Well, we are now far enough along in camp to start making my roster wish list.
Win = Guys I would like to see WIN a Final 53 roster position, without regard to starter/backup status, or who they beat to get it. These guys are talented enough that they might eventually be able to challenge for a starting spot, but they are not currently starters or roster locks. They are generally competing for a rotational position (rather than a strictly backup spot) and would be active on game days by contributing in that capacity. For the purpose of this exercise, I am not projecting which player they would displace to earn the spot.
Loss = Guys who will have a spot on the roster if no one better steps up to claim it. I hope they lose their spot, not because I have something personal against them, but because they are only "OK" - not great. My hope is that one of the new guys steps up and TAKES the spot from them by being an obvious upgrade at the position.
Jonas Gray - Everyone seems to like what they have seen so far from this kid, but he is currently my #2 RB due to one big reason: I think he could fill a dual roll as FB and eliminate the need to keep a player exclusively at that position. He has already shown that he can sufficiently displace Daniel Thomas as the short yardage back.
Will Davis - Playmaker, end of story. He needs to be on the field as the 3rd or 4th CB AT LEAST! I even wonder if he might be able to bulk up and play FS over time. A center fielder with ball skills would be an upgrade over Clemons. Having Reshad Jones, Brent Grimes and Will Davis on the field at the same time would make for a dynamic secondary.
Chad Bumphis - The latest in a parade of camp WR "one-hit wonders" - so far. Every year we see someone stand out for a while - in practice, in a game or two - and then fade away. Every year, we hope we find that hidden, late round/undrafted gem at receiver, like a Marques Colston, and so far the closest we have come is Davone Bess. If Bumphis continues to develop, and not regress, this offseason, that would give the Fins a very good 4 WR set.
Lance Louis - I know some people might consider him a lock because he was signed as a free agent, but if he can't get healthy, I don't see the Fins keeping him around. But the bigger question is: Can he get healthy enough to get back to his form last season as a top ranked OG and earn the spot away from John Jerry?
Will Yeatman - Having him here is problematic. Yeatman is very athletic - and very RAW. He played lacrosse and football in college. In football, he played Tight End, but he was a problem child, getting arrested for two alcohol related offenses, and getting suspended from he football program. He went undrafted in 2011 (big surprise) and picked up as a free agent by the Patriots, playing as a Tight End behind Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski - he was later released (again, big surprise). But Joe Philbin picked him up and told him to bulk up and change positions to O-line. He has been played at both Guard and Tackle, and - BIG SURPRISE - he seems to have worked his way onto the second team (at Left Tackle)! Along with his raw athleticism, he has quick feet and a mean streak, and could possibly develop into a Tackle or good pulling Guard. Key word is develop. But he seems to be doing that at a quick pace!
So what's the problem? Well, if he beats out Jonathan Martin or Tyson Clabo at Tackle, does that make him really good, or them really -meh-? And even though I put Louis on the list to win the RG spot from Jerry, if Yeatman is better, let him take it from Louis. Bottom line: put the 5 best O-linemen on the field, and don't worry about the loser. More likely he just ends up being a future replacement for someone.
Richard Marshall - Marshall is OK. But not spectacular. I expect Dimitri Patterson to start opposite Brent Grimes. With a second rounder in Jamar Taylor assured a roster spot, Will Davis playing like his hair's on fire, and Nolan Carroll starting to look like he can hold his own without holding his receiver, let's hope Marshall becomes obsolete.
Rishard Matthews - same as Marshall - OK. But he has never really stepped up and seized the opportunity. He probably doesn't lose his job unless someone takes it from him, and let's hope someone is good enough to do just that.
John Jerry - He is serviceable. Jerry is one of those guys that would certainly land somewhere is the Dolphins were to release him, and probably end up starting. And that's not going to happen, because ether way, the Fins need depth on the O-line. But he COULD lose his starting spot if someone steps up who is just flat out better. With the O-Line being the area needing most help, someone taking his spot away would have to be good news, wouldn't it?
Daniel Thomas - Inconsistency, thy name is Thomas. Or maybe would could just call him "Fumbles", like that bad guy on Dick Tracy. Or "Woozy" since he is always knocking himself silly. In any event, like the other folks on this list, the opportunity to upgrade is certainly there.
Charles Clay - I like this kid! But he seemed to hit a ceiling last season and doesn't seem to be breaking through it so far this offseason. With Dustin Keller firmly entrenched in the starting TE role, and guys like Dion Sims and Jonas Gray tearing it up in potentially overlapping FB/H-Back/RB roles, I think I would rather see them keep four Backs on the roster.
Jorvorskie Lane - See Jonas Gray and Charles Clay above.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IF ANY NEW GUY STEPS UP AND EARNS A STARTING OR PLAYING TIME ROLE AWAY FROM A GUY THAT HAD IT LAST SEASON - THE TEAM IS BETTER.