The Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins 24-20 in last night's Hall of Fame Game. For the Dolphins, the important part of the game was to gain experience, and try to evaluate the performance of some of their younger players, as well as some of the groupings they will use this year. This afternoon, we take a look at the stock value for several of the players from the game.
Stock up: Dion Jordan - Jordan came out during Sunday night's game and performed exactly like the third overall pick should. He was stopped at times, but he showed the potential that made the Dolphins want him as well. He had some really nice pass rushing moments, as well as dropping into coverage, or playing linebacker and supporting the run. After just one preseason game, you cannot declare Jordan a star, but he sure showed the potential to get there.
Stock down: Tackling - That was a mess. This should be far more disconcerting than any turnover issues the team had on Sunday. Repeatedly, and routinely, guys were trying to arm tackle Cowboys ball carriers, and simply not getting the job done. It was so bad that Cowboys backup running back Phillip Tanner, who ran for 62 yards in last year's preseason - the entire four game preseason - racked up 59 yards on 10 carries. And, to make matters worse, Joseph Randle, the next guy on the depth chart, had 70 yards on 13 carries. Seriously, tackling was an issue for the Dolphins, and needs to be the first correction made this week.
Stock up: Chad Bumphis - In the battle for the last few depth chart slots at wide receiver, Chad Bumphis fired the first salvo Sunday. Despite deflecting a ball to Cowboys linebacker DeVonte Holloman, who returned the interception 75 yards for a touchdown, Bumphis was the star for the offense. He caught 5 passes for 85 yards, and seemed to be open all night. Will that translate to playing against starter level competition? Who knows. But, at least on Sunday, Bumphis looked like someone destined to make the roster.
Stock down: Dallas Thomas - Thomas will take the brunt of the offensive line criticism, and maybe it's rightfully so. While people will continue to worry about Jonathan Martin, his performance during the game was not as bad as it initially seemed. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Martin had a great game, and there was at least one bad attempt at a block, but I think we are all victims of expecting to see the bad, so that's all we see. However, as a whole, the offensive line was bad, and Thomas was miserable. Clearly, Thomas was not meant to be a left tackle at the NFL level (and, even though it was just one preseason game, I'm not afraid to make that immediate reaction). He needs to be moved back inside, and play as either a left or right guard. The entire offensive line needs more reps than what they got last night, and they need to start building the chemistry an effective line has.
Stock up: Jonas Gray - Gray ran hard last night and showed he can be a force out of the backfield on swing and screen passes. He finished the game with seven carries for 41 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and four receptions for 35 yards. Gray spent last season on the injured reserve, recovering from an ACL tear he suffered late in his senior year at Notre Dame. Coming back now, Gray looked powerful, and had the one cut running style Miami looks for in their running backs. He is still on the roster bubble, simply based on the number of running backs ahead of him on the depth chart, but if he continues to play like that, he will make a case for the team to re-consider the depth chart.
Stock down: Lance Louis - Louis stock continues to fall every day. At this point, it appears the Dolphins will use Josh Samuda as the starting right guard, which, by default should make the injured John Jerry the primary reserve, along with Nate Garner and, potentially, Dallas Thomas. That leaves Louis, who tore his ACL last year with the Chicago Bears, on the outside looking in. The sooner he can fully practice, the sooner he can try to make a case for landing on the roster.