Tonight, while checking Twitter for any new Dolphins news, we saw a tweet from Adam Schefter of ESPN. Schefter’s tweet was a link to a recently published ESPN.com story, ranking the top 10 pass rushers in the NFL. Intrigued, I decided to check it out to see where the Dolphins Pro Bowl OLB, Cameron Wake finished on the list. As it turns out, the ‘experts’ as ESPN don’t seem to think Cameron Wake is better than the 10th best pass rusher in the NFL.
Wake’s 14.0 sacks for the Dolphins in 2010 placed him 3rd in the entire NFL in sacks behind DeMarcus Ware (15.5) and Tamba Hali (14.5). Yet, the experts at ESPN think he’s only the 10th best? In fact, it was even more surprising to see that 3 of the 8 writers didn’t even have #91 of the Dolphins on the ballot! Yes, the top 10 list is comprised of good players, but we think some of the voting had more to do with name recognition than production on the field. After all, isn’t the goal of pass rushers to sack the quarterback? Further, some of Wake’s sacks came at the most crucial times in games. Big players make plays at big times.
Tim Graham, the ESPN.com blogger for the AFC East had Wake ranked #4; in our opinion a more suitable ranking. Every other ‘expert’ had the Dolphins young pass rusher at #9 or off the board completely. Granted, Graham follows the AFC East closer than the other writers, so he has been exposed to more Dolphins games and has seen more of Wake’s efforts on the field. Graham explains:
“If we’re ranking the best overall defensive ends or outside linebackers, then maybe Cameron Wake doesn’t make my list,” Graham said. “He’s not a run-stuffer and is lacking when it comes to pass coverage. But we’re rating pure pass-rushers, and that’s the one thing Wake does on an elite level. He’s a freakishly gifted athlete who creates havoc in the backfield.
Wake has improved against the run, so I disagree a bit with Graham there. But I agree with his point about Wake not making the top 10 if we’re talking about overall DE or OLB. He’s still fine tuning his run stuffing and working on is coverage skills. But this list was about pass rushing. It is rankings like these that make me hate ESPN at times. They try to cover too much, without paying attention to the details enough….But that’s a story for another day. For now, Dolphins’ fans can take pride in their young and growing OLB, Cameron Wake. I think he’s got a good 2011 in store for the Phins!
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