A franchise thought to be not interested in winning this past season made definitive strides by year’s end. What’s the next steps for the Miami Dolphins?
It’s a team that won five of its final nine games after looking like of the worst teams in the NFL after seven games. And that speaks a lot to the culture that first-year head coach Brian Flores brought to the Miami Dolphins after learning his craft under Bill Belichick in Foxborough.
Flores and general manager Chris Grier were determined to do things their way when they inherited a franchise that had made only two playoff appearances since realignment in 2002. Last offseason, they dealt away their share of players and made some deals during the draft. They head into April 23 with three first-round selections, a pair of twos and their own third-round pick.
Despite the late surge, the Dolphins are coming off a 5-11 showing and a last-place finish in the AFC East. So what’s the next step for a football team that remains a work in progress, has a slew of draft choices and plenty of cap room (via Spotrac)?
5. Find more play-makers at wide receiver
At one time, the Dolphins boasted a wide receiving corps that included Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and 2015 first-round pick DeVante Parker. Back in ‘18, the organization dealt Landry to the Cleveland Browns. Just before the start of this past season, the ‘Fins sent Stills to the Houston Texans in part of a deal that included left tackle Laremy Tunsil (more on him later).
During the first four years of his career, Parker was a bit of a disappointment. He failed to play in all 16 games each season and totaled a combined 163 receptions for 2,217 yards and nine scores in 54 regular-season outings.
In 2019, there were 16 outings and 14 starts – both career bests. The five-year pro hauled in 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. And anyone who saw him outplay 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore in the regular-season finale at Foxborough would certainly agree that the young wideout is light years away from the shaky start of his career.
But the remaining wide receivers on the team combined for only six scores, three of those by Albert Wilson. This is an area the team figures to address early in the draft while also looking for some veteran help as well.