# 10 Tua Tagovailoa
2021 stats: 2653 yards, 16 TDs, 10 INTs, 3 RuTDs
There are many people who may think that Tua is too high on this list and, because of how he played over the last few games, you can make an argument that he should have been lower.
That being said, Miami’s 7 game winning streak was due, in part, to stellar quarterback play from the second year quarterback. It’s true that he never blew up the box score or really lit up any defenses, but he played through injuries and way too many distractions and was still able to be successful. Oh, I forgot about how the offensive line was so bad that the fact that he survived the majority of the season is also something to be excited about.
There is no doubt that there are going to be conversations about Tua going into this offseason and while he clearly has his limitations, I do believe that if the front office gets him legitimate help, he is going to do well as the Dolphins quarterback.
# 9 Jalean Phillips
2021 stats: 8.5 sacks, 42 tackles, 9 TFL, 16 QB hits, 1 FR
Another member of this past season’s rookie class is the talented edge rusher out of Miami.
Phillips entered the season with a lot of question marks, especially those related to his health. The talented defender was able to overcome those question marks and put together an outstanding season and not just by rookie standards.
Phillips finished with an incredible 8.5 sacks on the year which is an impressive number when you consider that he only started four games and didn’t play a whole lot of defensive snaps in the beginning of the season and at the end. If he had played more often, especially towards the end of the year after getting into a bit of a sack streak, he could have hit double digit sacks easily.
Phillips is going to be a great defender in this league and is another win in for this scouting department.
#8 Zach Sieler
2021 stats: 62 tackles, 33 solo, 2 sacks, 6 TFL,1 FF, 2 FR
Sieler is probably the most underrated player on this team.
He didn’t have the high draft pick status as some of the guys on this roster but outperformed a lot of them each and every week. He was statistically one of the best defensive tackles in the game against the run and held his own in the pass defense department as well. There were times over the course of the season that whenever a big defensive play was made, he was in the mix. He just had a knack for doing things well on defense and should have played himself into more playing time next season.
#7 Mike Gesicki
2021 Stats: 73 Catches, 780 yards, 2 touchdowns
In a contract year, Mike Gesicki proved that he is worthy of a good pay day.
He finished the year with career highs in receptions (73) and yards (780) but underperformed a bit in the touchdown category (as many offensive players did, truthfully). Regardless, Gesicki proved to be a dangerous weapon for Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brisett all season and wowed us at times with his athletic prowess.
Miami would be hard pressed to find a player that has Gesicki’s ability and upside on the open market or in the draft and should pay him to keep him in south Florida for the next few seasons. He is a valuable weapon for Tua moving forward and it would be a mistake to let him walk.
#6 Jerome Baker
2021 Stats: 92 tackles, 62 solo, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
Jerome Baker’s inclusion on the list this high up represents a major bounce-back over the course of the year.
In the beginning of the season, when Miami was losing to everyone and looking all sorts of terrible, Baker looked as though he had regressed in just a few short offseason months. He was out of position in pass coverage and looked like he had forgotten how to tackle, which was exceptionally concerning.
Once Miami started to turn things around, so did Baker. It seemed as though it took a few games to shake off some rust and he significantly improved in the second half of the year.
There is no denying Baker’s athletic ability and he has proven time and again to be a great piece on an elite defense. I’d just like to see him be that good all year.