On Saturday I posted the poll for the 53 man roster and so far, 92 of you have decided to painstakingly select 53 out of the available 84 options. Kudos to you! However, the eyebrows indeed raise when you view the results thus far and realize that the 53 man roster is not even close to being unanimous. In fact, the top 10 players likely to make the roster are not even unanimous.
Now in some cases I think it’s safe to say that a few Jets fans crawled over here after a night sleeping on a dock next to the Hudson river. The New York Public Library then obviously opened up and they found us. Seriously, how else do you explain the fact that out of 92 votes cast, only Jake Grove, Davone Bess, Vontae’ Davis, Anthony Fasano, and Will Allen have over 91% of the votes?
The start of training camp is a short weekend away. Pads go on, two-a-day practices, blistering heat, and afternoon thunderstorms will rage. Then there will be the million or so “Tweets” by the local media reporters covering the practices. So who will make the final 53 roster? You can view the updated results here and then clicking view results. If you haven’t voted, you can still cast your opinion as well. The voting ends on August 1st. In the meantime, here are my predictions for the final 53 man 2009 Miami Dolphins roster.
QB’s: Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Pat White – The Phins are not looking for a QB and despite the fact that Michael Vick is out there and available, the Dolphins won’t bring him in. If they decide otherwise, then he won’t be available to week 6 which means he won’t take a roster spot anyway. Barring injury in camp, these three make the team.
(3 spots filled)
RB’s: Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, Lousaka Polite: The Phins will keep the 3 RB’s which means that Lex Hilliard will end up either on the practice squad or not returning. Polite is the easy choice at FB and it’s possible that Chris Brown could be one of the first roster cuts made. No surprises here.
(7 spots filled)
TE’s: Anthony Fasano, John Nalbone, Joey Haynos: I believe the Phins will keep 3 TE’s this year. Nalbone is the rookie that the Phins won’t cut ties with at least until next year and Haynos’ size, 6’8″ makes him a huge end-zone target. Fasano has the starting job locked down. David Martin has been battling injuries this off-season and being that it is a contract year and the Phins are going to do more WC packages…Martin is expendable. Jared Bronson is someone that could be added to the PS as well.
(10 spots filled)
WR’s: Patrick Turner, Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn, Brian Hartline, and Brandon London: The Phins say they could keep 6 and looking at their roster they almost have to. London is the wildcard in all of this. A good camp and the Phins go to 6 WR’s. A bad one and I think they keep 5 unless Anthony Armstrong explodes in pads. Ernest Wilford’s days are over in Miami. Too much potential talent to give up a roster spot to Wilford. The Phins will have to part ways with Brennan Marion and the other WR’s. Hartline is a ST guy and the Phins really liked that about him coming out of OSU so he has more value than a typical WR. Same with London.
On another note, keep your eye on what the Baltimore Ravens do with their WR position. They lost their top WR, Derrick Mason, to retirement and signed Drew Bennett to replace him. Bennett retired two days later as well. The Ravens may be looking for a WR and the Phins have a couple they could possibly trade. Ted Ginn perhaps?
(16 spots filled)
OG’s: Justin Smiley, Donald Thomas, Joe Berger, Ikechuku Ndukwe, Andy Alleman, and J.D. Quinn. The Phins will part ways with Shawn Murphy who despite bulking up over the off-season is still not likely to be NFL ready. I like JD Quinn and feel that a solid camp will earn him a roster spot. The question is, will he be the Oklahoma guard or the Washington guard?
(22 spots filled)
OT’s: Jake Long, Vernon Carey, Brandon Frye, and Andrew Gardner: The only OT currently on the roster who does not make the team is SirVincent Rogers. The Phins are happy with the talent they have at the tackle position and Brandon Frye is a player who may see some reps at guard this off-season. Solid in OTA’s, Frye will have to step it up and put pressure on the coaching staff to find a spot for him. He has the tools and the talent, but can he make it work with pads on?
(26 spots filled)
Punter Brandon Fields and Kicker Dan Carpenter have no competition thus far. The Phins could add a player later but it’s unlikely they will beat out either one. Long snapper John Denney is also facing no competition and while the Phins don’t “need” to roster a LS they will. In addition to the specialists, the Dolphins currently only have 1 Center on the roster, Jake Grove. The Phins won’t be cutting him.
(30 spots filled)
With only 23 spots left on the 53 man roster, we shift our focus from offense to defense. The offense accounted for 27 spots total with 3 spots going to the specialists. Picking 23 to fill the team is going to be no easy task.
S’s: Chris Clemons, Yeremiah Bell, Gibril Wilson, and Tyrone Culver: The Dolphins can only afford to keep 4 from this position which means that Courtney Bryan is gone as is Ethan Kilmer. The Phins have more talented potential elsewhere on the defensive side of the ball that they will want to keep. Barring injury, these are the 4 safeties going into the season.
(34 spots filled)
CB’s: Will Allen, Sean Smith, Vontae’ Davis, Nathan Jones, Will Billingsley, and Jason Allen: Early this month in my training camp previews I said that Jason Allen wouldn’t make the team. I’m really on the bubble with this one. Joey Thomas and Eric Green could take the last roster spot and that would leave Jason Allen gone. I think that Allen could however surprise a bit this TC. It’s the first time since coming to the NFL that he will be playing the same position in the same defense with the same coaches.
(40 spots filled)
LB’s: Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, Matt Roth, Cameron Wake, Channing Crowder, Akin Ayodele, Charlie Anderson, and Reggie Torbor: This is one of the toughest positions to predict. Of the names mentioned above, Anderson and Torbor are big question marks and of the guys I am predicting not to make the roster, Erick Walden is the one guy that I see who could take a spot away from someone else whether it’s a LB or another position.
(48 roster spots filled)
DE’s and DT’s: Phillip Merling, Kendall Langford, Jason Ferguson, Randy Starks, Lionel Dotson, Paul Soliai, and Louis Ellis. If your keeping count, my roster currently sits 55 which means somewhere I have kept 2 players that won’t make the roster. One of those guys could be on this unit in Paul Soliai. Soliai needs to step up his TC this year. He is not a Bill Parcells/Jeff Ireland draft pick and so far has been incredibly underachieving. This will be his last chance to make this team.
The Phins are not deep at the DT/NT position which is why I think that NT Louis Ellis, a rooki09e, has a legit shot at making the team. His size makes him ideal for the interior of the defensive line but can an undrafted rookie make the 53 at that position? Hard to say but he will battle Joe Cohen and Tony McDaniel for that one back-up spot.
(55 spots filled)
Much like in the NFL, and the Miami Dolphins, my decisions have been made and now I need to go back and trim 2 more off the roster. A tought task for me, an unenviable one for Tony Sparano and company.
My first cut is OG J.D. Quinn. Quinn has to play very well to make the roster but I also see him as someone the Phins can hid on the PS and that is what I think they will try and do.
My second cut is LB Charlie Anderson. Anderson is not a starter and he will not likely compete to start. That makes him a roster casualty. With the addition of Cameron Wake and the leadership of Matt Roth as well as the addition of Jason Taylor, Anderson is expendable. The Phins could part with Reggie Torbor here instead but I think that they keep him another year.
(53 man roster filled)
UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that I left offensive lineman Nate Garner off the roster. I think he will make the final 53 which means I have to cut one more. Tough call. I am going to go with Louis Ellis. Ellis is a NT but the Phins can likely get enough out of the remaining DT’s when Ferguson wants to slide down. Ellis would be a PS candidate if I’m not mistaken.
The Dolphins are once again stacked with youth and potential but in some cases no clear cut products. A look at some salaries and at other times the competitions at each position has led me to my final choices. There are some guys that I have released that I would really like to see make the team and there are others that I think deserve to make it. In the end however it was a numbers game. When you weigh the potential against the holes and needs, you find yourself parting with players who won’t truly have an opportunity.
In the end, I think the Phins may indeed move one of their WR’s to the Baltimore Ravens. They are starved up there and while other teams have WR’s as well, the Dolphins have youth on their side. I can say it’s improbable that Ted Ginn would find himself in black and purple come September, I can’t say it’s impossible either.
Training camp is going to be fun to watch and the direction this team is taking will be more clearly visible when the names that are no longer on the roster are on the waiver wire.