Ranking the Dolphins' Veteran Offseason Acquisitions in Terms of Early Impact
The Miami Dolphins' roster overhaul in the offseason consisted of two parts: signing veterans in free agency and later making selections in the 2020 NFL draft.
As one would expect, it's the veterans who have made the biggest impact as the Dolphins headed into their bye, and we rank those 12 players – we included trade acquisition Matt Breida in this group — for their impact through the first six games.
1. DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Not sure this is even up for debate. Ogbah has been that good. Not only does he lead the team in sacks with five, he has four tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries. Ogbah has played 77 percent of the defensive snaps.
"He can do a lot of things," defensive coordinator Josh Boyer said. "He’s very multiple and I think the other thing is he’s a hard worker. I think with a lot of things that we ask him to do, we can be multiple with that. He’s been able to do that and he’s shown constant improvement week after week. And I know a lot of people, they look at kind of, call it ‘flash stats,’ but there’s a lot of things that he does for us defensively that opens up things for other people, and he does a good job of setting the edge and we can move him around. He’s a good worker, good kid. He’s a joy to be around, and we’re hoping that continues to improve, that we can do more things with him.”
2. LB Kyle Van Noy
The former Patriots starter is among the most versatile defenders on the team, and it shows up in his stats. In the first five games, before he sat out against the Jets with groin and foot injuries, Van Noy had two forced fumbles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and two tackles for loss while playing an average of 54 snaps a game.
3. DE Shaq Lawson
After a tough opener at New England when he lost contain on the outside, Lawson has rebounded very nicely and made a solid contribution. Lawson has a sack and six quarterback knock-downs while averaging 63 percent of the defensive snaps even with missing a game.
4. LB Elandon Roberts
Roberts isn't used nearly as much as any of the top three players on this list, but he's also been effective. He has started all five games he's played and has 23 tackles and a sack.
5. CB Byron Jones
Jones can't rank higher on this list because he missed two games and almost all of a third with a groin injury, but his metrics are really, really impressive. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 9 of 19 passes when targeted Jones and compiled a 60.4 passer rating on those throws (and, yes, we know some of them have been misses by the quarterbacks).
6. C Ted Karras
Karras and fellow free agent acquisition Ereck Flowers have made a clear impact on the offensive line and we could go with either here. We gave the nod to Karras based on a higher rushing average up the middle (3.94) for the Dolphins then behind left guard (3.46), plus Karras having one penalty to Flowers' two.
7. G Ereck Flowers
While Karras deserves kudos for being a captain on offense, Flowers likewise deserves credit for the leadership role he took in camp with rookies Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt.
8. LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
Grugier-Hill has been just as advertised, a very good complementary linebacker who also plays a big role on special teams. He, of course, had the big fourth-down sack in the Thursday night victory at Jacksonville.
9. RB Matt Breida
Breida has had his moments at running back, mostly in the passing game, but he hasn't quite made the impact that his speed was expected to provide. He's averaging a pedestrian 3.5 yards per carry and has only seven receptions in six games.
10. S Kavon Frazier
As was expected, Frazier has become a core player on special teams and he was named a co-captain of that unit.
11. S Clayton Fejedelem
Just like Frazier, Fejedelem is a co-captain on special teams, but he missed the first three games because of a pectoral injury.
12. RB Jordan Howard
No big surprise he would end up last on this list. It's been a rough go for Howard, even with a rushing touchdown in each of the first three games. Howard has been a healthy scratch the past two games after his four-game total read 18 carries for 14 yards and a microscopic 0.8 average. Worse, advanced stats show him with no broken tackles on his 18 rushing attempts.
"He’s come in and gone to work every day, which is what it’s all about," running backs coach Eric Studesville said of Howard this week. "We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we approach them and he’s really done a great job with that. It’s a very difficult situation for him because he’s a prideful person. He wants to be out there. He wants to be contributing and right now, that’s not the situation, but everything he’s done has been fantastic and been on the plus side. I give him a lot of credit because it’s a difficult thing to do."