While the NFL Draft and the free agency frenzy gave Miami Dolphin fans a jolt of adrenaline, the long and seemingly boring off-season is now in full effect.
The team certainly got quicker, faster and more explosive via free agency and the draft, therefore let’s take a gander at our projected 53 man roster as of today, shall we?
Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin.
- No explanation needed here. This is Tannehill’s team and I expect him to become a true leader this season.
- Moore will serve as the back-up again this season for the ‘phins in case of injury. Miami did a great job of selling itself to Moore causing him to re-sign with the team for two more seasons.
- Devlin is a developmental guy and should be Moore’s successor in a few seasons as the team’s number two guy.
Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee, Marcus Thigpen.
- Miller should solidify himself as the team’s top option at the running back position. The former Miami Hurricane has break-away speed and has had a full season under his belt to work on his pass protection skills.
- Thomas and Gillislee will battle it out for the back-up spot. I expect to see a mixture of the two regardless of who wins the job. Gillislee is the more finesse runner, while Thomas is more of a between the tackles power runner.
- Thigpen is more of a receiving threat out of the back field and should see his workload coming out of the slot position out wide, but could see some hand-offs also.
- Clay saw most of his action last season as the back-up tight end. And, well, that didn’t really work out too well. Yes, Jovorskie Lane is a great “feel good” story, but Clay is a better fit for this zone blocking scheme Miami wants to run.
- Now, the team could keep both Lane and Clay, using Clay more as an H-Back, but the team would be better suited using Clay as the full-time fullback and using Lane’s roster spot for another skilled position.
Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Jeff Fuller, Terrell Sinkfield.
- Did these surprise you at all? Wallace is clearly Miami’s top threat at the wide receiver position. Wallace gives Tannehill a deep threat option that he surely could have used during his rookie season.
- Hartline is back and ready for action.
- Gibson is the “under-the-radar” guy in this passing attack. Personally, I love this guy. He tore Miami a new one last season while playing for Jeff Fisher’s St. Louis Rams. Gibson will fill Davone Bess’ shoes as the slot/possession receiver in the offense.
- Matthews will be the team’s fourth receiver. The former Nevada receiver possesses great hands and a bulky body suited for the slot position.
- Fuller and Sinkfield make the team as the fifth and sixth receivers. I’m giving Fuller the nod here based on his size and Sinkfield based upon his athleticism – not to mention we cannot find any tape on the kid so let’s see what he has got.
Dustin Keller, Dion Sims, Michael Egnew.
- Keller is obviously the top choice here. Not only did Miami address a major need on offense, they also weakened a divisional rival by signing the former Purdue star.
- Sims and Egnew will battle it out for the number two and three spots. I expect Sims to step right in at the back-up spot simply due to his blocking skills.
- Don’t sleep on Egnew this season. I for one am expecting a dramatic jump in his game.
Jonathan Martin, Nate Garner.
- This spot is Jonathan Martin’s. Unless he gets injured, the team will ride with Martin manning the LT spot.
- Garner is the “utility knife man”. Although the team loves his ability to play multiple positions along the line, could the team think about cutting Garner to save some money?
Richie Incognito, Dallas Thomas.
- Cog is entrenched as the left guard. That being said, if Thomas or Jerry performs better than Cog this off-season, do not expect any loyalty here given Cog’s age. The team could easily cut the big boy and save itself some cap room.
Mike Pouncey, Josh Samuda.
- Do I really have to explain this one? Pouncey was arguably the league’s best center last season until the final three or four games of the season.The team keeps Samuda as the back-up center. Not to mention he can also slide into the guard position if need be.
Lance Louis, John Jerry.
- If Louis is healthy, I expect this to be one of the team’s best off-season battles. And I expect Louis to win it. Jerry is an inconsistent player and struggles managing his weight – I don’t know a single coach that likes that attribute about a player..
Tyson Clabo, Nate Garner.
- Yes, I listed Garner as the back-up for both tackle spots. Why? Because he can play EVERYWHERE. Clabo has little to no competition for the RT job in my opinion. Martin, Pouncey and Clabo all are entrenched as the starters at their respective positions.
Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan, Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby.
- Again, do I really have to explain this one? Jordan and Wake are entrenched as starters in my opinion. While the team “doesn’t know exactly where they’ll place Jordan”, they would be silly not to play him across from their all-pro man-eater.
- Vernon and Shelby showed some promise last season. Shelby had a great camp, but disappeared during the season. Vernon had a “so-so” camp and then really came on as the team’s most athletic front seven player. Let’s see these two become more consistent and this defensive end corp could be sick.
Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Kheeston Randall.
- I won’t even ask here. Soliai and Starks form one of the league’s best duos at the DT position.
- With the selection of Dion Jordan, Jared Odrick can move back to his natural DT position and could quite possibly be Paul Soliai’s successor next season.
- I like what I saw from Randall during his rookie season. He’s a project player but looks to have some upside at the position.
Phillip Wheeler, Koa Misi, Josh Kaddu, Jelani Jenkins.
- Wheeler will present an upgrade at the linebacker position. A quicker, younger and more explosive version than last year’s starter, Kevin Burnett, Wheeler is great in space.
- Koa Misi is back for another season and must show the coaching staff something this season entering the final year of his rookie contract.
- Kaddu will be the team’s primary back-up this season. The former Oregon Duck showed some flashes last season and could end up replacing Koa Misi if he performs well this season – HA wishful thinking, but I liked what I saw.
- Jelani Jenkins is an interesting guy to watch. Could actually be placed at the MIKE position, but let’s stick him right here for now.
Dannell Ellerbe, Austin Spitler.
- Ellerbe is a little unproven, but played well during the play-offs last season en route to a Super Bowl title for the Baltimore Ravens. Plays along the same level as last year’s starter, Karlos Dansby – you know, the future Hall of Famer – but has the ability to impact the game more so.
- Spitler has been the team’s top back-up linebacker for quite some time now and that will not change this season. Spitler is also one of the team’s top special teams performers, too valuable to cut.
Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor, Nolan Carroll, Will Davis.
- Grimes WILL be the team’s top corner this season. Not much more to say. He possesses all of the skills needed to be a team’s top guy.
- I expect Taylor to beat out Richard Marshall, Nolan Carroll and Dimitri Patterson to start along-side Grimes. Taylor is a young version of ex-Miami Dolphin, Will Allen.
- Carroll and Davis will man the back-up spots. Carroll could end up being a cap casualty barring he has an unimpressive showing during training camp. Davis is more of a project, but has the ability to contribute this season in dime packages.
Richard Marshall, Nolan Carroll, Jimmy Wilson.
- That’s right, the Nickel spot IS a starting position, in my opinion. Marshall has this spot locked down. Marshall is too valuable to cut in my opinion, anyways. His ability to play safety as well as corner gives the team an experienced veteran in case of injury.
- I’m expecting a big battle here between Marshall, Carroll, Patterson and Taylor.
Chris Clemons, Kelcie McCray.
- This spot is Clemons’ to lose. McCray will be breathing down his neck here, but I expect the former Clemson safety to pull it out in the end.
- McCray, though, has a boat load of potential and should be a huge contributor this season if healthy.
Reshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson.
- Reshad Jones is the starter here. SO, that’s that. He, like Pouncey, was one of the top performers at his position last season until the tail end of the season last year. Expect him to continue being great.
- Wilson will have his hands full trying to fend off seventh-round pick, Don Jones. While I love Jones’ upside here, I think Wilson’s ability to play corner and safety gives him the upper hand. Don’t sleep on Jones, but Wilson should be able to win the job.
- Jeesh, everyone is already calling this one over. Dan Carpenter can still win this job, but I expect the team to cut the inconsistent kicker to save some cap space. Go with the younger and cheaper option here.
- I’m not even going to explain. He’s the best in the league. Walk away.
- Denney has been one of the best for quite some time now. While some suggest the team could opt for the cheaper option, Denney is the team’s longest tenured player. C’mon MAN!
While you may disagree with many of these projections, I expect to change this all up once or fifteen times.