All of the players on this list have much to offer for the future—whether those offerings be from veterans or younger players.
As Miami will undoubtedly be making coaching changes at the end of the season, this list of players is essential to Miami's success in the near future.
Jake Long’s ability as a left tackle is incredible. He is already seen by some as a potential Hall of Fame player at the position. Though Long is not having his best season, there is no denying that when healthy, Long is the best tackle in the NFL.
Left tackle is a pivotal position in any offense because that player protects the quarterback’s blind side. When a team makes a large investment in a franchise quarterback, it is the left tackle that protects that investment.
It looks like Miami will be in the running for a young, high-profile quarterback—so keeping Long is a no-brainer.
Brandon Marshall has a history with issues on and off the field. Every action Marshall makes has to be taken with a grain of salt. He is an emotional player that sometimes lets those emotions get the best of him.
For a little over a decade, Miami was looking for that true No. 1 receiver. Marshall is that guy. No matter how much fans dislike the guy, he will be the best friend of any quarterback that is playing.
Since Marshall has come out to the public with his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, he has been much more team-oriented—though still emotional.
Marshall has been underutilized as a red-zone target, which the addition of a quality quarterback next season should fix.
Marshall is well on his way to his fifth straight 1,000-yard season.
Reggie Bush’s start to this season was a disappointment. Through that disappointment, he has worked vigorously to improve himself.
Bush has proven that he does have a future in Miami. He is a stellar complement to the offense. No matter who is coaching the Dolphins next season, Bush’s skill set as a runner and receiver will be extremely valuable.
As of late, Miami has done well getting Bush into space. They are using him in many different positions and situations—knowing the importance of getting the ball in his hands.
Behind a better and more athletic offensive line, Daniel Thomas will flourish. Thomas has shown us a sample of his ability as a runner, with superb vision, determination and agility.
Though Thomas lacks that breakaway speed, he is a very consistent runner between the tackles. He makes the most of his carries and he does very well making the first defender miss.
Thomas’ biggest asset is his ability to fall forward for extra yards. Thomas has turned two-yard runs into four-yard runs, four-yard runs into six-yard runs—and so on and so forth.
Reggie Bush and Thomas, once behind a better offensive line, will be phenomenal complements to each other.
Miami’s best pass-rush threat is Cameron Wake. The biggest issue with Wake is the lack of another pass-rusher on Miami’s roster.
The other linebackers on the roster have not performed well in applying pressure. Giving Wake the benefit of the doubt, he is a very hard worker and is the type of outside linebacker that all teams want to have.
Wake will likely be signed long-term, which will do nothing but benefit the Dolphins.
When healthy, Vontae Davis is a very solid cornerback. He has the ability to take a receiver completely out of the game.
Davis, a first-round pick several seasons ago, is the best defensive back that Miami has on its roster. Going forward, he will likely be kept in the picture as this team moves into next season. He is the only defensive back that isn’t expendable at this point.
Miami made Karlos Dansby one of the highest-paid linebackers in the entire NFL. They did so in confidence that he could be the leader of that defense.
After a great 2010 season, Dansby was a victim of the NFL lockout. He was overweight and out of shape when a deal was finally reached, affecting his play well into this season.
Dansby is finally back in shape and is certainly making up for lost time. He is a big reason why Miami’s defense has improved tenfold since the start of the season.
Though Dansby is getting older, he still has some solid years left—years that will likely be played in a Dolphins uniform.
Mike Pouncey is already making a name for himself as a center in this league. After doubt surrounded Miami’s decision to draft him in the first round of this year’s draft, he has definitely given fans something to cheer about.
Given his versatility, he can play many different positions on the offensive line. He is playing well as a center, but also gives Miami the option of getting another solid center if the available guards are unimpressive.
Pouncey is very strong and athletic; he can move well while moving defenders. Pouncey will be on this roster for a very long time.
Jared Odrick, in his second year, has a ton of potential for Miami’s young defense. Odrick has already gotten a lot of playing time on a defensive unit that has many talented linemen.
This is Odrick’s first full season and he has already shown the ability to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. As a very young player, Odrick will have a future in Miami.
The most important part of any 3-4 defense is the nose tackle. A nose tackle has to be big, strong and powerful. Paul Soliai is the prototypical nose tackle, which makes Miami’s 3-4 defense stout.
When Soliai first came into the league, he had a problem staying in shape. His work ethic was poor and so was his play.
Soliai finally lived up to expectations last season and Miami put the franchise tag on him this season.
Soliai will be the recipient of a big contract next season, whether that be for another team or the Dolphins. However, there is a very good chance that Miami does value Soliai enough to give him a long-term deal.
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