he is a linebacker. Wake has finished with 15 total sacks in a season and one at 14.
In Wakes 8 year career he has finished with double-digit sack totals four times but was on pace to do so in 2015 before he was injured. He left 2015 with 7 sacks. How does his yearly sack totals match up with previous Dolphins?
The obvious comparison would be to Jason Taylor whose career in Miami spanned 13 seasons. Taylor only produced six seasons with double-digit totals in sack totals. Official sacks were not kept by the NFL until 1982.
Another stat that can be compared is fumbles and fumble recoveries. Taylor recovered 27 opposing fumbles in his career. Vern Den Herder recovered 14. Number two on that list is Bob Baumhower with 16. That is a huge gap between Taylor and the rest of the field. Wake? Wake has two fumble recoveries in his career. But let’s be real here. Causing a fumble can be more important than recovering one yourself.
Wake has 21 forced fumbles in his career which is comparable to Taylor’s 43 who had five more seasons. Forced Fumbles were not statistically kept in the early days of the modern NFL.
There is little doubt that Cameron Wake is one of the best defensive ends in Dolphins history and deciding on whether he is the best, second best, or top five is really a matter of personal choice and debate although it’s clearly more a debate between one and two and that is really your job to decide. The reality is that Wake is a dominant DE who is carving his own legacy with the Dolphins.
For me though, it’s Jason Taylor.