The Miami Dolphins 2020 season has officially begun and this year the un-drafted rookies face an uphill battle to make the roster.
The Miami Dolphins 2020 season has officially begun and this year the undrafted rookies face an uphill battle to make the roster.
Covid-19 has altered just about everything we know, including Miami Dolphins football. With the ongoing pandemic, the NFL decided to drastically alter its training camp guidelines, making it more complicated for every team, including the Dolphins, to effectively assess their rosters going into the start of the regular season.
None of the changes are more impactful, however than the loss of the preseason. For many years, the preseason hasn’t been watch tv outside of diehards and writers scrounging for content. The first four games of the year never truly mean anything to the majority of the players, but to this Dolphins team, it actually would have meant a lot.
Each team has its own struggles that they are trying to iron out going into the regular season. Every team has a number of undrafted rookies who are looking to show that they deserve a spot on the team. But, in the second year of their rebuild, it seems like Miami could have used the preseason more than just about anybody, especially when you consider the un-drafted rookies looking for a shot.
More from Phin Phanatic
- Tua Tagovailoa practicing with teammates is everything a leader does
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
Miami has a number of training camp battles throughout the roster, and preseason games were always one of the ways that teams have been able to see those battles play out in real-time.
But these un-drafted rookies are the ones who are hurt the most with this COVID shift. Miami has done a good job of bringing in a number of un-drafted players throughout the last few years, and some, like Preston Williams and Nik Needham, were able to outperform their lack of draft status and cement themselves as starters. Some of this had to do with reps in camp, and a lot of it had to do with performance during preseason games.
Dolphins fans who watch those games will remember how dominant Preston Williams looked throughout the preseason, working his way up to working with the starting group during these games. He was able to show what he had in a competitive environment that allowed the coaches to see him outside of the practice field. This year, un-drafted guys don’t have that opportunity.
There are a couple of guys who are interesting finds in this year’s un-drafted pool, specifically Benito Jones and Kirk Merritt. Both are highly touted undrafted guys who seem to have enough talent that should shine through allowing them to earn starting spots. That being said, they face a major uphill battle without the ability to prove their worth during real game situations. There are proven guys on the roster who they will have to beat out and the opportunities will be slim to do just that.
I am not trying to paint a pessimistic picture for these un-drafted guys, but without the protection of being chosen in the draft, it is harder for them to make the team. They don’t have those game moments to show that they can perform as the team needs them to on Sundays.
There is a silver lining, though. Even though they might have a long road ahead of them, once the pads are on, there are very few ways to hide talent. Brian Flores has already shown that he can find a few diamonds in the rough and I expect him to do so this season even if he doesn’t have those preseason games to assess his rookie free agents.