Star Potential: Miami Dolphins Need All-Pros to Emerge

Michael PintoSenior Writer IApril 4, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 15:  Tackle Jeremy Trueblood #65 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tries to keep linebcker Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins from getting to quarterback Josh Freeman #5 at Land Shark Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Buccaneers 25-23.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

While much of the talk this Miami Dolphins offseason has focused on the free agent addition of linebacker Karlos Dansby and potential selections with the 12th pick in the draft, an aspect as important as any as been overlooked.

Internal development.

Dansby should be huge for the Dolphins this year, he's got the talent to become an All-Pro in 2010. But how many of his teammates will join him in the Pro Bowl?

Left tackle Jake Long, strong safety Yeremiah Bell and place-kicker Dan Carpenter were Miami's only selections from the 2009 season. Bell and Carpenter were injury-replacements though.

More than that is needed if the Dolphins want to make the transition from bubble playoff team to contender. 

Besides Randy Starks, who was rated by Scouts Inc. as 2009's top 3-4 defensive end in the AFC, Miami needs guys to emerge as not just good players, but elite ones. That kind of growth likely won't come from this year's draft class.

It needs to come from the young guns already on the roster, the players who've shown flashes over the last two seasons. 

Chad Henne, Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Kendall Langford, Philip Merling, Cameron Wake, and Chris Clemons have all shown tremendous potential, but more is needed from each and every one of them. 

What Henne is able to do in his second season at the helm will probably be the single most-critical determining factor of the Dolphins' success in 2010. But the pressure is on all of these players to turn that potential into a reality. 

Will Davis and Smith emerge as the next Madison and Surtain? Can Bess and Hartline continue to grow and take Miami's passing game to the next level? Will Merling be able to push Starks for playing time at right end?

Can Langford take the next step in his third year at left end? Is Cameron Wake more than just a pass-rushing specialist? Will Clemons emerge as the starting free safety? 

These are the questions Miami's front office and coaching staff are asking themselves right now. 

The answers to those questions could be the difference between a playoff berth or anther year watching at home.

How the Dolphins' feel about these players will directly effect their draft plans and decide the fate's of players like Jason Taylor. 

2010 will be a very different year for Miami. Chad Pennington is now a clear-cut reserve, Joey Porter is gone, Taylor may be following him, Jason Ferguson is suspended for half the season and the Gibril Wilson experiment is thankfully over. 

The pressure is on for guys to emerge, for the next generation of Dolphins to lead the way into a future that could be filled with success, or continue to fall short like the teams of the past.

It's time for stars to emerge. Who's it going to be?


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