The Miami Dolphins are starting their final week of training camp after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night. The team is about two weeks from having to make their first set of cuts, dropping the roster from 90 to 80 personnel, followed by the final cut day, September 2, when the roster has to be pared to 53 players. As we progress through the end of camp, and the final three preseason games, we will have to keep an eye on the bubble players - the players who are right there near the cut line for the Dolphins.
Last Five On:
1. Rishard Matthews, WR - At this point, Matthews will either be the sixth or even the seventh wide receiver on the Miami roster. It's a lot of players to eat up in one position, but Matthews demonstrated in the Preseason Week 1 that he has a role as a return man. That may just get him a position on the roster.
2. Michael Egnew, TE - The rookie tight end makes the roster, but just barely. He has struggled early this preseason, and needs time to develop. But, his potential, and draft position, earns him a spot.3. Pat Devlin, QB - Really, whether Devlin makes the roster comes down to what happens with David Garrard's knee. If Garrard can make it back, and is ready to play, Devlin may be on the outside looking in. But, for now, I will have him on the roster behind Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill.
4. Jonathan Freeny, LB - The Dolphins will be looking to keep depth in the front seven this year, giving them the ability to rotate defensive players to offset the fast pace of the team's offense. Freeny makes the roster simply to give the team a special teams body as well as an additional linebacker they can rotate in if needed.
5. Chas Alecxih, DT - Alecxih has had a good training camp thus far, and has made people notice him - to the point that people are actually starting to be able to spell his name without looking at it. He's not going to be stellar, but the additional nose tackle is key for the Dolphins. The starting four up front, plusKheeston Randall, Tony McDaniel, and Olivier Vernon, give the Dolphins a ton of flexibility on the offensive line. The team could do things like pull Soliai out, move Odrick to tackle, and add Vernon into the defensive end position. Or, the could move Starks out to a defensive end position. Adding an additional defensive tackle would give the team a little more flexibility.
First Five Off (aka Practice Squad Material*):
1. Jeff Fuller, WR - Fuller could be a weapon for the Dolphins with another year of development. His role with the team is tied directly to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Fuller give Tannehill a target he already knows and to whom he has some comfort throwing. He should get stashed on the practice squad, and could be the first wide receiver the Dolphins look to if someone gets hurt.
2. Jamaal Westerman, DE - Westerman cannot be stashed on the practice squad, and could be a gut the coaches try to keep on the roster, but I just don't see, right now, where the team will lose someone to make room for Westerman.
3. Josh Kaddu, LB - Like Fuller, Kaddu will be stashed on the practice squad. He has talent, and he could become a play maker for the Dolphins, but there is just a ton of depth in front of him at the linebacker position right now. Jason Trusnik, Austin Spitler, and Gary Guyton are all set to be the primary backups behind Koa Misi, Karlos Dansby, andKevin Burnett. Add in Jonathan Freeny, and an eighth linebacker is hard to place on the roster.
4. Ray Feinga, T - Feinga is a solid depth guy on the offensive line, but, like Kaddu, there may just be too many players ahead of him. Jake Long, Jonathan Martin, and Lydon Murtha are locks to make the roster. Feinga should be the fourth tackle, and he could make the roster if the team does not take Clyde Gates or Rishard Matthews, but withArtis Hicks, a tackle playing guard this year , and everything backup Nate Garner on the roster, the team actually has a bigger depth chart of tackles than it looks.
5. Jorvorskie Lane, FB - The Dolphins seem to like Lane, and are determined to keep a fullback, but Jerome Messamseems to be the right guy to fill the position. He's a tailback turned fullback with incredible size. He can use that size to block, as well as run the ball. With Lane being a rookie, he could be another guy destined for the practice squad if the Dolphins don't find a spot for him on the roster