The Miami Dolphins have many intriguing position battles to watch this preseason. Therefore, before the Miami Dolphins square off against the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow to kick off the preseason, let’s take a look at our projected 53 man roster for the upcoming season.
Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin.
- No change here and no real surprise. This is Tannehill’s team.
- Moore will serve as the team’s back-up again this season. He gives the Dolphins a great fallback option in case of injury to their young signal caller.
Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee, Marcus Thigpen.
- Miller has shown flashes of brilliance thus far and should continue to improve heading into the season. The former Miami Hurricane will be the team’s top option at the running back position.
- Thomas will likely be the team’s third-down back. His versatility as a runner, blocker and receiver will make him a valuable asset if he can become consistent holding on to the football.
- Gillislee will be an interesting player to watch during the preseason. The former Florida Gator will look to battle Thomas for the back-up spot behind Miller.
- Thigpen is actually seeing some snaps in the slot, which could end up becoming a home for the speedy return man. While he may be seeing snaps at receiver, he is still listed as a running back.
- Clay will be the only “fullback” the team will keep on it’s 53 man roster. His versatility will be the deciding factor in the end over Jovorskie Lane.
Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Marvin McNutt.
- While Wallace has been side-lined with a groin injury and may sit out a few preseason games, Miami’s new toy should be ready to go for the team’s opener.
- Hartline will be looking to build on last year’s 1,000 season.
- Gibson is my wild-card this season. While many cannot understand why the team brought him in, it’s quite clear in my eyes. His strong hands and excellent body control are a perfect fit for Miami’s pass attack.
- Matthews will look to build on a decent rookie season. While he is no lock to make the team, he is the best option to fill the fourth receiver spot.
- I would like to give Fuller the nod here, but he has been unable to impress the coaching staff thus far which is a big concern. McNutt has impressed many during his short stint with Miami. The team should get a good look from the former Iowa receiver this Sunday against Dallas.
Dustin Keller, Dion Sims, Kyle Miller.
- Keller is probably the best offseason acquisition that nobody is talking about. His skill set gives Tannehill a safety valve, while also giving Miami the best tight end they have had since Randy McMichael was roaming the field.
- Sims has impressed many not only with his blocking skills, but with his receiving ability. The Michigan State man has looked good thus far meaning he should see a nice work-load come Sunday.
- Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller will battle it out for the final tight end spot. While Egnew looked great during OTAs, the former Missouri tight end has looked lost and just awful during training camp. Miller, on the other hand, has steadily improved and gets the nod here.
Jonathan Martin, Nate Garner.
- I hear the naysayers already, “We should have drafted Lane Johnson” – “We should have traded for Albert” – “We should have re-signed Long”. While I can agree with one of those statements, let’s calm down. While Martin has looked awful so far during training camp, he is also going against one of the league’s best defensive line units. Until we see some game action, calm down.
- 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? Will Yeatman could get the nod over Garner if the team decides to turn elsewhere.
Richie Incognito, Dallas Thomas.
- Incognito will likely return as the team’s left guard. Although the offensive line has been shifting around in recent weeks due to injuries, don’t read too much into it.
- Thomas will enter his rookie season as the team’s back-up guard/tackle along with Garner. If one of the starters does not perform well or goes down due to injury, the former Tennessee man could see some action.
Mike Pouncey, Josh Samuda.
- Pouncey will return to cement himself as the league’s best center and battle Cameron Wake for the title of Miami’s best player overall.
- Samuda is a valuable asset to have as he can play all three positions along the offensive line – seems like a reoccurring theme, eh?
John Jerry, Lance Louis.
- Jerry has been injured a bit, but should be ready to go for the season. It’s beginning to look like the team is not impressed with Louis as Jerry’s back-up meaning the team may part ways with the former Chicago Bear.
Tyson Clabo, Nate Garner.
- Clabo will help solidify the right side of Miami’s offensive line. Although he is a new face, do not expect any growing pains.
Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Derrick Shelby.
- Wake will be the team’s top defensive play-maker this season along the defensive line.
- Vernon has shown up this season for camp bigger, faster and stronger. The former Miami Hurricane is looking like a beast and may enter the season as the starter opposite Wake.
- Jordan has been slowly recovering, but has looked well so far. Let’s see how that shoulder holds up during the preseason before we just hand him the job.
Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Vaughn Martin, Kheeston Randall.
- Soliai and Starks form one of the league’s top defensive tackle duos. These two will return this season to push Miami’s defense among the elite.
- Jared Odrick can finally move back to his more natural defensive tackle position. This move will not only add depth, but will also give Miami a pass rushing defensive tackle.
- Martin looks good so far and could end up playing a significant role for Miami this season in the defensive line rotation.
Philip Wheeler, Koa Misi, Josh Kaddu, Jelani Jenkins.
- Wheeler looks the part of a speedy linebacker thus far. His speed and instincts are something Miami has been missing at the linebacker position for quite some time.
- Koa Misi has been performing well also. He is entering the last season of his rookie deal and must “break out” this year if he hopes to return to Miami next season.
- Kaddu has similar qualities to Wheeler. He possesses speed and athleticism at the linebacker position. If Kaddu performs well, we could be seeing a replacement for Misi.
- Jelani Jenkins is another athletic linebacker the team has on it’s roster. Jenkins will look to put together a strong rookie season to compete for a starting gig next season.
Dannell Ellerbe, Austin Spitler.
- While Ellerbe is unproven, reports out of camp so far are suggesting he looks great and is an excellent vocal leader. Ellerbe must perform well this season to shut his naysayers up.
- 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, Richard Marshall, Will Davis, Jamar Taylor, Nolan Carroll.
- Grimes has been an absolute ball-hawk thus far and should continue to cement himself as the team’s top play-maker in the back-end of the defense.
- Richard Marshall has been running with the first team defense and until I see otherwise, he will be teaming with Grimes to form Miami’s starting corner duo.
- Will Davis was seen as an incredibly raw prospect coming out of college, but he is looking the part of a veteran. Davis has been a ball-hawk so far and has been getting his hands on the ball every time the coaches look his way.
Chris Clemons, Kelcie McCray, Don Jones.
- Clemons has been the vocal leader of the secondary thus far and should continue to build on a strong 2013 season.
- McCray will be the back-up here in this spot. If Clemons does not perform well, McCray could steal the starting job.
- Jones will be kept for his versatility. The former Arkansas State safety can also play corner.
Reshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson.
- Reshad Jones will look to break-out this season. That’s right, I said he will break-out this year. Last season was only the beginning.
- Although Sturgis has struggled thus far, so has Carpenter. Carpenter has been an excellent kicker for Miami, but Sturgis is the way to go.
- Brandon Fields has absolutely nothing to worry about.
- 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.