A true devestator on the defensive line, Ndamukong Suh presents a multitude of challenges for any offense coordinator to try to gameplan around. But possibly the four-time Pro Bowl selection’s strongest trait may be his ability to create a standstill at the line of scrimmage, and take the wheels off an opponent’s running game.
That trait has been noticed nationally, as NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks recently listed Suh as the best run stuffer in the NFL.
Whenever a team is willing to lavish a $100 million contract on a defender, it says a lot about his ability to impact the game as a disruptive force at the line of scrimmage. Thus, it is no surprise Suh commanded quarterback money on the open market. After all, this is a guy who absolutely terrorizes opponents with versatile skills as a pass rusher/run stuffer. The four-time Pro Bowler obliterates blockers with his brute strength and power, but also wins with first-step quickness and agility. Thus, he is nearly impossible to block when he brings his A-game. Suh not only produces explosive plays on his own accord, but his mere presence requires double-teaming, which frees up others to make plays in the backfield. Consequently, he raises the play of the entire defense — that’s the kind of impact coaches expect from a true franchise player. With a supporting cast in Miami that features a couple of studs on the edges (Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon), the Dolphins‘ designated playmaker could cement his status as a transcendent superstar of his era.
But Suh isn’t the only new Dolphins player garnering major media attention for his dynamic skill set. Wide receiver Kenny Stills was named by Brooks to be the league’s No.5 ranked deep threat, and he could be the key to unlocking Ryan Tannehill‘s potential in the passing game down the field.
Stills’ inclusion on this list will surprise some observers, but defensive coordinators around the NFL are well aware of his explosiveness and big-play potential as the Dolphins‘ new vertical threat. Stills averaged 16.5 yards per catch and amassed 11 receptions of 40-plus yards during his first two NFL seasons, both with the New Orleans Saints. In Miami, he should have plenty of opportunities to get behind the defense, with Ryan Tannehill intent on taking more shots downfield in 2015. Stills is a dynamic route runner with explosive speed (he clocked a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine) and stellar stop-start quickness. He specializes in running double moves on the perimeter (stutter-go, out-and-up and post-corner-post), but also displays the acceleration and burst to run past defenders on basic vertical routes. With the Dolphins poised to take advantage of his skills as a vertical threat, Stills could finally get the attention he deserves as one of the NFL’s premier playmakers.
Stills is just one part of a revamped receiving corps for the Dolphins entering training camp. That group features another player that has definite breakout potential among all of the league’s 2nd year players according to Brooks in Jarvis Landry.
Landry did not make my list of the league’s top slot receivers last week — an omission for which the Twitter-verse lit me up — but the Dolphins youngster could emerge as the premier playmaker at the position following a strong 2015 campaign. The rugged pass catcher is an Anquan Boldin clone, poised to dominate opponents between the hashes as the focal point of theDolphins‘ quick-rhythm passing game. To join the ranks of the elite, Landry must raise his yards per catch figure (9.0 in 2014) and produce more explosive plays (only six catches of 20-plus yards as a rookie). Nonetheless, the fact that he finished among the top 20 receivers in “YAC” (18th, with 443 yards after the catch) suggests he could star in Miami’s “dink and dunk” system, given that he’ll have more experience and, presumably, even better chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.