Predicting the Miami Dolphins roster after two pre-season games
By Brian Miller
With two pre-season games now in the can and two more to go, the Miami Dolphins are starting to get a better idea of who will be on their 53 man roster.
Last night the Miami Dolphins wrapped their second pre-season game, it wasn’t pretty but there were positives on both sides of the ball. Going into that game there were plenty of players that had already secured roster spots. Then there are those who continue to battle for one.
What we already know is simple. The following players are locks to make the roster barring injury or an unexpected trade or off-field issue.
QB: Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB: Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage
WR: Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant
TE: Mike Gesicki, Dwayne Allen
Offensive line: Laremy Tunsil, Daniel Kilgore, Michael Dieter, Jesse Davis
DT: Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor, Akeem Spence, Adolphus Washington
DE: Tank Carradine, Charles Harris, Nate Orchard
LB: Jerome Baker, Andrew Van Ginkel, Kiko Alonso
CB: Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Minkah Fitzpatrick
S: T.J. McDonald, Reshad Jones, Bobby McCain
P: Matt Haack
LS: John Denney
In total, there are 34 players that entering last nights game, that were locks to make the final 53 man roster. With 34 players locked in, the Dolphins have to make decisions as to who will fill the remaining 19 roster spots.
No one had a bigger night than linebacker Sam Eguavoen. This is the second week in a row that he played well and when you factor in the success during training camp, Eguavoen, who needs a nickname, will make the roster. The CFL product has been very good for the Dolphins and when he is on the field with Jerome Baker, the unit is really solid.
Despite a lackluster performance on Friday night, Preston Williams’ step back should not hurt his chances to make the team. There is a lot of talent in Williams and the coaches like him. He would need to completely fall apart the last two weeks not make the team.
At receiver, the battle for what could be the 5th and maybe a 6th spot will be on the line the last two weeks. Allen Hurns, Isaiah Ford, and Brice Butler are hoping that the Dolphins keep six receivers. If the team does, that final spot will go to one of these three. For now, it is hard to see who has the upper hand. Last night, Butler looked to take an edge in the competition but with seven seasons and Hurns’ six seasons, Miami may keep the younger Ford.
Running back has been fun to watch this year. Outside of Drake and Ballage, the battles between Kenneth Farrow, Myles Gaskin, Mark Walton, and Patrick Laird have been intriguing.
Walton and Gaskin have played well and I think they will get two of the roster spots with Chandler Cox taking the role of fullback. That leaves Farrow and Laird off the roster and candidates for the practice squad.
To update our status, Eguavoen, Williams, Gaskin, Walton, and Butler will take up five roster spots dropping our total to 14 spots left.
Tight end should see Nick O’Leary make the team as he has been practicing well and has shown better consistency at the position than the other tight-ends. 13 spots remain.
The offensive line has been an absolute joke and Miami will likely only carry nine total. With four already getting nods, five spots remain for the unit. Shaq Calhoun has been up and down but with a serious lack of quality depth at guard, he has a good chance to make the final 53. He isn’t facing a lot of competition considering those he is going up against and frankly, no one is standing up to make an impression.
Miami brought in Chris Reed who has been inconsistent. He can play both guard positions and center giving him value to the team. Isaiah Prince has shown some flashes and is a draft pick which will help his case. Zach Sterup has versatility. The final spot or two will come down to Jordan Mills and Will Holden. Calhoun will also be in this mix and while I gave him a nod a moment ago, he is, in reality, competing with these other two so it is possible to see Holden and Mills make the roster and Calhoun head to the practice squad.
Mills has been atrocious but he is a veteran and that could sway the Dolphins when it comes to roster cuts. As we move to the defensive side of the ball, only four positions remain. Don’t worry, we will wrap this by going back and eliminating some we believe will have their spots taken by the defense.
With five DT’s given slots, any extra spots will be taken by either Joey Mbu or Jamiyus Pittman but both are not close to winning a spot just yet. For now, we go with the five already listed.
Linebacker has three listed but we know that more will be carried into the season. Chase Allen, Quentin Poling, and Terrance Smith find themselves outside looking in but the bigger question is Raekwon McMillan who has not had a good camp. 2019 would be his second full season after missing his entire rookie year. Is he on the way out or does he have a spot left? That is the question that will need answering by Flores.
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Oh, the defensive end position. Jonathan Ledbetter and Dewayne Hendrix are trying to make a case for staying but they are likely not going to make the initial roster. The Dolphins, while thin at the position, will be using different looks this year in the Flores scheme so it may not be necessary to carry any other “true” defensive ends.
Cornerback one is set with Howard and Reid looks to have a lock on the second outside spot. Torry McTyer, Nik Needham, Tyler Patmon, and Jomal Wiltz are the four corners who are battling for what might be one, maybe two roster spots.
Needham has not looked good and has whiffed on tackles and been out of position but neither of the other two is standing out in the crowd either.
Safety will be interesting. Brian Flores has put a premium on the secondary and this is where things will get interesting. Walt Aikens is a solid special teams player and will likely make the roster in that capacity which brings us to a remaining three players. Montre Hartage and Maurice Smith are hoping for a shot at the roster as well but they may find themselves on the practice squad instead.
With Aikens being given a shot, the roster has three spots open and two of those three spots will likely go to the linebacker unit. My guess is McMillan and Allen. That leaves one without dipping back into the offensive side of the ball to steal from them. With a premium on corners, I would suspect that Torry McTyer will get the nod.
While nothing is obvious given about 40 to 42 players, the Dolphins are going to have to make some tough cuts in two weeks.