Coming into training camp, the 2021 Miami Dolphins had a roster packed with accomplished veterans and promising young players. With this being the third year of a complete rebuild, that was a really good sign.
It also meant that several players had to compete for their roster spot. Some players performed well, but still fell victim to the numbers game. Others had such impressive training camps that they forced the front office to make room for them on the active roster. Lets celebrate some of these players that started training camp on the bubble, but through hard work and determination, forced their way onto the 2021 Miami Dolphins.
5. Robert Jones / Guard
It wasn’t like the Miami Dolphins came into camp with the deepest of offensive lines, but Robert Jones making this 53 man roster is still impressive. Jones is an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State. Coming out of Rockford East High School, he was a zero-star recruit and had to play two seasons at Kansas’ Highland Community College before transferring to Middle Tennessee State as a two-star JUCO transfer.
Speaking of high school ball, Jones didn’t start playing football until he was a junior. So six years ago he first walked onto a football field, and he just made the 53 man roster of an NFL football team-one that will be competing for a playoff spot this season.
Playing at a smaller school meant that Jones’ performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl would weigh heavily into his draft stock. This seems to be a developing trend, but Jones made the most of that opportunity too.
"“The pressure is really on because you don’t get many chances to show them what you can do, but I did well in the practices, and the interviews went great. I was just being myself. They wanted to know my story, and I gave it to them.” -Robert Jones via Jay Taft @ The Rockford Register Star"
As one of the coaches at the Senior Bowl, Brian Flores got a close look at Jones. When the rookie went undrafted, Miami swooped in to sign him with an offer that included $130,000 guaranteed (which far exceeds the average guaranteed money given to undrafted players).
While it may look simple, offensive line is a difficult position to master-especially for young and inexperienced players. Jones got off to a rocky start, struggling mightily in his first preseason game against the Chicago Bears. He followed that up with two stellar performances against Atlanta and Cincinnati. When it was all said and done, Robert Jones was one of Miami’s best offensive lineman this preseason.
He’s still young and inexperienced, but the fact that Brian Flores trusts him as one of the primary backups on the interior speaks volumes about his progress. It isn’t likely that he’ll start too many games this season, but Jones could be a key member of this offensive line for years to come.