The Miami Dolphins are returning to action this weekend, kicking off the new season in seriousness with the dawn of training camp on the horizon.
The off-season has been filled with buzz and optimism fueled by the Dolphins’ aggressive flurry that earned them the title of off-season paper champs.
With exciting young veterans added in free agency with the likes of Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller, Dannell Ellerbe, & Brent Grimes, the Dolphins stayed aggressive by trading up in the first round to draft Oregon’s hybrid pass rusher Dion Jordan.
After an exciting mini-camp that saw Dolphins free agent acquisitions getting acclimated to their teammates on the field. Some of the rookie class didn’t get to take part in that process, putting them in position to have to play catch up.
Entering training camp, the Miami Dolphins top three picks in the past NFL Draft are beginning camp in the hole.
Dion Jordan missed all of mini camp due to the quarters system and NFL rules barding him from practice, along with an injury hurdle he’s still healing up from in off-season shoulder surgery.
Locked in a heated competition for playing time let alone a starting job, it’s going to be interesting if the missed practices affect Jordan in his battle against holdovers Olivier Vernon and Jared Odrick.
Second round pick Jamar Taylor, an exciting athlete playing the cornerback position, arrived at mini camp needing to have surgery to repair a sports hernia.
This medical setback held him out of mini camp practices putting him behind on the amount of practice repetitions he would get to put on tape in his bid for a starting job on the boundary or as the team’s nickel.
With veterans Richard Marshall, Nolan Carroll, Dimitri Patterson and a fellow rookie who didn’t miss any practices in Will Davis, Taylor has some serious ground to make up.
Luckily for him he was able to be present in the classroom and learn the system where as fellow rookie Jordan was forced to miss both on the field and class room activities.
Third round offensive tackle Dallas Thomas finds himself in a similar position to start camp as second rounder Taylor. Sill recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Thomas spent most of mini-camp rehabbing the shoulder. Putting his impending competition with incumbent left tackle Jonathan Martin on hold as he was logging mostly only mental reps the majority of the off season.
Luckily for these three Miami Dolphins rookies the team is playing in the Hall of Fame game and giving them the benefit of a longer training camp, thus providing them with the opportunity to earn extra reps and have more time to learn their assignments.
It will be interesting to see how these rookies respond to the challenge, as the higher they rise to occasion the better off the team will be overall.