Next we have the fan favorite, Cameron Wake. Wake is another player who burst onto the scene in 2009 but as a situational pass-rusher for a team that was already occupied by seasoned pass-rushers in Jason Taylor and Joey Porter.
Before joining the Fins in 2009, Wake was a relative unknown to the NFL world.
Wake played college ball at Penn State for the great Joe Paterno but wasn't an overly flashy collegiate player. He went undrafted in 2005 and was picked up by the New York Giants before being released during training camp. He then lived a life without football and thought his football career to be over until May of 2007.
In 2007, Wake ventured up to Canada and signed a free-agent contract with the British Columbia Lions as a defensive end and never looked back.
He became the first player in CFL history to be named Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. In two seasons with the B.C. Lions, Wake racked up 39 sacks and two Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Wake's terrorizing play caught the eye of Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, and Wake signed a contract to play for the Fins prior to the 2009 season. In his first season with the Fins, he was merely a situational pass-rusher due to his lack of run-stop and coverage skills. After all, as a 4-3 end for the B.C. Lions, he wasn't asked to do much of anything aside from rushing the pass.
In the offseason prior to the 2010 season, the Dolphins released a disgruntled Joey Porter and Aging Jason Taylor. This was shocking to some. To others, it was a nod of approval for Cameron Wake to take over the reigns.
Keep in mind, this was a season removed from when Porter posted 17.5 sacks and three seasons removed from Jason Taylor winning Defensive Player of the Year.
Wake took the opportunity and ran with it, posting 14 sacks and three forced fumbles en route to earning a starting Pro Bowl berth and All-Pro honors in his first year as stating outside linebacker. He also was more stout against the run than most anticipated and racked up 12 tackles for losses and 26 total tackles behind the line of scrimmage including sacks, according to thephinsider.com. No defensive player could trump that in 2010.
Due to his time out of football and in the CFL, Wake is already 29 years of age. However, he's in tremendous shape and doesn't have any outstanding injuries on his resume. His hard work and relentless attitude should allow him to play well into his 30's.
Here's to never giving up on your dreams, Cameron Wake.