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Dolphins roster breakdown: Who is a lock to make the roster? Who is on the bubble?

How does the Miami Dolphins 90-man roster break down across players likely to make the roster and those who will probably be released? We take our best guess as to how the roster looks right now.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are two weeks into training camp for the 2014 season, with one NFL Preseason game behind them.  As they get ready to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend, we take a minute to look at the status of the team's 90-man roster, placing players into categories based on likelihood of making the final, 53-man roster.

(Please note - this is all completely my opinion.  Nothing is right or wrong here, it's just the way I see the players stacking up.  This also does not take into account positions, just the players.  There may not be enough offensive linemen or linebackers or cornerbacks when you analyze the groupings - which is of course a part of building the 53 man roster.)

Roster Locks (20 players)

  • Branden Albert, offensive tackle
  • Charles Clay, tight end
  • Louis Delmas, safety
  • Brandon Fields, punter
  • Brent Grimes, cornerback
  • Brian Hartline, wide receiver
  • Ja'Wuan James, offensive tackle
  • Reshad Jones, safety (suspended)
  • Dion Jordan, defensive end (suspended)
  • Jarvis Landry, wide receiver
  • Lamar Miller, running back
  • Koa Misi, linebacker
  • Jared Odrick, defensive tackle
  • Mike Pouncey, center (PUP)
  • Randy Starks, defensive tackle
  • Ryan Tannehill, quarterback
  • Olivier Vernon, defensive end
  • Cameron Wake, defensive end
  • Mike Wallace, wide receiver
  • Jimmy Wilson, safety

The attempt with this list was to keep it as short as possible by using only the players who should be true locks to make the team.  There are some players on the next list who could be on this list, but there's always that one veteran who it surprises everyone when he is released.  If every player is a "lock," that would not happen, this would be a futile exercise, and there would never be a roster bubble/camp compeition.

As for the players above, every one of them should be easliy a member of the team this year.  Perhaps Koa Misi and Jimmy Wilson are rated just slightly high, but with all the work needed to get Misi comfortable in the middle linebacker position and the suspension of Reshad Jones pushing Wilson into the starting safety role, both of those should be safe assumptions.

Near Guarantees (20)

  • Armon Binns, wide receiver
  • Daryn Colledge, guard
  • Will Davis, cornerback
  • John Denney, long snapper
  • Dannell Ellerbe, linebacker
  • Cortland Finnegan, cornerback
  • Nate Garner, offensive lineman
  • Brandon Gibson, wide receiver
  • Arthur Lynch, tight end
  • Earl Mitchell, defensive tackle
  • Matt Moore, quarterback
  • Knowshon Moreno, running back
  • Derrick Shelby, defensive end
  • Dion Sims, tight end
  • Caleb Sturgis, kicker
  • Jamar Taylor, cornerback
  • Dallas Thomas, guard
  • Jordan Tripp, linebacker
  • Billy Turner, offensive lineman
  • Philip Wheeler, linebacker

Most of these players are starters, or key backups, for the Dolphins this year, and there is little likelihood they do not end up on the roster.  They are not locks, however, in the terms of Cameron Wake or Brent Grimes are locks.  Could Matt Moore, Knowshon Moreno, or Caleb Sturgis get cut?  It is possible, no matter how unlikely.

Assuming the locks and near guarantees all make the roster, the Dolphins would be at 40 players on the 53-man roster, giving them 13 positions left to fill.

Depth (16)

  • David Arkin, guard
  • Michael Egnew, tight end
  • Terrence Fede, defensive end
  • Jason Fox, offensive tackle
  • A.J. Francis, defensive end
  • Mike Gillislee, running back
  • Jelani Jenkins, linebacker
  • Don Jones, safety
  • Jordan Kovacs, safety
  • Rishard Matthews, wide receiver
  • Samson Satele, center
  • Shelley Smith, guard
  • Marcus Thigpen, running back
  • Daniel Thomas, running back
  • Michael Thomas, safety
  • Jason Trusnik, linebacker

Some of these guys are more than likely going to make the roster.  Samson Satele, for example, is looking like he will be the opening day starter at center, and Terrence Fede has been really impressive in training camp and the first preseason game.  Some of these guys, like Daniel Thomas and Michael Egnew, may be fighting for a roster spot. 

Between the locks, the near guarantees, and the depth players, the Dolphins are now sitting at 56-players for a 53-man roster.  That's actually alright in this situation, because the team really will be carrying 56 players at the start of the season, once roster space is allocated for the two suspended players and the PUP designation of Pouncey (assuming he stays on the PUP). 

That means, if this list is exactly accurate, and all 56 players make the roster, the Dolphins do not have any room for the bubble players below.

Bubble Players (14)

  • Isaako Aaitui, defensive tackle
  • Walt Aikens, cornerback
  • Brett Brackett, tight end
  • Sam Brenner, center
  • Orleans Darkwa, running back
  • Evan Finkenberg, offensive lineman
  • Jonathan Freeny, linebacker
  • Matt Hazel, wide receiver
  • Harold Hoskins, tight end
  • Anthony Johnson, defensive tackle
  • Kamal Johnson, defensive tackle
  • Tyler Larsen, center
  • Chris McCain, linebacker
  • Damien Williams, running back

This will be the interesting to watch.  Arguments can be made that players like Chris McCain deserve to be higher on this list, and maybe he should be.  This is also where the practice squad comes into play.  Could the Dolphins try to stash Damien Williams, Matt Hazel, Harold Hoskins, or McCain on the eight man practice squad?  Do any of these players over take someone in the depth section of our list, pushing them onto the bubble (Daniel Thomas?)?

There are 14 players in this section, with just no open spots.  Should make for some good debate.

Camp Bodies (20)

  • Steven Baker, offensive tackle
  • Jalil Brown, cornerback
  • Steven Clarke, defensive back
  • Kevin Cone, wide receiver
  • Kevin Fogg, defensive back
  • Tony Hills, offensive tackle
  • Danny Hrapmann, kicker
  • Seth Lobato, quarterback
  • Cameron Marshall, running back
  • Kyle Miller, tight end
  • Tevin Mims, defensive end
  • Brady Quinn, quarterback
  • D'Aundre Reed, defensive end
  • Micajah Reynolds, defensive tackle
  • Garrison Smith, defensive tackle
  • Ryan Spadola, wide receiver
  • Raymond Webber, wide receiver
  • Damian Williams, wide receiver
  • Andrew Wilson, linebacker
  • Demetrius Wright, safety

These 20 players are facing an up-hill climb to get into position to make the Dolphins 53-man roster.   It is not impossible for them to stick around this year, but it is going to be difficult.  The practice squad is not out of the picture for those eligible, but for either the roster or the practice squad, they need to start making an impression soon.

What do you think?  Who from the bubble or camp bodies list will make the roster, and who currently slotted on the roster will miss it?