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Numerous Miami Dolphins on Top Players List

The Miami Dolphins finished last season with an 11-6 record and a playoff berth, while owning the league’s top-ranked offense in 2023. That kind of success can’t be achieved without laying claim to some of the best players the NFL has to offer.

In his annual recent list of the Top 100 players in the league, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco ranked players based on his evaluations “as well as some conversations with some league personnel.”

Five players still in South Florida made the list, as well as three former Dolphins players. So, where do they all fall?

In what should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched football in the last few seasons, wide receiver Tyreek Hill was the highest-ranked player at his position, slotting in at No. 4 on the list. The only players ahead of him were Patrick Mahomes, Myles Garrett and Trent Williams.

Hill was nothing short of dominant in 2023, finishing with 1,799 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 119 receptions. He averaged 15.1 yards per reception. Hill was named an Associated Press first-team All-Pro for the fifth time in his career, and he finished sixth in NFL MVP voting.

Without Hill, the Dolphins likely do not have the No. 1 offense in the league last season. The 30-year-old is still a cut above the rest in a league full of young stars at the position, like Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, Cincinnati’s Jamarr Chase, and Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, to name a few.

Hill’s mere presence forces opposing defenses to play two safeties high, opening up the field for the rest of his offense.

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is the next Dolphins player on the list, at No. 42. Waddle climbed 20 spots from his ranking in last year’s list.

“Waddle caught 72 passes for a 14.1 average and four touchdowns last season, all numbers that were down form some previous years,” Prisco wrote. “But coach Mike McDaniel said he was better last season. He did battle through some injuries that kept him out of three games.”

Waddle had 1,014 yards last season in 14 games, averaging 72.4 yards per game. That’s still higher than his rookie season in 2021, and just 7.4 yards short of his average in 2022. Waddle only had three fewer receptions than he did 2022, despite playing three less games.

Below Waddle at No. 43 is his teammate, cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey missed seven games to start the season because of a knee injury, and Prisco writes that “he wasn’t happy with the way he was used in Vic Fangio’s scheme.” That is not an unfounded take.

Per Pro Football Focus, Ramsey still allowed just a 53 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. His reception percentage allowed was his lowest in three seasons, at 55.6.

The next Dolphins player on the list after Ramsey comes in 20 spots later. Safety Jevon Holland was ranked No. 63, ahead of former Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and New Orleans’ Tyrann Mathieu.

Again, Fangio’s departure helps Holland’s case the eyes of Prisco.

“He battled through some injuries last season and never looked comfortable in the Vic Fangio scheme,” Prisco wrote. “But this is a talented player who will play a feature role under new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver.”

Last season, Holland started in all 12 games he played, registering 74 tackles and an interception he took 99 yards for a score. Holland also had a forced fumble and four pass break-ups.

Two spots below Holland was quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa led the league with 4,624 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns. He owned a 101.1 passer rating, finishing fifth in the league.

The question with Tagovailoa is his big-game ability, and he could not escape that criticism from Prisco.

“He has to be better in the big games going forward to ease some of the questions about him,” Prisco wrote.

Tagovailoa was the 1th QB on the list behind Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, C.J. Stroud, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence, and ahead of Jared Goff, Brock Purdy, Jordan Love and Kirk Cousins.

Notably, there were three players on the list with Dolphins lineage. The highest-ranked was offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil at No. 57. Tunsil was the Dolphins’ 13th overall pick in 2016. He started in 44 games across three seasons in South Florida before being dealt to Houston before the start of the 2019 season. Since the trade, Tunsil has been named to four Pro Bowls.

Former Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick fell 30 spots from the previous year to No. 71.

Fitzpatrick was the Dolphins’ 11th overall pick in 2018. Fitzpatrick was with the team for just one full season before he was dealt to Pittsburgh early on in Year 2. There, he was named to the first of four consecutive first-team selections as an All-Pro. Fitzpatrick was named to a fifth All-Pro team in 2022.

The trade gave the Dolphins the 18th overall pick in 2020, which was used to select offensive lineman Austin Jackson. Jackson’s first three seasons had plenty of struggles, but last season he was solid, earning a 68.4 player grade from Pro Football Focus.

The most recent big-name Dolphins departure, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, was No. 78 on the list. Wilkins was the 13th overall pick in 2019, and had nine sacks in his last season with the Dolphins. This offseason, Wilkins signed a four-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders that was worth $110 million, with just over $84 million guaranteed.

Anna Harden

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