This years roster is full at the receiver position. So much so that the Miami Dolphins will have some interesting decisions to make when they cut down to 53.
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In 2015 many believed that the wide-receiver position was one of the stronger positions on the team. Jarvis Landry proved them correct as he broke the single season receiving record for the Dolphins and put together the two best seasons of any receiver in NFL history to start his career.
Outside of Landry however, production wasn’t what Miami had hoped for. Kenny Stills was almost non-existent for much of the season and the workhorse receiver not named Landry was Reshard Matthews. Matthews would be injured later in the season and miss the second half.
DeVante Parker was supposed to make an impact but after battling a foot problem for the first half of the year he finally started to come on late after the season was almost over.
The Dolphins will enter training camp, as of today, with 11 receivers on the roster. When the final cuts are made, the Dolphins will likely have six and one of them could be more or less a special teams player only.
Landry and Parker are the absolute locks to make the roster as is rookie Leonte Carroo. Kenny Stills is pretty close to a lock but one can never be too comfortable with Mike Tannenbaum wielding his pen for trades. With Stills, that’s four of the six likely spots.
Eliminating several players such as Brandon Shippen, Scott Rashawn, and Tyler Murphy make predicting the final two spots a little easier.
A.J. Cruz and Griff Whalen are going to battle for what will be one of those two positions with Jakeem Grant, the speedy draft pick likely taking the other one. Grant isn’t a 100% lock to make the roster but he is as close to a lock as he can be.
In fact the only way I see him not making the final 53 man roster in one of the six receiving spots is if they designate him a return specialist instead. In other words, he would make the 53 but not technically as a receiver. It’s semantics.
Of the two remaining Whalen seems to present the best opportunity to not only make the roster but contribute. He is a return specialist who can contribute on kick-offs and punts and would provide solid depth and experience at the receiver position.
The odd man out? Matt Hazel. Hazel has shown flashes of taking the next step much in the same way that Matthews had before breaking out in camp last season. Hazel however isn’t a deep threat like Stills and isn’t a possession guy like Whalen. Nor does he have the return advantage either. This points to Hazel having to have an extremely good camp that will force the coaches to make a different move. I’m not sure he will get enough chances.
53 man roster:
6 Spots taken
Spots total thus far: 12