2014 Miami Dolphins needs, free agents, draft, and more - Secondary

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the Miami Dolphins roster heading into the NFL's 2014 Free Agency period. We break down the team's needs, the top players available, and what could happen. This morning, we start with the secondary.

The start of the NFL's 2014 Free Agency period is just days away, with teams able to start talking to agents tomorrow and signings able to start on Tuesday. As we get ready for the madness that is free agency, we take a look at the status of the Miami Dolphins' roster, as well as the needs and potential solutions for each area of the roster. Today we start the series with the secondary.

Current Roster:

Number

Player

Position

HT

WT

Age

Exp

School

37

Brown, Jalil

CB

6'1"

205

26

3

Colorado

29

Davis Will

CB

5'11"

186

23

1

Utah State

21

Grimes, Brent

CB

5'10"

183

30

8

Shippensburg

36

Jones, Don

CB

5'11"

191

23

1

Arkansas State

20

Jones, Reshad

S

6'1"

210

23

4

Georgia

44

Kovacs, Jordan

S

5'10"

205

23

1

Michigan

24

Patterson, Dimitri

CB

5'10"

200

30

7

Tuskegee

22

Taylor, Jamar

CB

5'10"

192

23

1

Boise State

31

Thomas, Michael

S

5'11"

196

24

2

Stanford

27

Wilson, Jimmy

S

5'11"

205

27

3

Montana

Potential Free Agents:

Number

Player

Position

HT

WT

Age

Exp

School

28

Carroll, Nolan

CB

6'1"

205

27

4

Maryland

30

Clemons, Chris

S

6'1"

214

28

5

Clemson

41

Owens, Chris

CB

5'9"

180

27

5

San Jose State

25

Stanford, R.J.

CB

5'10"

185

25

3

Utah

Roster Status:

The secondary may be the deepest for the Dolphins heading into free agency. Even if the team loses Nolan Carroll, who is reportedly garnering interest from the Minnesota Vikings with the potential of several other teams joining the chase, the cornerback position has plenty of options. The re-signing of Brent Grimes gives Miami the shutdown corner for one side of the field while Dimitri Patterson takes the starting spot on the opposite side. The nickel cornerback position could still belong to Jimmy Wilson, or one of the younger guys could fill in that spot.

Obviously, the question among the cornerbacks will remain Patterson, who was unable to stay healthy last year and comes into this year with a high salary cap number. The Dolphins could decide to release Patterson, rather than eat up $5.4 million against the cap. They could re-work his contract as well, which would make it more palatable, but for now, it's hard to say for sure Patterson will be with Miami when he cannot stay on the field and would have no dead money if he were released.

If the team were to lose both Carroll and Patterson, perhaps cornerback becomes more of a need than it appears to be currently, but with both Jamar Taylor and Will Davis essentially redshirting their rookie years, it's possible the coaching staff even feels they already have the replacement for the two cornerbacks who started opposite Grimes in 2013.

Safety is a little more interesting, as the team could bring back Chris Clemons, who is scheduled to be a free agent, much like they did last year. They could allow Clemons to leave, moving Wilson into the position opposite Reshad Jones, or looking for an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

Top 5 Free Agents:

Cornerback:

Rank

Player

2013 Team

1

Aqib Talib

New England Patriots

2

Tracy Porter

Oakland Raiders

3

Tarell Brown

San Francisco 49ers

4

Vontae Davis

Indianapolis Colts

5

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Denver Broncos

Safety:

Rank

Player

2013 Team

1

Jarius Byrd

Buffalo Bills

2

Antoine Bethea

Indianapolis Colts

3

Donte Whitner

San Francisco

4

T.J. Ward

Cleveland Browns

5

Mike Mitchell

Carolina Panthers

Top 5 Draft Prospects:

Cornerback:

Rank

Player

School

1

Darqueze Dennard

Michigan State

2

Justin Gilbert

Oklahoma State

3

Kyle Fuller

Virginia Tech

4

Jason Verrett

TCU

5

Bradley Roby

Ohio State

Safety:

Rank

Player

School

1

HaSean Clinton-Dix

Alabama

2

Calvin Pryor

Louisville

3

Jimmie Ward

Nothern Illinois

4

Deone Bucannon

Washington State

5

Terrence Brooks

Florida State

Nogle's Offseason Projection:

Not a lot will likely change between now and the start of the season, when it comes to the secondary, at least. Miami is said to want to bring back Carroll, and they will likely try to make that happen, though it is probably 50-50 at best at this point. As for the safety position, adding an upgrade to Clemons seems to be the direction the team wants to go, most likely looking to the Draft to accomplish that goal.

In the end, Caroll and Clemons are likely gone, with Miami adding a rookie safety to develop behind Wilson as the strong safety.

Projected Depth Chart:

Secondary_depth_chart

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