Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) lines up at the line of scrimmage during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins 53 Man Roster Projections 1.0

Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


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.


Running Back:


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.




Charles Clay


  • 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.


Wide Receiver:


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.


Tight End:


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.



Nov. 15, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (51) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo defeats Miami 19 to 14. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports



Left Tackle:


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?


Left Guard:


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.


Right Guard:


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..


Right Tackle:


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.


Defensive End:


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.


Defensive Tackle:


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.



Oct.14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) reacts after sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports



Outside Linebacker:


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.


Middle Linebacker:


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.


Nickel Corner:


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.


Free Safety:


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.


Strong Safety:


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.







Caleb Sturgis.


  • 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.




Brandon Fields.


  • I’m not even going to explain. He’s the best in the league. Walk away.


Long Snapper:


John Denney.


  • 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.



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Tags: Brian Hartline Cameron Wake Miami Dolphins Mike Pouncey Mike Wallace Ryan Tannehill

  • Carmine Mattia

    i like it , thank you!!

    • TylerMcMullen

      No problem! Thanks for the read and the comment!!

  • jeremy161616

    Not too bad. I’d personally have Odrick over Shelby at D-End and keep V Martin as my backup D-Tackle, especially with the ramifications of Starks and Soliai on the last years of their contracts. Other small dissagreements include Spitler, who is on a qualifying offer as opposed to Trusnik who has a 3 year deal in place. I thought he was a better LB last year too.
    As for Denny, who is in the last year of his deal and is expensive for what he does I can see the end. Scales comes cheap and if it’s close I can see him winning. Ireland and Apone will want every cent available to them and his contract can be predictable for the next 4 years.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Thanks, Jeremy! I like Martin but I think it comes down to who performs better – Martin, Shelby or Randall. As for Trusnik, I’m not a fan. While I think he’s a good linebacker, he really isn’t that great on special teams. Spitler on the other hand is one of the team’s aces. And I just cannot fathom cutting Denney man! Thanks for the read and the comment!!

  • Jcartwright67

    I like your team and reasons for picking them, I’d say your 90% right because there are always surprises! On a different note and I say it every year. What is the deal with the Long Snapper? Really, we and 31 other teams designate a roster spot for this function! I don’t get it. Are you really telling me that Josh Samuda can’t split his practice day between Center and LS? I’m not asking a QB to play RB since the ball is already in his hands….I’m asking a guy that snaps a ball directly into a QB’s hand or snaps it 3-4 yds in shotgun formation to add a little more ummph and hike the ball 10-yds or so. I know hiking the ball into the Punters hands is important, I just don’t understand utilizing 1 of 53 to do it.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Lol In my opinion it’s like a Kicker or Punter, very easily replaced. I agree with your analysis on the subject. Denney, however, has been one of the league’s best at the position. It’s all about timing and placement. Thanks for the read and the comment!

  • Shea Mulcahy

    I see a surprise at RB over the summer. I think it’s Lamar Millar – Mike Gillislee – Jonas Gray – Marcus Thigpen. I think if Daniel Thomas gets beat out for #2, then he’s expendable, cut, or tradeable. I mean, we kept Gray on IR because he was worth a look this camp, I think he could have an outside shot to make the 53.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Oh definitely! I like Gray and tried to find a way to keep him on the roster here. Right now I have Thomas beating out Gillislee, but I believe that in the end Gillislee will win the #2 gig. Making your theory correct in Thomas becoming expendable. Thanks for the read and the comment, Shea!

  • Johnny

    WR:: Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Mathews, BUMPHIS, Binns..

    Said before why I like Bumphis, (MSU WR 12 TDs, most in SEC) and I think with a full preseason, I see Binns making the 53..

    Sinkfield doesn’t run many routes and the only reason his name is out there is cause of the “so-called” 4.19 40… Which was more like a 4.40…

    Fuller is a maybe.. If not a practice squad guy along with Sinkfield..

    • TylerMcMullen

      Oh I agree on Sinkfield’s 40, clearly at least a high 4.3 – which is still fast…Anywho, I’m taking Sinkfield right now because of his speed. As I said above, this could all change and I am expecting it to. Once we get into camps and what not, we will get a better look at players to project who will make the cuts and who will go home. Thanks for the read and the comment, John!

  • T. Saunters (|:¬)}

    I bet Jordan Kovacs will earn a spot.

  • Jason Klenetsky

    Sinkfield was cut already dispite his blazing speed. Dolphins signs Courtney Gardner at wideout, I kid with a bit if a troubled past but with a huge upside. Good hands, good speed, good size 6’4″ 215. He has good field vision and wants the end zone every time he gets the ball. Hope he sticks around, but he’s a longshot to make the 53 man in my opinion.

  • Jason Klenetsky

    You didn’t mention anything about Jordan Kovacs from Mich. that guy needs to make the team.

    • Jason Klenetsky

      And Bumphis also!!!