This post is the final part of a series of posts that will break down and evaluate the Miami Dolphins position by position. If you haven't read up on how players are being classified (the number and letter that follow each player's name), you can read this post explaining the evaluation system. You can also read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.
It's time to conclude our position by position break down of the Dolphins roster by looking at how the team currently stands at safety. It's an interesting situation right now because of the relative youth and potential upside that the Dolphins have back there.
So let's get to the evaluations below. Then next week, we will put a bow on this and (hopefully) summarize everything we may or may not have learned about hos this roster has been shaped and what needs to be done next.
Yeremiah Bell (2-B). It's hard not to like this guy. He battled and battled to finally get his shot at starting in 2006. Then he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the '07 season, which was supposed to be his first full season as a starter. Since then, Bell has been one of the key cogs of this Miami defense. He isn't a particularly talented guy in coverage. His strength, though, is his ability to be the eighth man in the box and help stuff the run. And he's among the best strong safeties in the league at doing so. But how much longer until age catches up to him?
Chris Clemons (3-D). Clemons rose from 2009 fifth round pick to starting free safety in a matter of a year. He has good speed and can get sideline to sideline in a hurry. But he's not as instinctive as you'd like, preventing him from getting his hands on a lot of passes. He was also slowed b a groin injury for much of the second half of the season. He'll likely face competition to retain his starting job. But the kid seems to have some upside to him.
Reshad Jones (3-D). This is the guy who represents the "competition" for Clemons. This 2010 fifth round pick was slow to make it on the field as he learned how to play in a 3-4 defense. But in his limited action, including two starts, Jones proved he has some play-making ability. His performance against the Titans (a sack and a game-sealing interception) leads me to believe there might be something to Jones that we should be excited about.
Tyrone Culver (3-E). This veteran is one of my favorite role players on this team. He comes on the field in dime packages most often and, for what it's worth, is rarely out of position. Is he a dynamic play-maker? No. But he knows his role and performs it well. He's also an outstanding special teams guy.
Jonathon Amaya (3-D). This undrafted rookie out of Nevada intrigues me. I don't really know what he is or might be. What I do know is that I want to see more of the kid. From what I've heard, he has a little bit of that "it" factor you hear about in the defensive backfield. What I can tell you for sure, though, is that he's an outstanding special teams player who led the Dolphins with 15 special teams tackles despite playing in only nine games.
Contract situations: There really aren't any contract situations to monitor this offseason. Tyrone Culver will be a free agent after the 2011 season. Jonathon Amaya, meanwhile, will be an exclusive rights free agent next offseason - meaning he'll be here in Miami if the Dolphins want him.
Outlook: If you're looking for any kind of impact addition to this unit, I wouldn't expect it. Instead, look for an interesting camp battle between Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones for the starting free safety job. But also keep in the back of your mind the idea that Jones could be Yeremiah Bell's eventual replacement at strong safety - whenever that time may be. It's worth noting that Bell's salary is $3.7 million in 2011 and jumps to $4.3 million in 2012. Does that mean anything? Probably not right now. But if Bell under-performs in 2011, his roster spot could be in danger.