The Miami Dolphins have a ton of young and emerging talent on the roster. Playing in the NFL, whenever you get your opportunity to shine, you have to make the most of it. Players such as Tom Brady, Cameron Wake, James Harrison, Antonio Gates, and Antonio Brown were all late-round draft picks or undrafted free agents who just needed a shot. Here are some players to keep your eye on as they could have their breakout season this upcoming year.
Ogbah is an incoming Dolphin after he signed a two year, $15 million dollar deal this off-season. Coming off of a one year stint in Kansas City, Ogbah only played in 10 games (starting four) before tearing his pectoral muscle in November. In that time he had five and a half sacks, which led his team and matched his career-high. Even though his career-high in sacks is five and a half, Ogbah could top that very early in the upcoming season. Playing in a system such as Brian Flores’s that maximizes his versatility and lets him play to his strengths, Ogbah will have every chance t be successful.
Needham has an interesting story coming into the NFL. He was an undrafted free agent in the 2019 NFL Draft coming out of UTEP. He was noticed by Miami’s cornerback coach Josh Boyer (who is also the same coach that found Malcolm Butler). Needham was released as part of final cuts but later signed to the practice squad. Later on, in the season he was called up and became a starter shortly after. Once he became a starter, Needham’s presence on the field was felt imminently. He started 11 games last season and posted 54 tackles, two interceptions, and 11 passes deflected. Even though Miami drafted Noah Igbinoghene in the first round and signed Byron Jones in free agency, Needham could still fight for the starting nickel spot.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 10, 2019
Like Needham, Laird was also an undrafted free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Due to a crowded running back room, Laird never got any touches until week ten against the Indianapolis Colts. Even though his stats don’t reflect that he is a successful runner (some fault can be blamed on the awful offensive line), Laird excelled as a pass-catcher. Nicknamed “The Intern” by his teammates since players thought he was an intern in the locker-room and not an actual player, Laird quickly gained popularity through that and his ability to make people miss in the open field. Even though Jordan Howard and Matt Breida joined the Dolphins backfield this offseason, Laird could the team’s third-down back since he is so good out of the backfield and making defenders miss.
Patrick Laird back to back big plays. Keep an eye on Michael Deiter on the Td run. pic.twitter.com/x6F4ReUwoK
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) December 1, 2019
Many Dolphin fans already know who Jerome Baker is, but outside of them, he is a no-name. Baker one of the Dolphins best defenders last season and made his presence felt almost every play. He had 126 tackles, one and a half sacks, and one interception last year. Baker is one of the main players who are benefitting the most from Brain Flores coming in to be the new head coach. Flores makes the defense so Baker is in position to get most of the tackles on the team and he really sets the pace on defense. If Baker is able to take the next step this season, you will see a lot of improvement from the Miami Dolphins defense as a whole.