Which player is most important to the Dolphins making a return trip to the playoffs?
1. LT Laremy Tunsil (38 points)
2. DT Ndamukong Suh (35)
3. DE Cameron Wake (24)
4. RB Jay Ajayi (23)
5. WR Jarvis Landry (22)
6. LB Kiko Alonso (20)
T-7. TE Julius Thomas (16)
T-7. C Mike Pouncey (16)
9. CB Xavien Howard (14)
10. CB Byron Maxwell (13)
Landry did not generate as complete a split in voting as did Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander, but he, too, pulled the odd combo of a No. 1 ranking and a complete omission from multiple ballots. He grabbed the top spot for Baskin (more below), while the Burke and Klemko polls turned elsewhere. Projected starting guard Jermon Bushrod fell just one slot away from following suit, garnering a No. 2 vote (Klemko) and four absences.
The other first-place votes were split between Tunsil (Klemko and Single), Suh (Burke) and Kiko Alonso (Marston). If there was a running theme from the top on down throughout the Dolphins’ ranks, it’s that the voters had an uncertain view of the offense aside from Tunsil and Landry. Only Ajayi (twice) and Pouncey (once) crawled into any top-five slots.
Vetting the Votes: Ben Baskin defends his first-place vote for Jarvis Landry — Granted, I likely lend more importance on the psychological aspect of football than others, but ask anyone on the Dolphins roster who the emotional leader of that team is and to a man the answer you will get is Jarvis Landry. If the Dolphins ever want to be better than the Patriots, the first thing they have to do is think they are better than the Patriots. That all starts with Jarvis Landry.
Other Dolphins receiving votes: WR Kenny Stills (10 points); G Jermon Bushrod (nine); LB Lawrence Timmons, WR DeVante Parker, S Reshad Jones (eight); S Nate Allen (seven); OT Ja’Wuan James, DE Charles Harris (two).