Who is the Miami Dolphins’ best player?

Cam Wake or Reshad Jones. Whose the best Dolphin? (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

Over the course of the last few seasons, it’s been generally accepted that Ndamukong Suh is the best player on the Miami Dolphins.

But because Suh plays defensive tackle, his impact wasn’t always evident.

To an extent, the Dolphins will learn this season what that impact really was, as Suh has been cut for salary reasons.

The NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 list has recently begun to be unveiled on the league’s network, and I’ve been wondering which Dolphins will make it. No, an anonymous player vote isn’t necessarily the best way to evaluate relative talent.

But I know it meant something to Jarvis Landry, the Cleveland Browns receiver who would always used his perceived-too-low ranking as a motivation. Landry, too, has been sent away from the Dolphins, as part of a reconfiguration that includes the extraction of some serious skill.

Landry caught more passes than anyone in the NFL in recent years, so it would be foolish to suggest he was not one of the Dolphins’ best players, arguably their most important offensive player.

Sent away too, on Halloween last year, was running back Jay Ajayi. Like Suh and Landry and cut center Mike Pouncey, Ajayi is a Pro Bowler. When Ajayi was posting 200 yard games, I was writing about how he was the Dolphins’ most important and most indispensable player.

Things changed. And quickly. Coach Adam Gase didn’t want to ride Ajayi, didn’t really jive with Ajayi, and didn’t really trust Ajayi.

Which is all fine and good. The Dolphins felt Gase was “changing the culture” upon taking over and this offseason “changing the culture” still seemed to a be a part of the plan that’s unfinished.

But like any NFL team, Miami needs more talent. They need more players. They need better players.

Which got me to thinking — who on this current roster is great?

Miami hopes that some of picks from the last three drafts will end up as great players. It’s crazy to think that tackle Laremy Tunsil, who is supposed to possess Hall of Fame skills, was taken three drafts ago.

Perhaps Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, Charles Harris, Raekwon McMillan or Minkah Fitzpatrick (or dare I say, DeVante Parker) will emerge this season as a Pro Bowl talent. Perhaps one of those players will emerge as the best player on the roster.

That would be ideal for Miami, which is clearly in a transitional-replenishment phase. This season will not be an intended tank job for Miami. So the youngsters Miami has selected really need to take giant leaps forward to facilitate a competitive product.

The Dolphins added consummate professionals in guard Josh Sitton, wide receiver Danny Amendola and running back Frank Gore this season. Miami has a handful of solid, proven NFL players such as Kenny Stills, Ryan Tannehill, Ja’Wuan James and Kiko Alonso.

If Tannehill rises to the level of play that Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan have shown at times during their career (why not?) he could arguably emerge as Miami’s best player in 2018. We know there are skeptics. We know Tannehill is turning 30, but it’s not too late at his position.

Which brings us to Cam Wake, Robert Quinn and Reshad Jones. Despite Miami’s struggles on defense at times over the past few years, it’s interesting that Miami’s three best players may be defensive players capable of applying pressure.

Quinn, 27, is the youngest of the bunch and his acquisition for a fourth-rounder could prove to be a steal for executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum and Miami. But Quinn has dealt with some injuries in two of the last three seasons, and may have peaked in 2013.

Jones, 30, is a two-time Pro Bowler, like Quinn. Jones played incredibly in 2015 and was off to an excellent start in 2016, before an injury ended his season. Jones is capable of game-changing plays, and was solid last season, but surely feels he can play at an even higher level this season.

Which brings us to Wake, 36 years old, and yes — the best player on the Miami Dolphins.

It’s not ideal when your best player is 36. But what a remarkable example Wake can set for his teammates in so many ways. Undrafted. Began his professional career in Canada. Through superior nutrition and commitment, he’s producing at an incredibly high level at such an advanced stage.

Perhaps Wake and Jones will represent Miami on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 list. What’s more important is that in the coming years, the Dolphins have far more players worthy of consideration for the list.

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