Football is back and one full week of training camp is in the books. There are some pretty good competitions shaping up at various positions. Looking at camp reports, tweets, and so on, we can look at an early rendition of what the final 53 man roster might look like. Here we go.
QB(2): Ryan Tannehill (S), Matt Moore
Nothing new to see here. Pat Devlin isn't really pushing for Moore's spot and there isn't enough data to make a prediction about newcomer Mr. Lobato. Unless one of those last two show up big time in preseason, I think Miami just keeps two QBs on the roster.
RB (4): Lamar Miller (S), Knowshon Moreno, Damien Williams, Marcus Thigpen
Miller is the clear leader to start at this point. Moreno doesn't appear to be in jeopardy despite being on the PUP list. The reason is that incumbent Daniel Thomas is having a forgettable camp. He needed to show up big time, but has played lackluster. Damien Williams on the other hand has been making some plays, including in the passing game. That aspect could put him on the roster and knock Thomas off. Thigpen still gets a spot because he's the return guy and no one is really pushing him for that yet.
WR (6): Mike Wallace (S), Brian Hartline (S), Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Jarvis Landry, Damian Williams
Wallace and Hartline are still the starters and that's not changing. Gibson has been getting first team reps, but when Wallace left a practice early due to a tight hamstring, Rishard Matthews got starting reps in his spot, not Gibson. Landry is making plays and while he was going to make the team anyway, he may be pushing for that 3rd receiver spot. Armon Binns has made some plays but so has Williams. Binns has size and Williams has speed. Williams has return ability as well. It's a tossup at this point, but I like the skillset Williams brings to the table, so I give him the spot.
TE (4): Charles Clay (S), Dion Sims, Michael Egnew, Arthur Lynch
Aside from Clay, this group has been disappointing. During interviews however, Philbin has been mentioning Dion Sims as a guy making plays in the passing game. Based on that, it sounds like Sims is the #2 tight end. Egnew has made a play here and there, but also had some drop issues. He's not doing enough right now, but no one else is really pushing him. Lynch gets the fourth spot just because he was a draft pick, though his or Egnew's spot could go to Gator Hoskins.
OL (9): Branden Albert (S), Daryn Colledge (S), Nate Garner (S), Shelley Smith (S), Ja'Wuan James (S), Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, Sam Brenner, Jason Fox
Albert and Colledge appear to have locked down the left side. James is the starting right tackle and though he has been getting beaten by Wake on occasion, that's not to be unexpected. For the most part, he's been solid. The RG position has been in flux thanks to the C position being in flux. Smith got starting reps at C, but snap issues have pushed him back to RG. Garner has gotten the call up to starting C. He's had his share of snap issues, but does have starting experience at the position. Dallas Thomas has been getting first team reps at RG, but seems to be struggling some. He's also getting reps at RT. His play during preseason will determine his role. Turner is gaining some ground. Reports are that he struggles with leverage, but is improving. That would be expected for a former tackle from the lower division making a switch to guard in the pros. Don't be surprised if he gets a starting spot before midseason. Brenner keeps his spot simply because of the center issues. Fox has been playing well as the swing tackle and even got reps at OG. He might be the new utility lineman as well.
DT (4): Jared Odrick (S), Randy Starks (S), Earl Mitchell, A.J. Francis
Defining starters at DT is kind of pointless since they all rotate and get plenty of reps. Odrick, Starks, and Mitchell are getting the 1st team reps and making plays, but Francis has been playing well, making some noise at camp. He appears to be in the driver's seat to get the 4th DT spot.
DE (5): Cameron Wake (S), Olivier Vernon (S), Dion Jordan, Derrick Shelby, Terrance Fede
Wake and Vernon are the unquestioned starters. Jordan has been playing well at camp, including in the run game. He'll start the season on suspension, but will be a key part upon his return. Shelby has been consistent and Fede is making some noise, so they'll get worked into the rotation.
LB (7): Koa Misi (S), Dannell Ellerbe (S), Philip Wheeler (S), Jason Trusnik, Jelani Jenkins, Jordan Tripp, Chris McCain
Misi is the starting MLB and it appears Ellerbe is locking down the starting WOLB spot. Those two appear to be the nickel LBs as well. Wheeler gets the start for now, but UDFA Chris McCain is having a good camp and even got some first team reps at SOLB. Trusnik has made some plays in camp and is a versatile player. He's also a key special teamer so he should be a lock. Tripp is a draft pick with some promise and reports are that thing may be slowing down for him, which is good. Jenkins gets the final spot since he is decent in coverage and no one is really pushing him for a spot.
CB (4): Brent Grimes (S), Cortland Finnegan (S), Jamar Taylor, Will Davis
There was never any question about Grimes' spot, and Finnegan is playing well enough to hold down the other starting spot. Taylor and Davis have been making plays and appear to be developing well. Taylor may end up starting for Finnegan at some point. If the young bucks can maintain their play, the CB position looks set.
S (5): Reshad Jones (S), Louis Delmas (S), Jimmy Wilson, Michael Thomas, Walt Aikens
No real issues here except for the final safety spot. Jones and Delmas will start and while Wilson is the 1st team nickel CB, he's listed at safety and gets safety reps in practice. Thomas is a Dolphins cult hero for his heroics in the Pats game last year. He's been getting some reps at nickel CB, so it appears they have a plan for him. Aikens was drafted as a CB, but is getting moved to safety. He has some collegiate experience at safety, so the switch shouldn't be that big of an issue.
Specialists (3): Caleb Sturgis (K), Brandon Fields (P), John Denney (LS)
Same stuff, different day.
The first preseason game is coming up next week and hopefully the roster picture will look a little clearer by then.