The Miami Dolphins are not expected to win many games in the 2019 season, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely void of talent. Certain players on this roster will have a good chance at a break-out season. With a new coaching staff in place, players will have the opportunity to start fresh and showcase their talents. None of the guys on the roster are coach Brian Flores’ “guys.” The Dolphins will have a competition at just about every position to see who wins the job.
I expect a few players who were either previously in the “dog house” of a former regime or plagued with injuries to step up and show out this year in Miami. These players have great potential for a break-out year. Most of them are former first-round picks, which shows they can perform at a high level. Below is a list of the top five players I expect to have a break-out year with Miami in 2019.
Charles Harris | EDGE | Year 3
The player who will benefit most from coach Flores’ new defensive scheme will be Charles Harris. Harris only played in 32% of Miami’s defensive snaps in 2018 (he missed six games due to injury). Regardless of the injury, Harris was playing out of position his first two seasons in Miami.
The former Missouri Tiger was drafted as a 3-4 outside linebacker where he excelled in college. However, the defensive genius that is Matt Burke decided Harris would be better suited as a 4-3 defensive lineman. The Dolphins parted with their top three pass rushers this offseason, which means more snaps for Harris. With the added workload and ability to rush from his natural position, I expect Harris to show the talent that made him a first-round pick finally.
Mike Gesicki | Tight end | Year 2
Coming out of Penn State, there was no question that Mike Gesicki would be a match-up nightmare for defenses as a pass catcher. His biggest weakness, however, was blocking. Like his pass-catching abilities, this wasn’t a secret either.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gesicki played in 400 snaps last year. Of those 400 snaps, he was asked to block (run and pass) a total of 176 times. That was 44% of the plays he was on the field for. To expect a player who to do something he struggles with, for almost 50% of his snaps, in his ROOKIE year, is crazy. Expect new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea to utilize Gesicki this year to showcase his skill set, assisting in his break-out year.
Albert Wilson | Receiver | Year 6
Miami signed Albert Wilson to a 3-year $24 million contract in the 2018 offseason, after he spent his first four years with the Kansas City Chiefs. This move was one of former head coach Adam Gase’s best moves.
The shifty receiver was poised to post career numbers in just about all areas in 2018 before a hip injury in week seven against the Detroit Lions. The week prior he racked up 155 yards and two touchdowns on only six receptions. If Wilson can stay healthy, he should be able to pick up where he left off last year and have his break-out year.
Minkah Fitzpatrick | Multi-tool | Year 2
In his rookie year, Minkah Fitzpatrick showed why Nick Saban called him his favorite player ever. Fitzpatrick came in and was asked to learn four different positions on the defense and excelled at all four. Fitzpatrick was asked to play nickel, boundary, and both safety spots due to injuries.
We should see Fitzpatrick used as a swiss army knife, like Chiefs star Tyrann Mathieu. Fitzpatrick has the talent and will to be one of the best defensive weapons in the NFL for years to come.
DeVante Parker | Receiver | Year 5
DeVante Parker has battled injuries and loss of coaches trust over his whole career so far. Most expected him to be cut this offseason to avoid paying his $9 million fifth-year option. General manager Chris Grier surprised everyone when he restructured Parker’s deal to a 2-year $5 million “prove it” style contract.
There’s no debating Parker’s physical ability. It’s always been an issue of injuries or will. This contract should inspire Parker. Dolphins fans will hopefully see the potential they’ve been waiting for since he was drafted. If not, this will most likely be his last year in Miami.