Miami Dolphins Offseason: The Quiet Before the Storm

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

It’s that time after the year again where everything goes quiet in the NFL. That doesn’t mean we can’t take a preview of rookie mini camp and the Organized Team Activities (OTA). Who will prosper, and who will disappoint?

It's the quiet before the storm; the period where the draft is over and rookie minicamps and OTA's are yet to start.  Draft analysts, coaches, front office teams and fans up and down the country have had a chance to recharge their batteries.

That's about to change.

On Friday, the Dolphins will hold their first session with their rookies for three days.  It'll be a chance for the coaches and front office to see first hand the fruits of their labor.  Will the Dolphins find an acorn?  Will an undrafted free agent step up to the plate and prove he's got a shot of making the team?

Last year, rookie offensive lineman Sam Brenner entered training camp and competed against Josh Samuda for the backup center role.  What happened?  Brenner is still on the team and Samuda is gone.  A.J. Francis and Derrick Shelby also proved worthy of a place on the final 53-man roster.  Whichever way you look at it, the Dolphins are prepared to give UDFA's a shot, and they certainly aren't there to make up the numbers.

As for the drafted rookies, will Matt Hazel force the coaches to make a decision on one of the wide receivers?  Brandon Gibson played well in his limited time on the field, but will his injury affect his chances of making this year's final roster?  Also consider Gibson was a Jeff Ireland guy.  There's a new regime in town, and they won't be loyal to players from last year.  Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline are safe for now, thanks to their contracts.

Philip Wheeler and Darnelle Ellerbe also need to prove their worth this offseason.  This is no time for complacency.  They have to prove that 2013 was a blip on the radar, and the team will be looking for those players to step up.  Wheeler is particularly under threat with the development of Jelani Jenkins and the arrival of rookie Jordan Tripp.  Particularly with Jenkins, if he performs during training, why shouldn't he start?

There are so many more questions than answers at this time of the year.  But that's football, and why it makes it so exciting.

It's the quiet before the storm.  Are you ready for preseason?

Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.

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