Top Miami Dolphins for 2022 season: Ranked by the Palm Beach Post

·13 min read

This is The Palm Beach Post's Top 25 countdown of Miami Dolphins players entering the 2022 season. Our reporters used a simple criterion: Who's the better player right now? Reporters Joe Schad and Hal Habib ranked the players. Each compiled their own Top 25, the scores were tabulated and Palm Beach Post sports editor Nick Pugliese broke any and all ties.

Check out features and analysis on each of the Miami Dolphins players chosen on our list.

No. 25 is Jason Sanders

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7), before the start of their game agains the New England Patriots.
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7), before the start of their game agains the New England Patriots.

Ranking info: Despite a subpar effort in 2021, Sanders is still the most accurate kicker in Dolphins history, at 83.3% (100-for-120).  Dan Carpenter and Olindo Mare are second and third. Only two seasons ago, Sanders was a remarkable 36 of 39, for 92.3%.

Read our complete profile on Jason Sanders and why we ranked him No. 25.

No. 24: Cornerback Nik Needham

Miami Dolphins free safety Nik Needham (40) celebrates an interception against the Carolina Panthers in 2021.
Miami Dolphins free safety Nik Needham (40) celebrates an interception against the Carolina Panthers in 2021.

Ranking info: Needham is one of the most underrated Dolphins. In his three Miami seasons, his passer rating allowed has decreased from 111.7 to 95.1 to 73.4. His touchdowns allowed have decreased from 8 to 3 to 0. And his yards per catch allowed have decreased from 15.0, 13.0, 11.1.

It was a no-brainer for Miami to pick up his fourth year at $3.9 million.

Read our complete profile on Nik Needham and why we ranked him No. 24.

No. 23: Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. (11) stretches prior to OTA practice at Baptist Health Training Complex.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. (11) stretches prior to OTA practice at Baptist Health Training Complex.

Ranking info: Wilson was targeted just 61 times last season yet still finished with 602 receiving yards and six touchdowns — both career highs. Not to mention, the Dolphins would gladly take it if Wilson finds the end zone once for every 10 times Tagovailoa throws his way. Six TD receptions would have tied for the lead on the 2021 Dolphins.

Read our complete profile on Cedrick Wilson and why we ranked him No. 23.

No. 22: Running back Raheem Mostert

Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) answers questions from the media during 2022 training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) answers questions from the media during 2022 training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens.

Ranking info: Mostert flourished playing in San Francisco, where current Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was a top assistant. Mostert, 29, has been highly effective in the wide zone scheme Miami plans to use. In 2019, Mostert had his best season, with 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium.

Read our complete profile on Raheem Mostert and why we ranked him No. 22.

No. 21: Safety Brandon Jones

Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones (29)sacks New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during second half action against the New York Jets during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones (29)sacks New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during second half action against the New York Jets during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens.

Ranking info: Miami Dolphins' coaches always have believed Jones is a very solid combination of football intelligence and physical traits. Jones is able to play fast because he prepares extremely well. He is able to diagnose and disrupt. And he is a sound, sturdy tackler with good range.

After Jason McCourty went down with an injury, Jones began to play more and more, gradually also taking time from solid veteran Eric Rowe.

Read our complete profile on Brandon Jones and why we ranked him No. 21.

No. 20: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility in Miami Gardens.

Ranking info: We ranked Bridgewater, 29, here because while Brissett said he considered himself an NFL starting quarterback, Bridgewater is coming off a season in which he proved he can produce in a starting role. In fact, Bridgewater’s statistics as Denver’s starter in 2021 were better than Tagovailoa’s with the Dolphins.

In 14 games and 14 starts, Bridgewater passed for 3,052 yards. In 13 games and 12 starts, Tagovailoa passed for 2,653. Bridgewater had 18 touchdown passes to Tagovailoa’s 16, plus seven interceptions to Tagovailoa’s 10.

Read our complete profile on Teddy Bridgewater and why we ranked him No. 20.

No. 19: Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel

Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) returns a fumble for a touchdown at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, November 1, 2020.
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) returns a fumble for a touchdown at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, November 1, 2020.

Ranking info: Though Van Ginkel did not make as many game-changing plays last season as he did in his second season, he still found ways to positively impact the game. He has improved his strength and pass-rush moves in the NFL with the help of such coaches as Austin Clark, Anthony Campanile and Josh Boyer.

In some ways, Van Ginkel's knack for getting to the ball and knocking it down and away reminds one of what Kiko Alonso did for Miami in 2016 and 2018.

Read our complete profile on Andrew Van Ginkel and why we ranked him No. 19.

No. 18: Running back Chase Edmonds

Miami Dolphins running back Chase Edmonds (2) runs with the football during a minicamp workout at Baptist Health Training Complex.
Miami Dolphins running back Chase Edmonds (2) runs with the football during a minicamp workout at Baptist Health Training Complex.

Ranking info: McDaniel is committed to morphing Miami's run game from woeful to fruitful, and Edmonds is the top choice to lead the team in rushing. Edmonds turned 26 this spring and his best years may be ahead.

What are his strengths? Edmonds, 5-foot-9, 210 pounds, possesses a solid blend of speed, power and balance.

Read our complete profile on Chase Edmonds and why we ranked him No. 18.

No. 17: Offensive guard Connor Williams

Aug 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams (52) in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
Aug 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams (52) in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

Ranking info: Williams is highly rated for his run-blocking despite being called for 11 holding penalties and 14 total penalties last season. He called it “a one-off year,” adding, “It’s not a reputation I’ve had in previous years.”

Williams was effective in pass protection as well, allowing two sacks and 15 hurries in 624 pass-blocking snaps — about half of what Austin Jackson gave up.

Read our complete profile on Connor Williams and why we ranked him No. 17.

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No. 16: Defensive tackle Zach Sieler

Miami Dolphins defensive end Zach Sieler (92) celebrates forcing a fumble and recovering the ball in the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the New York Jets in 2021.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Zach Sieler (92) celebrates forcing a fumble and recovering the ball in the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the New York Jets in 2021.

Ranking info: Sieler (pronounced SEE-ler) is a highly productive player. Once a practice squad member of the Ravens, Sieler tied for second on the Dolphins in 2020 with 11 quarterback hits and led the team with 11 tackles for loss. Sieler did this in only 52% of defensive snaps played.

Last season, Sieler increased his tackles from 48 to 62, batted three passes, forced one fumble, recovered two and added two sacks.

Read our complete profile on Zach Sieler and why we ranked him No. 16.

No. 15: Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis

Miami Dolphins nose tackle Raekwon Davis (98) brings down Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens in 2020.
Miami Dolphins nose tackle Raekwon Davis (98) brings down Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens in 2020.

Ranking info: Davis has enormous (pun intended) potential. Davis, who turned 25 this month, can overpower any interior offensive lineman in the NFL if mistakenly left one-on-one.

In 2020, Davis finished with 40 tackles, which ranked second among NFL rookie defensive linemen behind Washington’s Chase Young. His tackle total regressed to 28 last season. Davis was definitely affected by the knee injury, and he conceded rust and lack of conditioning after a return.

Read our complete profile on Raekwon Davis and why we ranked him No. 15.

No. 14: Center Rob Hunt

Miami Dolphins guard Robert Hunt (68) is upended while reaching for the end zone against the Baltimore Ravens.
Miami Dolphins guard Robert Hunt (68) is upended while reaching for the end zone against the Baltimore Ravens.

Ranking info: The Dolphins drafted Hunt in the second round in 2020 out of Louisiana-Lafayette amid a slew of picks devoted to the line. Hunt has been the best of those picks, proving to be all the Dolphins envisioned despite coming out of a smaller school.

Hunt, 6-feet-6 and 327 pounds, allowed two sacks and three quarterback hits last season according to Pro Football Focus, which rated him No. 36 among 82 guards.

Read our complete profile on Rob Hunt and why we ranked him No. 14.

No. 13: Defensive end Melvin Ingram

Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram tackles Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton.
Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram tackles Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton.

Ranking info: Despite the lack of recent big-time sack totals, Pro Football Focus graded Ingram as the NFL's 13th-best edge rusher last season, based on his overall solid play. Ingram has 51 career sacks. Ogbah, with 36, has the next-best total on the team.

Ingram has twice made the NFL's list of its top 100 players, ranking 76th and 48th in 2018 and '19.

Read our complete profile on Melvin Ingram and why we ranked him No. 13.

No. 12: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) warms up during 2022 training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) warms up during 2022 training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens.

Ranking info: Tua skeptics will say this is too high. Tua fanatics will cite this as proof The Post employs "haters." But Miami's improved roster now boasts some former Pro Bowlers and some future Pro Bowlers. And no one can be truly confident yet that Tua ever will reach that level.

Tagovailoa has completed a high percentage of passes. In fact, his 67.1 completion percentage through 20 career games was an all-time NFL best.

Read our complete profile on back Tua Tagovailoa and why we ranked him No. 12.

No. 11: Defensive back Byron Jones

Byron Jones.
Byron Jones.

Ranking info: It can’t be easy playing opposite Howard, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. All things being equal, why would quarterbacks risk tossing up an interception by Howard when they can look in Jones’ direction?

Despite that pressure, Jones has held his own. Pro Football Focus ranks him No. 47 among corners — still respectable but a drop from his career high of No. 11 in 2018. For the record, PFF ranks Howard No. 24 and Nik Needham No. 38.

Read our complete profile on back Byron Jones and why we ranked him No. 11.

No. 10: Outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) breaks away from Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) during the fourth quarter of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Nov. 11, 2021.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) breaks away from Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) during the fourth quarter of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Nov. 11, 2021.

Ranking Info: Phillips is a physical specimen and a workout warrior. But he's more than that.

Unlike too many draft prospects in that category, he does not have an inconsistent motor. Phillips brings power. He brings speed. And he appears to bring it on every single snap. But why?

Phillips is highly quotable and highly intelligent.

And there is every reason to believe that if he stays healthy, he can be an NFL star.

Read our complete profile on Jaelan Phillips and why we ranked him No. 10. 

No. 9: Linebacker Jerome Baker

Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jerome Baker (55) sacks New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during the first half of the NFL game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, on December 19, 2021.
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jerome Baker (55) sacks New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during the first half of the NFL game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, on December 19, 2021.

Ranking Info: Baker has consistently produced, even though at times his performance has been less consistent than he would like.

For example, Baker conceded that early in the 2021 season his run fits, approach to run stops and coverage technique were not sharp.

After Baker began playing closer to the line and on the outside of defensive formations, it seemed to free him up. And the former Ohio State Buckeye has proven to be an excellent blitzer.

Read our complete profile of Jerome Baker and why we ranked him No. 9. 

No. 8: Defensive end Christian Wilkins

Miami Dolphins defensive end Christian Wilkins (94), jumps into the stands after scoring a touchdown during first half action agains the against the New York Jets during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Christian Wilkins (94), jumps into the stands after scoring a touchdown during first half action agains the against the New York Jets during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens.

Ranking Info: Wilkins has been an iron man on Miami’s defensive front, missing only two games since being drafted. And he’s active when he’s out there.

Wilkins made 89 tackles last season, tied with Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward for the most by any defensive lineman in the NFL since 2013. And since 1986, the only Dolphins defensive lineman to record more tackles was Jeff Cross in 1993.

In 2021, Wilkins had 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

But enough about his defense. His highlight clip to end all highlight clips from 2021 was when he caught a 1-yard touchdown pass to give the Dolphins a 24-17 fourth-quarter lead over the Jets. He then flopped to the ground, did the worm and made social media go nuts. The Dolphins won 31-24.

Read our full profile of Christian Wilkins and why we ranked him No. 8. 

No. 7: Tight end Mike Gesicki

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 24, 2021.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 24, 2021.

Ranking Info: After a slow start to his NFL career, Gesicki has turned into what the Dolphins expected when they spent the 42nd overall pick on him in 2018.

Gesicki’s stats have improved all four years he has been in the NFL including last season, when he caught 73 passes for 780 yards. Only receiver Jaylen Waddle had more receptions and yards on the team.

Gesicki’s TD catches, however, fell from six in 2020 to two last season.

Gesicki stood a chance of making our top five if he were more as effective as a blocker. Pro Football Focus rated only seven other tight ends lower in run blocking.

This is where assistant head coach/tight ends Jon Embree comes in. Embree helped George Kittle become an elite, all-around tight end on the 49ers. Now he’s coaching Gesicki.

Read our full profile of Mike Gesicki and why we ranked him No. 7. 

No. 6: Defensive back Jevon Holland

Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland (8) participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland (8) participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.

Ranking Info: Holland has exceptional range, as demonstrated by an end zone interception of Tyrod Taylor in Week 9 last season.

And Holland has exceptional speed and instincts, showing up with a sack of Lamer Jackson in Week 10.

Memorably, Holland blitzed Lamar Jackson 21 times in a nationally-televised victory.

And Holland is a ball hawk. He is close with star cornerback Xavien Howard, even shadowing him at the Pro Bowl last season.

Read our full profile on Jevon Holland and why we ranked him No. 6. 

No. 5: Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah

Miami Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (91) pursues New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, December 20, 2020.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (91) pursues New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, December 20, 2020.

Ranking Info: It’s easy to focus on Ogbah’s 18 sacks these past two years. Cameron Wake was the last Dolphin to have that many over a two-year span with 22 in 2016-17.

But last year, Ogbah played with a focus on another element of his game. He showed an uncanny knack for batting down passes. Ogbah was credited with 12 passes defensed, the third-most by a defensive lineman since 2012. We’ll never know how many other passes he affected as quarterbacks tried to avoid the reach of this 6-foot-4 end who always seemed to have his hands fully raised.

Ogbah also had 41 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was a voice then-rookie Jaelan Phillips could seek out for advice on making quarterbacks’ lives miserable. Ogbah said he’s embracing his leadership responsibilities as the team works to overcome the Bills in the division.

Read our full profile of Emmanuel Ogbah and why we ranked him No. 5.

No. 4: Offensive lineman Terron Armstead

Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) answers questions from the media during training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) answers questions from the media during training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.

Ranking Info: Since Tunsil was sent to Houston, he's become a Pro Bowler and the trade has also paid massive dividends for the Dolphins.

But left tackle has been a Miami sore spot. Some of the players who have started there include Jackson, Julien Davenport, J'Marcus Webb and Jesse Davis.

And none of them has performed well enough.

Enter Armstead, who is very athletic, which should make him a nice fit for Miami's new zone offensive attack. He is agile and has very good footwork.

And he has prototypical size and strength.

Armstead's arrival should change the entire complexion of Miami's offensive line.

Read our full profile on Terron Armstead and why we ranked him No. 4.

No. 3: Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) scores a touchdown over New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Jan. 9, 2022.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) scores a touchdown over New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Jan. 9, 2022.

Ranking Info: Waddle's production was on par with expectations, considering his status as the 6th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Reuniting with his Alabama teammate, Tua Tagovailoa, went as expected.

Waddle was Tua's reliable security blanket.

And there is the potential for more big-gainer plays in 2022. Waddle is further removed from a college ankle injury, which appeared to hamper him early last season.

Do not sleep on the fact that Waddle has covered 40 yards in 4.37 seconds.

Jarvis Landry (twice) is the only player to ever record more catches in a Dolphins' season than Waddle did last season.

Landry was an extremely popular Dolphin. And Waddle has quickly become a fan favorite, too. He's nicknamed "Penguin" and does a "Waddle, Waddle" dance in the end zone after scoring touchdowns.

Read more on Jaylen Waddle and why we ranked him No. 3. 

No. 2: Defensive back Xavien Howard

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) scores a touchdown as he jumps backwards into the end zone after intercepting a pass in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Jan. 9, 2022.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) scores a touchdown as he jumps backwards into the end zone after intercepting a pass in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Jan. 9, 2022.

Ranking Info: Tyreek Hill and Xavien Howard can’t both be No. 1.

It obviously was a close call. Any knowledgeable Dolphins fan could make a case for either player with little trouble. If Howard were to suffer an injury, it would have a major impact on what the defense can do and attempt to do. The same can be said for Hill on offense and special teams.

Since 2016, Howard has 27 interceptions, most of any player in the NFL. He ranked 17th in last season’s list of the top 100 players, two spots behind Hill. He made the Pro Bowl for the third straight year.

In short, he might not need to play another down to have clinched his place in the Dolphins' Honor Roll at Hard Rock Stadium.

Read our full profile on Xavien Howard and why we ranked him No. 2.

No. 1: Playmaker Tyreek Hill

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) participates in training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens.

Ranking Info: There was lively staff debate about whether to rank star cornerback Xavien Howard first, based largely on his already immense Miami contributions.

But in the end, it was hard to overlook how Hill is perceived around the league.

While Howard is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, it can be argued that no offensive player is as feared as Hill, because of his explosiveness.

"I’m glad I don’t have to go against him on game day," Howard said.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier viewed acquiring Hill, who wanted a trade and strongly preferred Miami, as a special opportunity.

Hill, 28, is still in the prime of his career. He should be a central part to Miami's offense for at least the next four seasons.

Read more on Tyreek Hill and why we ranked him No. 1.

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This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins news: Palm Beach Post Top 25 players for 2022