Friday, September 8, 2023

Miami Dolphins Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Miami Dolphins in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 6

On the hot seat: OT Austin Jackson

The Dolphins' starting right tackle suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 last season and never got going. He's back in 2023, albeit in the final year of his contract after Miami declined to exercise his fifth-year option. The team has brought in serious competition for the first time since drafting him at No. 18 in 2020, signing tackles Isaiah Wynn and Cedric Ogbuehi. The job is still Jackson's to lose -- but if he loses it, his future with the Dolphins is in doubt. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques -- Rank: 8

There have been some preseason disappointments, such as losing CB Jalen Ramsey to injury, not signing RB Dalvin Cook, not signing DT Christian Wilkins to a long-term deal and keeping only two of their four 2023 draft picks. But the hope of the 2023 Dolphins was always built on a healthier Tua Tagovailoa and the work Vic Fangio can do with a talented defense. And though the schedule looks tough on paper, they do have nine home games, with seven true road contests and a contest in Germany against the Chiefs. Health will be a season-long story to monitor, but all things being equal, this team might be ready to make an incremental improvement over coach Mike McDaniel's promising first year.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 11

If Tua Tagovailoa can stay on the field, they will score a bunch of points, even if the offensive line has some issues. The defense will be much better with Vic Fangio running it.

USA Today -- Rank: 15

They're already sufficiently beat up — LT Terron Armstead, RB Jeff Wilson and, most notably, CB Jalen Ramsey, who may not return this season — that those injuries could be the difference from returning to the playoffs in what projects as an airtight conference at the top.

The Athletic -- Rank: 12

Best-case scenario: Perhaps only the Jets have a wider variance of possibilities entering the season, but the ceiling hits for Miami as Tua Tagovailoa's offseason preparation pays off and he remains healthy all year. Coach Mike McDaniel evolves his offense further in Year 2, and the midseason trade for Jonathan Taylor makes them unstoppable as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle lead the league in combined receiving yardage again. Vic Fangio proves to be the defensive sorcerer he's paid to be as Jaelan Phillips vaults into the elite category of edge rushers, and Jalen Ramsey is great down the stretch. Tagovailoa plays good sport during Super Bowl week in a recorded bit for ESPN when he takes pole dancing lessons with Ryan Clark.

Worst-case scenario: Sad but simple. Tagovailoa's body can't hold up, Mike White turns out to be no better than the backups they had a year ago, and the injuries on defense leave Fangio without much to work with. They bottom out to last place in the division, which is made worse given the price they pay in draft picks for Taylor.

FOX -- Rank: 9

If you can promise me Tua Tagovailoa plays the whole season, I'm all-in on the Dolphins. The offense is explosive and the defense is loaded. Even with Jalen Ramsey expected to miss a big chunk of the season, Miami has Pro Bowl-caliber play at all three levels, with Vic Fangio calling the shots. If the quarterback is healthy, I think the sky is the limit. If he's not — well, we've seen how that goes.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 9

The Dolphins' reported pursuit of Dalvin Cook and Jonathan Taylor speaks to their weakness at running back. Jeff Wilson Jr. going to injured reserve certainly doesn't help. Raheem Mostert could end up being just fine, but it seems like the Dolphins aren't done shopping.

PFT -- Rank: 5

It's been 50 years since they last won a Super Bowl. If they can keep all key players healthy, they can end that streak.

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