As the preseason nears and the days to the kickoff of the 2013-14 season dwindles down, the Miami Dolphins have their first test against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday.
We all acknowledge that this game — and the preseason — is not meant to give starters many repetitions, but instead, present opportunities to make the roster and shed some talent. The Dolphins have many talented, highly regarded athletes, and some to keep in mind would include tight end Dion Sims, defensive end Dion Jordan, wide receiver Marvin McNutt, running back Mike Gillislee and cornerback Will Davis.
The tight end out of Michigan State has competed in training camp like he is already a veteran — knowing the ins and outs throughout Mike Sherman’s schemes.
Sims, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins, has a huge stature in the red zone and blocking. His 6-foot-4, 262-pound frame will have impact leading the running back into the proper direction and will play a role in the end zone for Matt Moore or Pat Devlin.
The first-year tight end may make a case for head coach Joe Philbin to assess a two tight end set by the start of the 2013 season.
It’s time for Jordan to support why the Dolphins traded up to get him at No. 3 in this year’s NFL draft.
Jordan, 23, had an impressive practice and scrimmage under the lights on Monday, but Sunday is under the lights of a national stage. The former Oregon Duck visions a bright future, and against the Cowboys will be a stepping stone to his forthcoming.
The 6-foot-6, 248-pound pass rusher has the talent to take over a game by taking advantage of the offensive line, and with Kyle Orton projected to be under center, his first test will be a good one.
Soon after Philbin is comfortable with what he sees, expect him to save his rookie defensive end for the later preseason games.
McNutt worked out for the Dolphins prior to the 2012 NFL draft. He was ultimately selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The former Iowa Hawkeye has been spoke about throughout training camp this offseason. His attitude towards every snap is accountable and has made some incredible catches in South Florida.
We know Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson will all shape out the receiving core, but don’t be shocked to see McNutt sneak in the depth chart when it’s all said and done.
His length will allow him to corral the football above corners in the league. Don’t be shocked to see him receive a touchdown or two on Sunday.
Gillislee is the biggest sleeper on the offensive side of the ball going into this upcoming season.
His versatility and ability to run through the gaps will allow him to be the No. 2 running back behind Lamar Miller. The former Florida Gator is getting acclimated with Philbin’s schemes and could continue to progress into another weapon for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The 22-year-old back will bounce outside and wow the national viewers on Sunday. If Daniel Thomas doesn’t show he can be more efficient and hold onto the football, Gillislee may get a chance to make a statement for the coaching staff.
Davis has been what the the doctor ordered so far: fast, turnover machine and a student of the game.
During this offseason, Davis has made a case for himself to start over Richard Marshall emerging into this season due to amazing takeaways, showing versatility and a warrior attitude compeiting mono e mono with high caliber wide receivers.
Look for Davis to continue his consistency in the turnover category. The third-round pcik had three interceptions in Thursday’s practice.
These players will have a chance to show off their talents and abilities to Philbin and the rest of the staff, and all expectations considered, they will be a factor in the upcoming campaign.