The Miami Dolphins' depth chart churns more than the tropical storm systems out in the Atlantic right now. As proof, if you head over to the Dolphins 2011 Unofficial Depth Chart on MiamiDolphins.com, you can see, even the Dolphins oorganization can't keep up -to-date with all the changes.
If even the Dolphins' own website can't keep up, how are we supposed to?
It's a chaotic time for the Dolphins' depth chart, but here is a break down of where we stand at this moment (read fast, because by the time you finish, this is probably already out of date):
Starter - Chad Henne
Backup - Matt Moore
Practice Squad - Pat Devlin (R)
We all know the saga of Chad Henne. He has looked solid in the preseason, and should continue to grow once the season starts. I would not be surprised to see Miami bring in another QB to serve as the second or third string QB on game days.
Starter - Reggie Bush
Backup - Daniel Thomas
3rd String - Lex Hilliard
Practice Squad - Nic Grigsby (R)
There's not a lot of depth here for the Dolphins, and with former running back Ronnie Brown's injury experiences, and the inability of starter Reggie Bush to stay healthy the last few years, the small number of bodies at the running back position surprises me.
Starter - Charles Clay (R)
Backup - Lex Hilliard
The fullback position is on it's deathbed in the NFL, and Miami's personnel here exemplify that. Charles Clay is an "h-back," playing a mix of fullback and tight end. Lex Hilliard is the Dolphins' #3 tailback, but can serve as a fullback as well.
Practice Squad - Julius Pruitt
Head Coach Tony Sparano has coveted speed for a long time. Now, in the passing game, they have it. With Brandon Marshall serving as the #1, Brian Hartline a speedy #2, and Davone Bess a classic slot #3, the Dolphins have the talent to bring the passing game up. With the addition of rookie Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore, and Roberto Wallace, the Dolphins have some complementary factors that could make this a threatening passing attack.
Starter - Anthony Fasano
Practice Squad - Brett Brackett (R)
Three days ago, this was easily the weakest position on the roster. Now, with the addition of Rosario and Yeatman, the Dolphins have some depth behind starter Anthony Fasano.
The Dolphins' offensive line has been the weakest link so far this preseason. Starter, Pro-Bowler, All-Pro left tackle Jake Long has sat out much of training camp, and the rest of the o-line have looked like they are missing their leader. Rookie Mike Pouncey has been holding his own at center. The weakest of the line has been right tackle Marc Colombo - by far. Look for the Dolphins to either use John Jerry - who many fans expected to see gone this offseason, and who has recently been getting work at tackle - or move Vernon Carey - who took a pay cut and a position change during training camp to make room for Colombo - to right tackle when Colombo's struggles continue.
Practice Squad - Frank Kearse (R)
The Dolphins have the most depth along the defensive line I have ever seen. Any of the backups could be starters, and be effective starters. Jared Odrick is currently listed as the third string right defensive end, yet may be the best pass rusher of the group. Phillip Merling continues to be trade bait for the Dolphins, but there aren't any biters - yet.
This group could be the most formidable for opposing defenses of any unit on the Dolphins' roster. With Cameron Wake loooking to improve on his 14 sacks last year, Koa Misi starting to find his own rhythm in the pass rush and a solid cover linebacker, Kevin Burnett able to cover tight ends (something Miami needs desperately), and Karlos Dansby a run stopping, blitzing, coverage guy, the starters are outstanding. Now add in the return of Jason Taylor to serve as a pass rush specialist and Ike Alama-Francis to shut down the run game, the linebackers could be scary on this team. And, that doesn't even account for the depth in Marvin Mitchell and Austin Spitler.
Nickelback - Benny Sapp
Practice Squad - Vincent Agnew (R)
Vonate Davis predicted that the Dolphins would have the best cornerback tandem in the league, between him and Sean Smith. Benny Sapp beat out veteran Will Allen for the nickle spot. Nolan Carroll provdes depth behind Davis and Smith, and serves on the special teams. Rookie Jimmy Wilson has been exceptional in the preseason, and could prove to be a seventh round steal.
Starters - SS: Yeremiah Bell, FS: Chris Clemons
Yeremiah Bell is a fixture in the Dolphins secondary, and has led the Dolphins in tackles every year since Zach Thomas left the team. Chris Clemons has potential and continues to develop behind Bell. The free safety position is a toss up. Jones could still be the starter, but I put Clemons there because (1) he was the starter last year and (2) he is currently listed as the number one on the out of date MiamiDolphins.com depth chart.
Punter - Brandon Fields
Place Kicker - Dan Carpenter
Kick Returner - Davone Bess, Clyde Gates
Punt Returner - Davone Bess, Clyde Gates
Long Snapper - John Denney
No surprises here, except maybe the lack of Reggie Bush on this part of the depth chart. John Denney continues to make the roster solely to long snap. Although he is not listed as a backup on the MiamiDolphins.com depth chart, Jason Taylor can serve as a backup long snapper if necessary.
Good, you've made it this far. Now, assume everything above is wrong because somewhere, Tony Sparano and General Manager Jeff Ireland are making a move (QB David Garrard? CB Darius Butler?). We'll see the truth, at least for one game, in 6 days.