Dolphins training camp: Rookie update as camp closes

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have wrapped up training camp practices and have already completed two preseason games. With the Dolphins traveling to face the Houston Texans tomorrow, it’s time for an update on the Miami rookie class.

The Miami Dolphins have closed training camp and are preparing to face the Houston Texans in NFL Preseason Week 2 action.  How have the Dolphins' rookies performed in camp?  We take a look.

Draft picks:

  • 1st Round: Dion Jordan, Defensive end - Jordan has shown the potential that made him the third overall pick in last April's draft, looking fast during training camp and during the Hall of Fame Game. He's added some strength already, and will likely continue to do so throughout the season. However, the shoulder that required surgery back in February still is bothering him and has caused him to miss the last week of training camp, after missing the first couple of days back in July. Jordan should still be ready to play at the start of the regular season.

  • 2nd Round: Jamar Taylor, cornerback - Taylor barely saw the field throughout training camp, thanks to a sports hernia and the subsequent surgery. He made it back just before camp broke, but is not 100%. It's an injury that, if he does not give it the time to heal correctly, could bother him for the remainder of the season. He's not in danger of missing the roster, but he will be buried on the depth chart, and could, theoretically, end up on IR if the team feels it would be better to let him rest for the entire season rather than push him back.

  • 3rd Round: Dallas Thomas, offensive lineman - The main memory of Dallas Thomas that most fans will have from the 2013 training camp was how poorly he played at left tackle during the Hall of Fame Game. Miami is moving him around the line, trying to find the right place to fit him. The coaches seem convinced he can be a tackle at the NFL level, trying him first on the left side and now on the right, despite most analysts seeing Thomas as a guard. He briefly played guard near the start of camp, and, given the struggles he has had at tackle, will likely end up back there at some point. Thomas will be a depth offensive lineman this year, looking to find a position, settle in, and develop this year before challenging for a starting job in 2014.

  • 3rd Round: Will Davis, cornerback - Davis was far-and-away the shining star of the rookie class in training camp. While Jordan will likely be the top player from the group when he is 100% healthy, Davis used the injuries to both Jordan and Taylor to put himself atop the group for now. When camp started, Davis was clearly a rookie trying to find his way in the NFL. At the end of it, he's a ballhawk of a cornerback who is pushing for playing time. Davis needs to work on staying with his man, he can get beat by pump fakes or double moves right now, but he is clearly a talented cornerback. He is either the fourth or fifth corner on the roster right now, and could be higher by the time the season ends.

  • 4th Round: Jelani Jenkins, linebacker - Jenkins is one of two drafted rookies who did not get a lot of exposure at camp. He's raw, and needs time to develop, but he will likely make the roster thanks to a shallow group at linebacker and his draft status.

  • 4th Round: Dion Sims, tight end - The one non-Florida Gator from among the team's four total picks in the fourth and fifth rounds, Sims has been good in training camp. Described as a "blocking" tight end by all of the analysts after the draft, no one paid attention to the fact that Michigan State actually lined Sims up as a wide receiver. He is a good blocker, but his ball skills surprised a lot of people. He will likely be listed as the third tight end on the roster, behind Dustin Keller and Charles Clay, but will get as much playing time as Clay.

  • 5th Round: Mike Gillislee, running back - Another raw talent, Gillislee needs time to develop before he is ready to take on a major role on offense. He has had some nice runs in the preseason games, and has shown power when running between the tackles. He will likely end up being the fourth running back on the roster this year.

  • 5th Round: Caleb Sturgis, kicker - He unseated Dan Carpenter and is now the team's only kicker. He had a groin injury early in camp, so that will be something to watch throughout the season, but he has shown the power and accuracy the team wanted from him.

  • 7th Round: Don Jones, safety - The only player to be more quiet in camp than Jenkins, Jones could be destined to land on the practice squad this year. He played both cornerback and safety in college, and Miami originally wanted to try him at corner. He was quickly moved back to safety, but did not make much noise there either. He will get every opportunity to make an impression, but, with camp already closed, it may be too late for Jones to grab a roster spot.

Undrafted Free Agents:

  • Chad Bumphis, wide receiver - Bumphis is clearly the head of the undrafted group at this point, but he is starting to slide. Every year, there is an undrafted rookie who takes off, catches the eye of the fans, then disappears. That could be Bumphis this year, or he could reinforce what he flashed early with a good game against the Texans.

  • Keenan Davis, wide receiver - Where Bumphis flashed brightly and made everyone take notice, Davis has been a good, but unspectacular, receiver so far. He probably will not make the roster, but a good performance against the Texans could help him find his way to the practice squad.

  • A.J. Francis, defensive tackle - While Bumphis was the brightest burning UDFA this year, Francis may be the one with the best chance to claim a roster spot. He's been impressive as a defensive tackle, and could make it tough for the Dolphins to justify cutting.

  • Tristan Okpalaugo, defensive end - Behind Francis, Okpalaugo is the next best performing UDFA on the defensive side of the ball. He's pulled in a sack on each of the first two preseason games, and has been a force thus far. It will be tough to make the roster, simply because of the depth the Dolphins have at the position, but he could work his way onto either the 53-man roster or the practice squad before the preseason is over.

  • David Hinds, linebacker - Hinds is a player the coaches seem to like, signing him after giving him a tryout during the rookie minicamp. He has not been a name many have heard during camp thus far, but he could be a practice squad linebacker for Miami if the coaches really do like what he has done thus far in camp.

  • Jordan Kovacs, safety - Kovacs was someone many Dolphins fans were happy to see signed after the draft. However, he simply has been inconsistent at this point. A practice squad position could be in his future.

  • The rest: Chris Barker, guard; Jeff Braun, guard; Sam Brenner, center; Chandler Burden, guard; Chris Burnette, defensive tackle; Michael Clay, linebacker; Alonzo Highsmith, linebacker; Keelan Johnson, safety; Emeka Onyenekwu, defensive end; Andrell Smith, wide receiver
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