Last week, NFL scout for ESPN.com Matt Williamson joined The Finsiders for an in depth discussion on where the Miami Dolphins stand heading into the regular season.
In short, Williamson is impressed with what he sees developing in South Florida. For starters, the ESPN NFL scout raved about second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed more than 58-percent of his passes for 3,294 yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie last season.
“I really like him,” Williamson said of Tannehill. “I think he’s got all the talent in the world. He didn’t have an Andrew Luck or RGIII type of rookie season, but he also didn’t have nearly those kinds of weapons. It wasn’t that long ago he was playing wide receiver at Texas A&M, so he passed every test for me as a rookie and I expect him to take a leap forward.”
Williamson added he’s impressed with how Tannehill handles pressure, stating, “that’s what an NFL quarterback needs to do”.
However, more than anything else, Williamson pointed to the defense as the clear strength of this Dolphins’ roster.
“I think this is a top-five defense,” he said, “and I feel like I’m the only one in the nation talking about it, but I think this defense might be as good as any in the NFL.
“I like everything about this defense.”
When asked about Miami’s offseason additions on the defensive side of the ball via free agency and the draft, Williamson had nothing but praise for the Dolphins.
“I think [Brent] Grimes was one of the steals in free agency,” he said. “It looks to me that he’s healthy and by all accounts, he’s back to being what he was with the Falcons pre-injury, which was frankly one of the best corners in the league. And now that they have all these options and you throw Dion Jordan into the mix, they just have a lot more ways of defending their opponents now and can be more confusing with their blitz schemes, can be more aggressive with man coverage and things like that with Grimes and the rookies as well.”
As far as where Miami can improve, Williamson admitted that while he can’t find any glaring holes, some concern does remain in the area of the running game.
“I have some worries about the running game overall and particularly the offensive line,” Williamson said. “Is Lamar Miller that guy? The guy that can carry the ball 250 times and put teams away when it matters most late in games when he’s getting tired. We don’t know those things.”
However, when it’s all said and done, Williamson believes there’s reason for optimism in South Florida.
“I have high hopes,” he said. “I still think New England is the class of the division. I think the AFC is very weak, though and they should be in the hunt with three or four other teams for a wild card spot. And most importantly, they have their quarterback, really since Dan Marino and I think [Ryan] Tannehill is bound to take big steps forward.”
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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.