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Who's the Fastest Dolphins Player? Or (Maybe) Who Cares?

The topic of whether Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle (or Raheem Mostert) is faster continues to come up around the Miami Dolphins

It might be the biggest topic of conversation around the Miami Dolphins these days.

Yes, maybe even bigger than whether Tua Tagovailoa can throw a deep pass (spoiler alert: he can). It's the major debate as to who is the fastest player on the Miami Dolphins roster.

Is it Tyreek Hill? Is it Jaylen Waddle? Or how about Raheem Mostert?

How about, who cares?

Let's be serious, does it really matter who's the fastest?

To be sure, there's a lot of ego involved among the players and being able to make that claim or be given that title certainly is something they want, but is this talk of a race to settle the issue even serious?

While we certainly don't expect a race to ever materialize, the idea actually was brought up to head coach Mike McDaniel this week.

"I’m not going to tell them not to race," McDaniel said. "I love competitors. I’m also not going to force them to race. So if I were you guys (in the media) and they would do so at one of the five practices that you guys are at, and you guys were able to persuade them to do it at one, the guy pushing for my race the hardest I would put my wagers on amongst your betting selves.

"I would not bet because there are some very, very fast guys on the team. But I enjoy the fact that they are competitive about that and I would never keep them from doing so. I’m more trying to get them to figure out how to run a route, defend a go-ball or run the ball — did I cover all my bases? I did? — than to have them compete in a race."

THE MANY REASONS NOT TO HAVE A RACE

There are some clear reasons why that kind of race would make little sense, even if it might be fun to watch and analyze.

The obvious first thing that comes to mind is the injury risk. Sure, maybe it's being overly cautious, but do the Dolphins really need to have Hill pull a hamstring or maybe Waddle sustain a high ankle sprain, injuries that have the potential of lingering or resurfacing?

And for what? For bragging rights.

And then, here's another reason it doesn't make sense. Would one race really settle the issue? What if one of the participants in this race isn't feeling great that day or has a little slip? And then when do you hold the race because Mostert most definitely belongs in the field along with Hill and Waddle.

Finally, McDaniel presented maybe the best argument against it: the Dolphins already know the speed of their players through the GPS trackers the players wear for practices and games.

WHAT THE NEXTGEN STATS SAY

Those trackers are how NextGen Stats has been able to track the fastest players, based on mph achieved on specific plays, since 2016.

And maybe this is where all the talk of who's the fastest Dolphins player should focus.

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And based on those NextGen Stats, the Dolphins roster features the two players who have produced the four highest regular season mph figures over the past six regular seasons, Hill and Mostert.

Hill has the highest mph on record at 23.24, which happened on a kickoff return for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Houston Texans in Week 2 of the 2016 season. Mostert is the only other clocking exceeding 23 mph, with a 23.09 on an 80-yard touchdown for the 49ers in Week 2 of the 2020 season. Then it's Hill with a 22.77 in 2016 and Mostert again with a 22.73, again in 2020.

As for Waddle, he had the seventh-highest mph in the NFL last year, according to NextGen Stats, with a 21.78 on his 57-yard reception against the Carolina Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium.

While he wouldn't reveal the fastest time by a Dolphins player this spring, McDaniel did say there have been several clockings in the 21 mph range and some as high as 22 mph.

So maybe the best thing for everybody would be to hold off on a race and just wait for the NextGen Stats once the regular season starts.

Chances are, the Dolphins are going to have some representation on the top 20 list.

Over the past three seasons, only Waddle's run last year produced a top 20 speed for a regular season. That very well might change this season, and that's way more important than finding out who is the fastest player on the roster.

THE DOLPHINS AMONG PAST MPH LEADERS

As a wrap-up, here are the Dolphins players who ranked in the top 20 in a particular season for fastest mph produced, according to NextGen Stats:

2021 — WR Jaylen Waddle, 21.78, 57-yard catch vs. Carolina, ranked 7th

2020 — None in the top 20

2019 — None in the top 20

2018 — RB Kalen Ballage, 21.87, 75-yard TD run at Minnesota, ranked 7th

             S Minkah Fitzpatrick, 21.85, 50-yard INT return for a TD at Minnesota, ranked 8th

            WR Albert Wilson, 21.74, 74-TD reception vs. Oakland, ranked 11th

            PR Jakeem Grant, 21.58, 71-yard punt return for TD, at Cincinnati

2017 — None in the top 20

2016 — None in the top 20