Can the Miami Dolphins Make the Playoffs in 2020?

In an AFC East now without Tom Brady, Dr. Roto speculates that the door is open for the Miami Dolphins to make a postseason run.
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Stop laughing! I mean it! You just read the title of this article, and you probably think that I need to see a doctor. But, before you go ahead and send me to the looney bin, I'd like for you to hear me out with an open mind. Maybe when I am done, you might just become a Fin believer.

Let me also preface this by saying that had Tom Brady remained with the Patriots, I would probably not be writing this article. However, now with Brady off to Tampa, the Patriots have unproven second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham at the helm, which should mean that the AFC East will be more open to another team winning than any time in the past two decades.

Heading into this offseason, the Miami Dolphins had a lot of free agent money to spend, but they also had a ton of needs. To their credit, they were able to find some very talented players who wanted to come to Miami play for the very popular “Coach Flo.”

2020 offseason acquisitions

CB Byron Jones: 5yr/$82 million—Jones was arguably the best cover CB available on the market

LB Kyle Van Noy: 4yr/$51 million—Van Noy is intimately familiar with Flores’ defense from his time as Patriots defensive coordinator

DE Shaw Lawson: 3yr/$30 million—When motivated, Lawson is a disruptive force who can get to the QB

DE Emmanuel Ogbah: 2yr/$15 million—Adds good rotational defensive line depth

RB Jordan Howard: 2yr/$10 million—He gives the Dolphins a legitimate starter until they find themselves a three-down running back in the draft

OL Ereck Flowers: 3yr/$30 million—Flowers started to show a bit of his potential in Washington last season

C Ted Karras: 1yr/$4 million—Brought over from New England

LB Elandon Roberts: 1yr/$2 million—Brought over from New England

Miami’s defense will have a completely different look in 2020. Lawson and Van Noy will make their linebacking corps one of the soundest in the AFC, and the addition of Jones to go along with CB Xavien Howard might give the Dolphins the best pair of starting cornerbacks in the NFL.

The Dolphins also have a lot to be happy about in their receiving corps. WR DeVante Parker had a breakout season in 2019 and signed a four-year, $40 million contract in December of 2019. WR Preston Williams looked terrific until his rookie season was cut short by injury. Finally, TE Mike Gesicki started to figure out opposing defenses by scoring five receiving touchdowns from Week 12 through the end of the season. These players give the Dolphins a few good weapons to build around.

Now comes the best part--the Dolphins have 14 draft picks in the upcoming 2020 draft! While I highly doubt that they will make all 14 selections, I can easily see them trading picks as draft capital to move up for players they want in 2020, or to add more picks for 2021’s draft.

Dolphins 2020 draft picks

  • First Round: 5th overall, 18th, 26th
  • Second Round: 39th, 56th
  • Third Round: 70th
  • Fourth Round: 141st
  • Fifth Round: 153rd, 154th, 173rd
  • Sixth Round: 185th
  • Seventh Round: 227th, 246th, 251st

The three first-round picks are especially important as other teams want them desperately so that they can secure rookies to that extra fifth year on their rookie deal.

The one thing that Miami needs more than anything else is a quarterback. If they keep the fifth overall pick, there is a good chance they get their man. However, if they make a trade with Detroit to move up to the third pick, they will know for sure that they will get the player they want to lead their team for the next decade. Adding the right young quarterback to this team would make the Dolphins immediate contenders in the AFC East. The best part, though, is that the Dolphins have signed veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick through this season, which ensures that they can take their time and not rush their new rookie to start before he is ready.

If the Dolphins have a significant weakness, it is with their running game. They brought Jordan Howard over from the Eagles to give them a veteran who is capable of carrying the ball 20 times per game, but it seems evident that the Dolphins will draft at least one (if not two) running back to add to their depth chart.

The Final Diagnosis

It would have been very easy for the Dolphins to have tanked last season so they could have gotten the first overall draft pick. Instead, the team showed heart and played hard for head coach Brian Flores down the stretch. If they can get their new free agents to gel with their draft picks, the Dolphins might be right in the thick of things in the Brady-less AFC East and have a solid chance for a Wild Card playoff berth.

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