19. RB PATRICK COBBS — Perhaps the most versatile player on the team, Cobbs helps the Dolphins in so many different ways. After the work he did as a kickoff returner late last season, he should add that to his list of duties from the start in 2009.
18. G JUSTIN SMILEY — Smiley has had bad luck with injuries in recent years, but it was clear before he was hurt last year that the Dolphins signed a quality free agent when they got him. He's a big part of the reason why there's such optimism for the offensive line.
17. TE ANTHONY FASANO — Fasano's emergence last season after coming over in that great trade with Dallas that also brought Akin Ayodele might have surprised some folks with his performance last season, but don't forget that he came into the league as a second-round pick. He might be even better in 2009.
16. C JAKE GROVE — The one problem on the offensive line last season, besides injuries, was the lack of a mauler in the middle. That's where Grove comes in.
15. RB RICKY WILLIAMS — In terms of pure ability, we'd still put Williams in the top five -- easily -- but his role isn't as significant because he happens to play alongside Ronnie Brown.
14. FS GIBRIL WILSON — The Dolphins had some breakdowns in the secondary early last season before Renaldo Hill was inserted into the lineup. But Hill was nowhere near as athletic as Wilson, nor was he as much of a playmaker. Wilson plays an important position and he has the chance to be a clear upgrade.
13. OLB JASON TAYLOR — It's strange to see Taylor so low on any list, but until we see exactly what his role will be, it's difficult to place him any higher. Either way, there's little doubt he will make an impact for the Dolphins this season.
12. T VERNON CAREY — Carey clearly has established himself as a rock-solid right tackle in the NFL, and re-signing him this offseason ensured the Dolphins would be set with their bookends on the offensive line for quite a while.
11. ILB CHANNING CROWDER — There were many who expected Crowder to leave via free agency this offseason, but the Dolphins obviously felt he needed to be retained. And Crowder clearly wanted to stay. He also admitted after re-signing that his contract situation weighed on his mind last year, and that very well may have affected his play. Regardless, Crowder has been a solid starter, but he needs to start making more big plays to take that next step.