With the preseason now over, the Dolphins will have until Saturday afternoon to make decisions on their final 53-man roster. Some players have performed admirably this preseason, looking great during training camp, but remain on the bubble watch to make the team.
Along with the rest of the NFL, Miami concluded their preseason Thursday night in a home loss against the Tennessee Titans. The Dolphins coaching staff is now left with the tough task of finalizing the team’s 53-man roster. They will have until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to bring the roster down from 75 to 53.
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Some players have stood out this preseason and all throughout training camp, giving them a strong case for a roster spot. One of the problems for Miami is that they are too deep at some positions and will be forced to cut some players that they would rather keep on in a perfect world. The Dolphins were able to solve one of those issues earlier this week when they traded Chris McCain to the Saints for a conditional 7th round pick.
Miami has valuable depth on their defensive line so getting something in return for McCain was a win for the team. They won’t be so fortunate with roster cuts looming, however. Other teams will surely be on the lookout for who the Dolphins elect to cut, and can be expected to pounce quickly.
Some of those players on the bubble, however, have done well enough to warrant themselves a roster spot for the 2016 season. Yesterday, Phin Phanatic’s own Brian Miller gave his intake on 5 players who will likely make the team but shouldn’t. Now, we take a look at a few players who should make the team but remain on the bubble.
Pead did not exactly turn out the way the now former St. Louis Rams had hoped for when they invested a 2nd round pick to grab him back in 2012. He spent some time with Pittsburgh last year after Le’Veon Bell was placed on injured reserve, but he never saw the field. Now trying to rejuvenate his career in Miami, Pead has been, arguably, the most impressive backfield player for the Dolphins this offseason.
Pead was not expected to be anything more than a training camp invite, but a strong showing in preseason games has some calling for Pead to become the starter in South Florida. While starter is a bit of a reach, there’s no question Pead has been a workhorse since training camp kicked off.
For Pead to make the team it would mean that the Dolphins would likely keep 4 RB’s on the main roster, which is normally a lot. However, Pead has looked better than teammate Jay Ajayi this summer, who was the clear-cut starter before the Dolphins signed Arian Foster. While Pead’s minor hamstring injury he suffered against Atlanta last week doesn’t help his cause, hard work generally pays off and there should be no exception in Pead’s case.
Watching Griff Whalen play this preseason has been reminiscent of a former Dolphin player, Wes Welker. Dolphins fans remember all too well how it turned out with Welker after letting him walk in 2007 to sign with the Patriots, and do not want a repeat performance. It may not necessarily be the Patriots that pick up Whalen should the Dolphins elect to cut him, but rest assured that some team will scoop him up quickly if they do. And you can bet there’s a good chance it will be an AFC East foe that does.
Whalen has been outstanding this summer, and if Miami wasn’t already deep at wide receiver, would be a virtual lock for the 53-man roster. The Dolphins were already well-positioned at receiver with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills, as the starters heading into the offseason. The Dolphins decided to stack the deck, however, and also draft two receivers in Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant.
This leaves little room for Whalen to make the team, but he’s still confident that he will. Grant is expected to be Miami’s primary return man this year, giving Whalen an opportunity to be a part of the rotation. It’s unclear yet as to how many receivers Miami is considering keeping, but Whalen should most definitely be one of them.
One of the more consistent talks coming out of Dolphins training camp this summer has been the play of Julius Warmsley. Watching the Dolphins preseason games, it’s easy to see why. Warmsley has made more plays than anyone on Miami’s front line this preseason and led the team with 3 sacks.
Yes, it’s preseason but to see a guy the size of Warmsley get after the quarterback the way he has shows that this guy’s for real. The fact that he can also move between inside and outside is an added bonus.
Jordan Phillips is improving in his 2nd season, but still has the reputation of taking some plays off, to which he’s even admitted he needs to work on. The veteran Earl Mitchell is still battling with a calf injury stemming from last year. Personally, I like Warmsley better than both of them although Phillips may have more long-term upside. Either way, the Dolphins would be foolish to let go of Warmsley after such a terrific training camp and preseason.
A couple days ago I wrote on how Miami should consider moving on from Matt Moore in the foreseeable future. Although Moore is a lock to make the team this season, the Dolphins should consider taking on an extra QB this year and add Zac Dysert to the roster. Some teams prefer to keep just 2 QB’s on their rosters while others like to have 3, so it’s unclear how first-year head coach Adam Gase will approach the matter.
Dysert and rookie Brandon Doughty have been battling to become the team’s 3rd-string QB. They both were the only quarterbacks to appear in Miami’s preseason finale against Tennessee. Although Doughty had a better performance in the finale, Dysert had a better overall performance during camp and should get the edge. Doughty would be best suited to spend at least a year on the practice squad. There’s a good chance though that both will be resorted to the practice squad to provide the necessary depth at another position.