By Abraham Gutierrez
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Cameron Wake – DE – #91
Weight: 262 lbs.
Hometown: Beltsville, MD
College: Penn State
Experience: 6 years
Led by perennial Pro Bowl (DE) Cameron Wake, the Miami Dolphins are ready to build off last year’s success as they prepare for the start of the 2014 NFL season. Entering his seventh campaign in the National Football League, Wake’s dominance has expanded well beyond the gridiron, especially over the past two seasons.
After earning Pro Bowl (2010, 2012, 2013) honors for the third time, the 32-year-old Penn State product comes into 2014 still regarded as one of the best defensive ends in the game. This NFL offseason, Wake was showered with a surmountable number of accolades, which transcended into the world of gaming.
For starters, the Fins (2012) All-Pro was named the best edge rusher in the entire American Football Conference (AFC), following a season in which he registered 37 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Thus, the NFL also recognized Wake as the second best defensive end in football, trailing only the St. Louis Rams’ Robert Quinn, and ahead of All-Pros such as Aldon Smith, Robert Mathis, DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews III.
Miami’s defensive leader was also among the league’s Most Underrated Players, while placing 66th (by his peers) in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list for 2013. In the virtual universe, Wake was also a marvel, as EA Sports made him the third best DE with a ranking of 96 overall in Madden 15.
“Wake still terrorizes NFL quarterbacks with his 97 Finesse Moves and 95 Acceleration on a weekly basis,” stated EA Sports, who ranked him above Calais Campbell (96 OVR), Cameron Jordan (93 OVR) and Muhammad Wilkerson (93 OVR) and behind only J.J. Watt (99 OVR) and Robert Quinn (97 OVR).
That’s certainly not too shabby for an undrafted free agent who was released by the New York Giants after just one season on the G-Men’s (2005) practice squad. After a short stint with the BC Lions (2007-08), the two-time Canadian Football League All-Star capitalized on the opportunity the Dolphins presented him in 2009.
Thus far, Wake has proven to be a consistent force, week in and week out, on the Dolphins defensive side of the rock. In five NFL seasons, he’s racked up a total of 212 combined tackles (171 total and 41 assists) and 51.5 sacks, while missing just three starts in the process.
Wake’s best season came during his 2012 All-Pro run, when he tallied 53 tackles and 15 sacks without missing a single start. His second best production year was in 2010, when he recorded 57 tackles combined to go along with a whopping 14 sacks.
Last year, Wake’s numbers took a bit of a dip, as he finished with his lowest combined tackles since 2009. Nevertheless, he tied his second best effort by dumping opposing signal-callers with 8.5 sacks (2011, 2013).
There’s no question the Dolphins will rely heavily on his ability to remain among the league’s upper echelon at the defensive end position. However, Joe Philbin will need all hands on deck in order to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. Last year, Miami’s defense ranked 21st in the league overall (359.4 yards per game), including 16th at defending the pass (234.5 yards per game) and a disappointing 24th place against the rush (124.9 yards per game).
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on aExaminer.com. .