- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPN.com’s Miami Dolphins page continues its ranking of the top 40 players.
Here are Nos. 5-8:
No. 8: Ryan Tannehill
2013 stats: 3,913 yards, 24 TDs, 17 INTs
Analysis: The jury is still out on Tannehill. But he comes in with a solid ranking at No. 8 on Walker’s Fab. 40. I like many of the tools Tannehill brings to the table. The issue going forward is can he strengthen his weaknesses? Will Tannehill improve his pocket presence? Can he consistently complete the deep ball? Those are the things that will get Tannehill to the next level. For now he’s just 15-17 as a starter.
No. 7: Brian Hartline
Position: wide receiver
2013 stats:76 receptions, 1,016 yards, four TDs
Analysis: Hartline is a player you love to have on your team. He doesn’t look for the glory and press clippings. Hartline simply comes to work everyday and consistently does his job. Hartline led the Dolphins in receiving yards and recorded his second straight 1,000-yard season. He’s an ideal No. 2 receiver, and usually does well against No. 2 cornerbacks.
No. 6: Olivier Vernon
Position: Defensive end
2013 stats: 57 tackles, 11.5 sacks
Analysis: Vernon came out of nowhere in 2013. He was expected to relinquish his starting job to rookie No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan. But Vernon kept piling up the numbers, stayed in the starting lineup, and led the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks. He was the team’s most consistent pass-rusher last season. He also improved at sealing the edge against the run, but he’s still a work in progress in that regard.
No. 5: Mike Wallace
Position: Wide receiver
2013 stats:73 receptions, 930 yards, five TDs
Analysis: Wallace was Miami’s biggest free-agent signing in 2013. He got off to a slow start, but still finished with solid numbers. Wallace is lightning fast, but the Dolphins failed to use his speed effectively. Tannehill struggled with the deep ball and missed Wallace on several opportunities that could have changed games. Wallace will have another offseason to work with Tannehill and get on the same page. The pair could be dangerous in 2014 if that happens.