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Friday, February 14, 2014
Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 9-12

By James Walker

We continue our rankings of the top 40 players on the Miami Dolphins.

Next up, we take a look at Nos. 9-12.

No. 12: Dannell Ellerbe

Position: Linebacker

2013 stats: 101 tackles, one sack, two INTs

Analysis: Ellerbe led Miami in tackles. But it was mostly an underwhelming year for the Dolphins’ prized free agent. Ellerbe had a tough transition playing middle linebacker of a 4-3 defense. He didn’t make many big plays and the Dolphins were ranked 24th against the run.

No. 11: Randy Starks

Position: Defensive tackle

2013 stats: 49 tackles, four sacks

Analysis: Starks was part of the three-man rotation at defensive tackle with teammates Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick. Starks made the most splash plays of the three, but the run defense struggled overall. Starks had a good run in Miami and still has something left in the tank. But he will be an unrestricted free agent in March and may not return to Miami.

No. 10: Paul Soliai

Position: Defensive tackle

2013 stats: 34 tackles, one sack

Analysis: Similar to Starks, Soliai is an unrestricted free agent and may not return to Miami. The Dolphins will try to keep one of the two defensive tackles. Soliai is the better run stuffer of the two and is hard to move in the middle. But Soliai is not a natural pass-rusher. The Soliai-Starks dilemma will present a tough decision for Miami first-year general manager Dennis Hickey.

No. 9: Charles Clay

Position: Tight end

2013 stats: 69 receptions, 759 yards, six touchdowns

Analysis: Clay was one of Miami’s biggest success stories of 2013. He began training camp as a backup to Dustin Keller. But a season-ending knee injury to Keller opened the door for Clay, and he took advantage. Clay was third on the team in receptions and became a dependable option for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Clay is entering the final year of his rookie contract and on his way to proving he should be part of Miami’s long-term plans.