• Dion Jordan suspended 4 games Dion Jordan suspended 4 games DE Dion Jordan is suspended the first four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
  • Mike Pouncey has hip surgery Mike Pouncey has hip surgery Fins OC could be out for 3 months
  • Fins suspend S Don Jones Fins suspend S Don Jones For his twitter comments about Ram's DL Michael Sam
  • Fins select OT Ja'Wuan James in 1st round Fins select OT Ja'Wuan James in 1st round James should challenge for the starting RT spot

     

20 Dolphins battling for 6 roster spots

yeatman 150x150 20 Dolphins battling for 6 roster spots

Can OT Will Yeatman continue his climb to a roster spot? Photo – Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

These 53-man roster battles were much more exciting in 2012 when Hard Knocks was on.

GM Jeff Ireland’s off-season activity means that roster spots will be harder to come by in 2013. 16 new players are locks to make the 53-man roster, 8 from a long-awaited FA class (Wallace, Gibson, Keller, Clabo, Martin, Ellerbe, Wheeler, Grimes) and 8 more draftees taken in the first 5 rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft (Jordan, Taylor, Thomas, Davis, Sims, Jenkins, Gillislee, Sturgis).

As I look at the Dolphins roster heading into tonight’s game against the Texans, I see 47 roster spots sewn up. Some are debatable (Matthews, Egnew, Samuda, V. Martin, Trusnik, Wilson) and, thus, I welcome you to form any counter-argument that you see fit.

 

These 47 players are either “locks” for the 53-man roster, or darn close:

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin (3)
RB: Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee (3)
FB: Charles Clay (1)
WR: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Marcus Thigpen (5)
TE:Dustin Keller, Dion Sims, Michael Egnew (3)
OL: Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey, John Jerry, Tyson Clabo, Nate Garner, Dallas Thomas, Josh Samuda (8)
DE: Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Derrick Shelby (4)
DT: Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Vaughn Martin (4)
LB: Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler, Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, Jason Trusnik (5)
CB: Brent Grimes, Dimitri Patterson, Richard Marshall, Will Davis, Jamar Taylor (5)
S: Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Jimmy Wilson (3)
ST: Caleb Sturgis, Brandon Fields, John Denney (3)

 

This leaves 20 players battling for 6 roster spots:

1) CB Nolan Carroll.
Only on the roster bubble because 5 CB’s are assured roster spots. It would be foolish to cut Carroll, a core ST’s player and improving CB who started 10 games in 2012.

2) G Lance Louis.
When asked about when he’d like to see Louis in a game, Philbin sternly replied “sooner as opposed to later”. If Louis isn’t healthy enough to win the RG competition, he could be released because he lacks versatility.

3) RB Jonas Gray.
Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee should make the roster. The question is whether or not the team will carry the powerful Gray as their #4 RB.

4) DT Kheeston Randall.
Randall received a lot of reps for a rookie 7th rounder on the team’s deepest unit. Keeping Randall as the 5th DT could give the Dolphins flexibility after the season when Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are FA’s.

5) WR Chad Bumphis.
Bumphis still has the edge for the final WR position because of his speed and toughness in the slot. But don’t put him on the roster yet. Bumphis muffed a punt in the 1st Quarter vs. the Jaguars, which was the second time in 6 touches that his mistake resulted in a turnover.

6) S Kelcie McCray.
McCray has been solid the last two summers, and might have made the 53-man roster last season if not for a broken foot in late August. It all depends on whether or not the Dolphins want to keep 4 safeties.

7) FB Evan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez received a lot of first-team snaps with the first unit this past week. He seems to have leapfrogged Jovorskie Lane for the #2 FB spot. Question is, with the Dolphins keep 2 FB’s?

8) LB Jonathan Freeny.
In a tight 3-man race with Spitler and Kaddu for the final LB spot. Two things working for Freeny: he has made the most plays this pre-season, and had more tackles (14) than the other two.

9) LB Josh Kaddu.
Honestly, I thought Kaddu was on his way out until Joe Philbin labeled him as one of the most improved players in Training Camp.

10) LB Austin Spitler.
The drafting of Jelani Jenkins might have been signaled the end for Spitler. He is scheduled to make $1.3 million this season despite having only 23 career tackles in his 3-year career. He has less upside than Freeny and Kaddu, and makes more than both of them combined.

11) FB Jovorskie Lane.
He’s a “B” or “B+” as a blocker, and an “F” in every other area (rushing, receiving, pass blocking, and ball security). His practice time is shrinking, which isn’t a good sign.

12) OT Will Yeatman.
Joe Philbin’s pet project on the OL had a good week of practice and is making a late push to make the 53-man roster. He has the size and feet, just needs to put it all together.

13) TE Kyle Miller.
The Dolphins kept 5 TE’s on the roster last year, with Miller as one of them. He has to give Philbin a reason to keep another TE on the roster with Keller, Clay, Egnew, and Sims already on the team.

14) WR Bryan Tyms.
Has potential, but may be one dropped pass away from sealing his fate.

15) WR Marvin McNutt.
See above.

16) S Don Jones.
Late 7th round pick has looked like a lost puppy in two pre-season games. Ideal practice squad candidate.

17) LB Lee Robinson.
Has steadily made plays in the 3rd and 4th quarter of pre-season games. Might be a few big plays away from jumping into the conversation as the 6th LB.

18) DE Antwan Applewhite.
Veteran journeyman signed to give DE’s a breather with Jordan out. Carry on.

19) DE Tristan Okpalaugo.
Won’t make the team, but I’m keeping an eye on him. He has jumped out the most on the 3rd string, and could be worth a spot on the Practice Squad.

20) CB R.J. Stanford.
Played a lot last year in a depleated secondary, but is unlikely to leapfrog Nolan Carroll as the 6th and final CB.

Thanks for Reading,

Follow me on twitter @BrianCat13

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Brian Catanzaro

Brian is a 29-year-old Sales/Marketing Manager in St. Louis by day, but an NFL blogger and commentator by night. Follow me on Twitter @BrianCat13.

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