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Miami Dolphins Projected Defensive Depth Chart - Pre-Training Camp Edition

Will Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis spark a turnaround for the Dolphins secondary this season?
Will Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis spark a turnaround for the Dolphins secondary this season?

The Miami Dolphins officially open their 2012 training camp in just under a week. Both the rookies and veterans report back to Miami on July 26, with the first day of practice being July 27. With that in mind, it's time for us to take another look at the Dolphins' depth chart.

However, I am going to change it up slightly this time. Instead of just listing all of the players at each position, I'm going to try to project the 53 man roster, the eight man practice squad, and who gets released. Of course, I am sure to be way off by the end, because I believe players like Jake Scott will join the team, and of course, the practice squad will include some players who are not currently in Miami. But, using the 90 players we currently have, here is my best approximation of the Miami defensive and special teams depth chart. The offense came out earlier today.

Related: Miami Dolphins Projected Offensive Depth Chart - Pre-Training Camp Edition

Defensive End:

  • Starter: Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick
  • Reserve: Olivier Vernon, Ryan Baker
  • Practice Squad: None
  • Released: Jarell Root, Derrick Shelby, Jacquies Smith

Defensive Tackle:

  • Starter: Paul Soliai, Randy Starks
  • Reserve: Tony McDaniel, Kheeston Randall
  • Practice Squad: Chas Alecxih, Isaako Aaitui
  • Released: None


  • Starter: Kevin Burnett, Karlos Dansby, Koa Misi
  • Reserve: Gary Guyton, Jason Trusnik, Josh Kaddu, Austin Spitler
  • Practice Squad: None
  • Released: Jamaal Westerman, Jonathan Freeny, Cameron Collins, Shelly Lyons


  • Starters: Vontae Davis, Sean Smith
  • Reserve: Richard Marshall, Nolan Carroll, Vincent Agnew, Jonathan Wade
  • Practice Squad: None
  • Released: Kevyn Scott, Marcus Brown, Trenton Hughes


  • Starters: Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons
  • Reserve: Tyrone Culver, Jimmy Wilson
  • Practice Squad: Kelcie McCray
  • Released: Tyrell Johnson, Quinten Lawrence, Anderson Russell


  • Starter: Dan Carpenter


  • Starter: Brandon Fields

Long Snapper:

  • Starter: John Denney

Total players on roster: 28

Total players on practice squad: 3

Defensive Depth Chart Commentary: Just like with the offense, there are a couple of players I would like to find a way to keep on the team, but I just don't see the room for them. For the defensive ends, it's pretty straight forward on the starters and the reserves, although a good training camp could bounce Root, Shelby, or Smith into consideration for either Baker's spot, or an additional defensive lineman on the roster.

The defensive tackles are almost exactly the same as the defensive ends, with the starters locked in, and the reserves also seemingly decided. Randall is the wildcard here, and could make the roster, or could miss out. Alecxih and Aaitui both make the practice squad, giving the Dolphins a defensive tackle, and a traditional nose tackle, to develop.

Overall, the defensive line has a lot of flexibility, as both Starks and McDaniel can also play defensive end, while Odrick can move inside if and when necessary.

For the linebackers, everything seems clear cut through Kaddu, but Spitler is a toss up. I'm not against cutting him to gain an defensive lineman, or someone on offense, but for now, I have seven linebackers.

In the secondary, I'm carrying six cornerbacks, which will help cover the special teams hole only having five wide receivers on offense left. Will the Dolphint really carry six cornerbacks? I'm not sure. But, given that Kevin Coyle has a secondary coach's nature, it might not be a stretch. As for the safeties, Reshad Jones is clearly going to start in one safety position, while the other one is up for grabs. For now, I have Clemons winning the role, because I like the coverage ability Clemons showed in 2010, but I'm not locking in the pick, as Culver could very easily win the position. Look for Wilson to get more playing time as the year progresses.

The final practice squad position, I believe, will go to McCray, giving the team three defensive players and five offensive on the practice squad.

As for the special teams, there's nothing surprising here, with Dan Carpenter, Brandon Fields, and John Denney all making the squad.

So, what do you think of the defense? Should I cut a linebacker for someone in the secondary or a lineman? Who did I cut that should make the squad (Tyrell Johnson)? Let us know in the comments below.