We have a new coaching staff, and this means all loyalties are off. Every single player on the roster will be against each other in order to make the 53, no one is promised a spot. This also means we, as fans, will get to experience some exciting camp battles at different positions. I'm going to go through every position and highlight the different battles going on with and overview of each contender
Wide receiver is going to be one of the more exciting battles in camp, and we will all be attached to some favorites at the end. There will potentially be 6 roster spots available, with 10 guys competing for them. A lot of the competition is for depth, but there is at least one starting spot that is wide open. Here is an overview of the contenders:
1. Brian Hartline - decent size, decent speed, great hands, great routes. He struggles at YAC, often going down too quickly, but that is in part due to the fact that the previous scheme used him wrong. He has the ability to be a great WCO WR with his large skill set. He can juke out defenders and make big gains with his speed.
2. Davone Bess - small, decent speed, amazing hands, top-notch routes, possession reciever. He is the perfect NFL slot WR. He has everything you need at that spot and has the Y-WR spot locked down from the get-go. The new scheme suits him well and he should find a good amount of success in it.
3. Legedu Naanee - decent size, pretty fast, decent hands, okay route runner, he is competing for the starting Z-WR spot (or the X-WR spot is hartline moves to Z), and has played well as a versatile threat. If the younger guys show the coaching staff a lot, he may end up being a casualty to make room for younger talent.
4. BJ Cunningham - okay size, decent speed, great hands, great route runner, he is a prototypical Z-WR, and is the front-runner for this spot thus far. Amazing ability to make the catch and stubborn with YAC, tough to bring down and gives his 100% every play. He has the potential to be a solid starting WR.
5. Rishard Matthews - okay size, fast, great hands, decent route runner, he has a ton of upside, but is raw and will be used as a special teamer and depth this year. Could be a great WR in a few years.
6. Jeff Fuller - great size, slow, okay hands, good route runner, he is competing for a backup spot and struggles with the mental aspect of the game. He has great physical ability and is smart enough, but lacks confidance and concentration
7. Roberto Wallace - great size, decent speed, raw route runner, he has marshall-esque physical ability, but needs refining, is a monster on special teams
8. Clyde Gates - kinda small, great speed, raw route runner, ok hands, he is a true speedster. He can burn you deep, but lacks much else in his route tree. He has also shown incostant hands, but is a good returner on special teams.
9. Marlon Moore - kinda small, decent speed, raw route runner, poor hands, moore really has to step up to have a shot at making the team. He has roberto wallace’s speed without the size and special team ability, I doubt he makes it past 1st cuts at this point
10. Julius Pruitt - kinda small, good speed, raw route runner, poor hands, he will be competing for the 6th WR spot, but its his special teams prowess that may get him on the team. He was unstoppable on special teams last year, but his shortcomings as a recieving threat can not be overlooked.
Others: Derrick Moye, Chris Hogan
This is the competition all of the fans are going to be tuned into. Who is taking 1st team reps? Who is playing well?Who is struggling? There are three guys battling it out for the starting job, potentially four if Devlin surprises. All of them have their merits and weaknesses, and all will get a shot to win it. Here are the contenders at this spot:
1. Ryan Tannehill - prototypical size, great mobility, great accuracy, decent arm strength and OK deep accuracy. Tannehill is raw, but may get ahead due to his in depth knowledge of the playbook. He has great size and accuracy, but will need help learning how to read NFL defenses after facing college defenses.
2. Matt Moore - good size, bad mobility, poor accuracy, good arm strength and good deep accuracy. Moore played well last year in Sparano's offense, but there are concerns as to how well he will fit in a WCO. He has a gunslinger mentality, and fails to get rid of the ball at times, preferring to take the sack rather than throw it away. He also doesn't go past his reads well, preferring to go deep too often.
3. David Garrard - ok size, good mobility, good accuracy, decent arm strength and decent deep accuracy. Garrard's biggest issue is how well he will get back from his injury. He was out all of last season with a back injury,and there may be some nagging concerns. If he is fully healthy, I think he can go toe-to-toe with, or even exceed, the younger Moore and Tannehill. He is the typical experienced vet, and Tannehill would be well served sitting behind him. Garrard also has the ability to play well, making the pro bowl the year before his injury.
4. Pat Devlin - good size, poor mobility, good accuracy, horrible arm strength and horrible deep accuracy. Devlin is the typical developmental backup. His accuracy and lack of arm strength makes him a good candidate as the long-term backup to Tannehill. He will never be able to start, but has the skillset to be a good game-managing backup.
Others: Jacory Harris
Four of the five O-line positions are currently set, with one in flux. There is good competition at the RG spot, and is one many fans will be looking at. With the signing of Martin, The right side of the line is almost complete, and we have some candidates to be that last piece right here on our own roster. Lets take a look:
1. John Jerry - Jerry has had weight problem after being selected in the third round. He seemed to come to his senses towards the end of the last season, and played very well in backup duty. He is currently the front-runner for the spot, and will most likely win it. Jerry is athletic and strong and will benefit from playing alongside Pouncey and Martin.
2. Artis Hicks - Hicks was horribly mediocre last season in Cleveland, but that is mostly due to the fact that he was forced to play RT, when RG is his true position. He is a typical journeyman that can be a decent starter, but is better as a backup. Hicks and Jerry will both be in the lead for the right guard spot.
The main competition here is going to be at depth. Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush will get the majority of the touches. There are many quality options for these spots.Let's take a look at the contenders:
1. Lamar Miller - Miller is pretty much a lock to make the roster, being a huge steal in the 4th rd. He has speed, returning ability and decent enough toughness. He won't get a huge number of touches this season, but I think we will choose to let Bush leave in free agency next year, and then Miller will share touches with Thomas. He will provide good depth and insurance if Reggie gets injured
2.Steve Slaton - Slaton is a good fit in a zone blocking scheme, and will be competing with Messam for a roster spot. Slaton has good speed and returning ability and hits the hole hard without dancing around much in the backfield. The one concern is that he is too similar to Miller and Bush, and Philbin may decide not to go with three speedy backs. In this case, Slaton gives good trade value (as much as a 5th round pick) for a team who lost their star RB to injury in training camp or preseason.
1. Jerome Messam - Messam is the only power RB we have other than Thomas and the UDFA/camp bodies. He is monstrously large, and will hit the holes hard and force his way past defenders. Watching him in the CFL, he reminds me of Larry Czonka in that he refuses to go down, and also has more speed than the average pounder. I see him having a lot of upside, and should make the team over Slaton because of this
Others: Jonas Gray, Shawn Asiata
This is a position that is going to be in flux. We have Dansby and Burnett as very solid OLBs, but the inside spot is up for grabs. The role of a 4-3 ILB is very different from that of a 3-4 ILB, and there will be growing pains for whomever is there. Here is an overview of the competitors:
1.Koa Misi - Misi was moved here after failing to provide much of a pass rush last season. He was solid against the run, and will continue to do so. There are some issues with him dropping back into coverage, but the other competitor can come in on passing downs for this. Misi is intelligent and will be able to take command of the middle of the defense.
2. Gary Guyton - Guyton is fast and is very good in coverage. He had a down year last year,and will be looking to rebound. He will mostly be used in sub nickel packages to cover the TEs since he is not that good against the run. He is very fast and will be able to match up with even the most athletic TEs.
Both safety spots are wide open to whoever wants them. With Yeremiah Bell leaving, this is going to be a wide open, exciting competition. This is also interesting given that safeties are the specialty of D coordinator Kevin Coyle. Let's take a look at the contenders:
1. Reshad Jones - Jones is currently the front-runner for the SS position, but will be able to play both due to the fact that he has the size to play SS,and the skill set of a FS. He is athletic and manages to be around the ball every play. He is good in coverage and is stout against the run. He has the potential to lock down his safety spot for years to come.
2. Tyrell Johnson - Johnson is currently the front-runner for the FS position, but he may be overtaken. He is very athletic and excels at covering TEs, even though he lacks somewhat in his ability to defend the run. This may ciost him the spot, but will most likely not affect him much, since the FS is relied more on coverage anyways.
3. Chris Clemons - Clemons will compete for the FS spot with Johnson. He is, in a way, the opposite of Johnson. While Johnson is a playmaker, Clemons is a play-stopper. He excels at preventing the offense from making a big play, but won't be a ball hawk. He is solid against the run, but won't force fumbles. Overall, he is just a solid player, and will end up a great backup.
4. Tyrone Culver - Culver is the typical seasoned vet. He's been around for a while in a backup position,and will stay a backup if he makes team.He is very similar to Clemons in that he is solid and won't make mistakes, but won't be a ballhawking playmaker.
5. Jimmy Wilson - WIlson will be used as rotational safety and CB depth. He has the ability and skill set to play both, and will add depth to the backfield as a whole. He is a developmental playmaker that hits hard and is always around the ball. He should make the team for his potential and versatility.
Well, there you have it. That is my list of positions where we will have the biggest competitions. Feel free to leave feedback below and give me your opinion of who should make the team and win the different competitions. Please make sure to complete the poll below.