Miami Dolphins' 5 most underrated players ahead of the 2023 NFL season

2MA6YKF Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler (92) sets himself at the line during a NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct.16, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

• Zach Sieler continues to outperform draft stock: The former seventh-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens has proven himself as one of the top, and most underrated, interior defenders in the league.

• Kader Kahou still stands out in a talented CB room: The former undrafted free agent burst onto the scene in 2022 and didn't allow a touchdown in coverage until Week 14.

• First-rounder Jaelan Phillips now one of 2021 class' best EDGEs: After enduring rookie-year struggles, Phillips is coming on strong as a pass rusher.

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The Miami Dolphins have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL heading into the 2023 season. There is no shortage of star power at the top with the likes of Tyreek Hill (92.1 overall grade in 2022, first among wide receivers) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (86.4 overall grade in 2022, third among cornerbacks), who have combined to earn seven first-team All-Pro selections.

Hill and Ramsey are still in the prime of their careers and will be expected to set the tone every week. However, if the Dolphins are going to end their 22-year drought without a postseason victory, it will take contributions from all 53 players on the active roster.

With this in mind, here are the five most underrated players on the team this season.


1. DI Zach Sieler

Sieler was a seventh-round pick (238th overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Division II Ferris State. As a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens, Sieler played just 17 snaps and was waived in December 2019. One day later, he was claimed by the Dolphins and immediately established himself as a mainstay on the roster.

In 2020, Sieler appeared in all 16 games and played 532 snaps. He ranked second on the team with 32 defensive stops and fourth with 25 total pressures. In 2021, Sieler’s 84.9 overall grade ranked third among all NFL interior defenders.

Last season was Sieler’s first as an every-down starter (944 snaps, compared to 518 the year before). His 73.4 overall grade was good for 21st among 127 qualifying interior defenders. He was particularly strong against the run, racking up 38 defensive stops, trailing only teammate Christian Wilkins (44) at their respective positions.

A free agent to be at the end of 2023, Sieler has proven his worth over the past three seasons in Miami. The Dolphins would be wise to address his contract sooner rather than later, as he is still in the prime of his career and has more productive years ahead of him.

2. CB Kader Kohou

Kohou signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2022. It didn’t take long for him to make a name for himself, breaking up a Mac Jones fourth-quarter pass that resulted in a turnover on downs and helped the Dolphins put away the Patriots in the season opener.

Kohou’s 630 coverage snaps were the second most for any undrafted rookie cornerback in the PFF era (since 2006). Despite being an every-down player, Kohou did not allow his first touchdown in coverage until Week 14. He finished the year with a 68.5 overall grade, 36th out of 118 qualifying cornerbacks.

Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard will get most of the headlines, but it’s the depth in the defensive back unit that makes the Dolphins arguably the top secondary in the league.

It’s hard not to be excited for Kohou’s future when factoring in his impressive rookie season, the elite talent around him and the arrival of Vic Fangio — one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.

3. G Robert Hunt

Around the league, Dolphins right guard Robert Hunt is best known for his role in one of the most remarkable touchdowns that didn’t count. In Week 10 of the 2021 season, Hunt caught a designed halfback screen, juked Ravens cornerback Brandon Stephens and went airborne on his way to the end zone. The score was called back due to a penalty, but since it was a primetime game, it was a moment every fan remembers.

Hunt has been a top-10 guard in the NFL since that game. He ranked inside the top 15 in both run-blocking grade (74.5, seventh) and pass-blocking grade (74.6, 15th) in 2022, and his overall grade has improved in each of his three seasons in the league.

The former second-round pick has appeared in all 35 games, including playoffs, the past two seasons and has been, by far, the most consistent Dolphins offensive lineman. For a unit that’s had serious concerns up front, his impact and importance to the team's success have flown under the radar.

4. EDGE Jaelan Phillips

Phillips struggled mightily in his rookie 2021 season, finishing the year with a 53.7 overall grade (94th out of 110 qualifying edge defenders). Just one year later, he developed into one of the better players in the NFL, earning an 88.8 overall grade that ranked sixth best among 119 qualifying edge defenders.

His 77 total pressures generated was the most for any Dolphins player since Olivier Vernon’s 81 in 2015. Phillips was credited with five-plus pressures in 11 games, proving that he was a week-to-week force and his numbers were not inflated by a particular game or two.

At just 24 years old, it’s safe to assume Phillips will only continue to improve as he enters the prime years of his career. Five other edge defenders were taken between Picks 21-32 after Miami selected Phillips 18th overall in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and it now appears as though the Dolphins nailed that one.

5. RB Raheem Mostert

Mostert played a career-high 551 snaps in his first season with the Dolphins, quite the accomplishment given how many injuries he’s had to overcome in the NFL. He was one of the more productive running backs in the league on a per-snap basis, which has been the case when healthy throughout his career.

There’s no doubt that Mostert is on the shortlist for play of the year last season. In Week 15 at Buffalo, he broke four tackles before dragging Bills safety Taron Johnson an additional 25-plus yards, resulting in a 67-yard gain. The only reason Mostert didn’t score a touchdown was that Johnson committed a horsecollar penalty on the tackle.

Efforts like that night in Buffalo have been the norm for Mostert. Since 2019, he leads all running backs with 5.4 yards per attempt, ranks fourth in yards after contact per attempt (3.5) and ties for seventh in missed tackles forced per attempt (0.21).

The Dolphins have been linked to former Vikings running back Dalvin Cook quite a bit this offseason. While there’s no telling how that situation will ultimately play out, it’s clear that Mostert has earned himself a significant role in 2023.

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