The Miami Dolphins took 75 players into last night's game against the New Orleans Saints. However, by tomorrow night, the team must have those 75 players cut down to 53. Did last night's performance change the coaches' minds about who did and who did not earn a roster spot? It did change mine.
Here is my final projection of the Dolphins' 53 man roster:
Offensive Notes (25):
- Quarterbacks (2): I'm still 50/50 on the idea of Pat Devlin not making the roster, but after last night's performance, I think he is probably destined for the practice squad. Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore are the two quarterbacks on the roster and Daniel, who played quarterback in high school, would likely be the emergency in game QB if it came down to that.
- Running Backs (4): Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and Mike Gillislee all claim the main running back positions. Marcus Thigpen continues to be listed as a running back, but will likely line up all over the offensive formations. Jonas Gray slides on to the practice squad.
- Wide Receivers (6): Every time I do a projection, I add another wide receiver or two. This time, with Thigpen listed as a running back again, we add Chad Bumphis and Brian Tyms onto the roster, along with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and Rishard Matthews. That move opens a practice squad slot for Keenan Davis.
- Tight Ends/Fullbacks (4): Fullback Evan Rodriguez misses the roster simply because there's no way to keep him and the six wide receivers. Charles Clay, Michael Egnew, Kyle Miller, and Dion Sims all make the cut at tight end, and will all probably see plenty of snaps, no matter in which order they are slotted on the depth chart. Clay will likely serve as the primary lead blocker when the team slides into two back sets.
- Offensive Linemen (9): The nine offensive linemen continue to be the same, with Tyson Clabo, John Jerry, Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito, and Jonathan Martin starting, while Nate Garner, Josh Samuda, Dallas Thomas, and Will Yeatman rounding out the roster.
Defensive Notes (25):
- Defensive Linemen (9): Still looking to keep A.J. Francis on the roster, meaning the team keeps nine defensive linemen. Francis will be ninth on the depth chart, behind starters Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, Paul Soliai, Olivier Vernon, semi-starter Randy Starks, and reserves Dion Jordan, Derrick Shelby, and Kheeston Randall. Vaughn Martin stayed on my roster until I simply had to find one more player to cut.
- Linebackers (7): Last time, I had Austin Spitler making the roster, but it's hard to keep eight linebackers on the roster. He becomes one of the last cut this time. The team will start Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, and Koa Misi, with Jonathan Freeny, Jason Trusnik, Josh Kaddu, and Jelani Jenkins all backing them up.
- Cornerbacks (5): The only player I kept on the roster longer than Vaughn Martin before cutting him was De'Andre Presley. I would really like to find a way to keep him on the roster, but I just could not do it without cutting a linebacker or tight end that I want to keep as well. Instead, we fall back to the five cornerbacks in Brent Grimes, Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carroll, Will Davis, and Jamar Taylor.
- Safety (4): The safeties remain Chris Clemons, Rshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson, and Kelcie McCray. Heading into last night's game, I would have questioned McCray making the final roster, but his performance against the New Orleans Saints put him back on the right side of the roster cuts.
Special Teams notes (3):
- Punter: Brandon Fields.
- Kicker: Caleb Sturgis.
- Long Snapper: John Denney.
- Kick Returners: Marcus Thigpen.
- Punt Returners: Marcus Thigpen.
That's my final roster projection. By 6pm ET tomorrow, we will know the Dolphins' answer to how they will build the team. You can also predict your own 53 man roster here.
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