Madden NFL 16 Primer: Why 'Draft Champions' Matters

Madden 14 Outlook: Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins would do well to re-sign this guy next season.
The Dolphins would do well to re-sign this guy next season.

With the NFL playoffs in full force and this season’s Superbowl just around the corner, now is as good a time as any to take a peek into what Madden 14 may have in store Miami Dolphins fans.

As a Jaguars fan, I know what it feels like watching the playoffs from the couch. Most of the time my mind is occupied with what will happen next season, so in this first of a series of articles we will take a look at each team and try to get a feel at where things might stand a few months from now when Madden 14 hits shelves.

Miami’s Top Madden 13 Talents

It’s difficult to know exactly how a player’s ratings might look next season in Madden 14, however usually the end of the previous season is a good starting point for analysis.

RE Cameron Wake, 97 overall rating – It looks like Cameron Wake is a force here to stay. Overcoming a change in defensive scheme and proving the last couple of years were no fluke, Wake was back again to torment offenses in Madden 13. Wake’s ratings are excellent across the board with no glaring deficiencies, but what really separates him from the rest of the pack is how quickly he can get to the ball after the snap.

The fastest and most efficient way to stop a play as a defensive end is to fly around a blocker rather than engage him in a pushing contest, and Wake’s combination of 84 speed rating, 94 acceleration rating, and 99 finesse rating make him perfectly tailored for that kind of play.

HB Reggie Bush, 84 overall rating – The debate is still ongoing whether or not Reggie Bush can ever truly be a feature back in the NFL, but in Madden 13 the answer is more obvious. Bush’s primary athleticism ratings (95 speed rating, 97 agility rating, 96 acceleration rating) are about as ideal as you will find. Add in high-level movement skills like 93 elusiveness rating, 90 spin move rating, and 97 juke move rating, and Bush is a threat to bust a long touchdown on any given play. For a team lacking offensive targets, Bush’s 81 catching rating, 83 route running rating, 87 spectacular catch rating, and 85 release rating are put to good use in the passing game whether he’s lining up in the backfield or at receiver. Simply put, the video game version of Reggie Bush is everything he was supposed to be coming out of college.

LT Jake Long, 91 overall rating – Unfortunately for Miami, they can’t go back in time and take Matt Ryan instead, but Jake Long is a top player in his own right. Long isn’t specialized in one particular area or another, but he’s strong in all the important aspects for tackles which makes for reliable and consistent performance. To take advantage of Reggie Bush’s presence, Long offers some significant movement in the running game with a 97 strength rating, 93 impact block rating, and 97 run block strength rating. But as mentioned, he’s nearly just as proficient as a pass blocker if that’s more your style.

Miami Dolphins Madden 14 Free Agent Hopefuls

Free agency will play a big role in Madden 14 next season, particularly with all of the talent that appears to be poised to hit the market. Will Miami be able to capitalize? Before even thinking about other players, they must first bring back their own with 11 set to hit the market. A reported $47 million in cap space should help with that.

Which Fee Agent Would You Rather See On The Dolphins Next Season?

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Reggie Bush (RB): While it’s not quite clear whether Bush will be returning to the team next season, I think Miami will take a hard look at him and decide that he makes their offense much more dynamic. If he’s lost to free agency, however, things are not all lost, as they still have a budding young talent in Lamar Miller (95 speed of his own) who they might feel good about stepping in after a 4.9 YPC rookie season. I’ve seen a lot of places signalling that Bush won’t be retained next season, but I’ll go a bit against the grain here and say the Dolphins front office thinks better of it and brings him back.

Jake Long (OT): Long, like Bush, is also set to be a free agent this offseason. It’s certain that resigning Long will be a priority for the team, but his health has been enough of a concern that he could end up saying so long considering the size of contract he would command. On the Madden side, offensive line play is extremely underrated, but it often plays a key component in wins and losses when you can shut down an opposing player’s top pass rusher. Cross your fingers that the big guy doesn’t go anywhere.

Randy Starks (DT): Starks has been a rock for Miami over his tenure, and at 29, may still have a few more good years left in him. I would expect bringing Starks (Pro-Bowl alternate) back for one last contract would be a smart, safe move for Miami. Starks certainly played up to his previous contract and didn’t burn the team with untimely injuries, obscene behavior or anything of the sort.

Brian Hartline (WR): Hartline had a wonderful fourth season for the Dolphins, tallying up over 1,000 yards receiving and 70+ catches in his contract year. With a young quarterback like Ryan Tannehill, you can be sure the front office will be searching for ways to improve the talent around him. Paying Hartline, however, may not be the answer to that. Don’t be surprised if the team will take this opportunity to spend their money elsewhere at the receiver position.

Greg Jennings (WR): Now here is a name I think Miami might be extremely interested in. Coming off an injured season, Jennings can probably be had for a significant discount over other options in free agency, and would give Tannehill a veteran option. Jennings would immediately become the best receiver on the Dolphins real life, and Madden roster, with a 90 rating in both catch and route running, as well as 93 in spectacular catch.

Mike Wallace (WR): Wallace may very well be the most expensive receiver if he makes it to free agency this offseason, however he may just warrant the price tag for a Miami team that sorely needs more speed at the wideout position. For Madden players, Wallace is a god-send, with 98 speed, 99 acceleration and 93 spectacular catch which help to make him one of the most dangerous threats in the game.

Miami Dolphins Draft Prospects

This is where I’m going to stop playing GM, and leave things to the people who know best: Miami Dolphins fans. The Dolphins have FIVE picks in the first two days of the draft (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd), so who do you think the Dolphins should draft?

Leave your favorite Dolphins draft targets in the comments below, and tell me: What makes them such a good fit for the team?

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