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Offense: Roster Predictions Prior to Training Camp

With OTA workouts and Minicamp just around the corner for the Miami Dolphins, lets check out some of the key positional battles on offense, and predict who may have the edge early on.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the Floridian media will all turn their eyes back onto the Miami Dolphins for the first day of the OTA workouts.  With the Dolphins making major roster moves in the draft and free agency, many starting positions are there for the taking.

In Part I of this edition, we check out the key positional battles on offense, and predict who may best placed to make the roster from day one.


1. Ryan Tannehill

2. Matt Moore

3. Josh Freeman

With Ryan Tannehill's new multi-million dollar contract, he'll be the starter for many years to come.  However, after Tannehill is where it gets interesting.  The Dolphins signed Josh Freeman to a 'prove-it' one year deal. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their first round pick in 2009, he threw an impressive 27 touchdown passes during the 2012 season. The talent and the confidence is clearly there for Freeman to still make it in the NFL, in what is very much his last chance saloon.  Can he prove he still has the hunger to play the game?  Will Bill Lazor, credited with getting the most out of his quarterbacks, turn Freeman's career around?  If those two questions are a 'yes', Freeman has every chance to make the roster in 2015, and even become a cheaper option than Matt Moore as the number 2 quarterback in 2016.

Running Back

1. Lamar Miller

2. Jay Ajayi

3. Damien Williams

4. LaMichael James

Jay Ajayi may just turn out to be the steal of the entire draft when the Dolphins selected him in the 5th round.  Ajayi's stock dropped due to concerns emanating from his torn ACL injury in 2011. He was also arrested for stealing clothes in a Boise State store in the same year.  However, from 2012-2014 Ajayi had an extremely productive college career. If he can stay healthy, the Dolphins will have a nice 1-2 punch. Last year's starting running back, Lamar Miller is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be looking to make an impact. He ran for 1,099 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, but began to wear down as the season came to a close. Behind those two, Damien Williams and LaMichael James provide much promise and intrigue.  Mike Gillislee is the odd man out.

Wide Receiver

1. DeVante Parker

2. Kenny Stills

3. Jarvis Landry

4. Greg Jennings

5. Rishard Matthews

6. Matt Hazel

After an underwhelming 2014 season, Miami have made drastic changes to the wide receiver position.  Gone are Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, two players who just didn't fit in with what Miami want to do on offense.  In their place, DeVante Parker was drafted in the 1st round, Kenny Stills was traded for a 3rd round pick and Greg Jennings was signed during free agency.  There may still be some moves here, as Rishard Matthews fell out with the coaching staff last season.  What has impressed me about Matt Hazel is that he showed up to rookie training camp.  A 6th round pick from last year, he clearly wants to improve. The best part of this new wide receiver group?  Being in a west coast offense means you need your wide receivers to run crisp routes and get yards after the catch.  The Dolphins didn't have that last year, but will be hoping they do this time round.

Tight End

1. Jordan Cameron

2. Dion Sims

3. Arthur Lynch

4. Gerell Robinson

The Dolphins unfortunately lost Charles Clay in a bidding war against the Buffalo Bills.  However, injury concerns aside, Jordan Cameron may just be the better fit on this offense.  A much taller tight end blessed with speed to stretch the field vertically, Cameron may just turn out to be that safety net that Ryan Tannehill needs.  If he can steer clear of concussions, he'll be an important piece of this offense.  Behind him, Dion Sims provides a nice complementary piece as a blocking tight end.  However, Sims also has deceptive speed and can be a weapon in the passing game on those shorter throws.  Arthur Lynch missed the whole of last season with a back injury.  He's raw, but has the speed, height and blocking ability to be a three-down tight end in the future.  Gerell Robinson was signed to the practice squad in October of last year, before making the 53-man roster the following December.  He has a good chance to make this year's roster.

Offensive Guard

1. Jamil Douglas

2. Billy Turner

3. Dallas Thomas

4. Jeff Linkenbach

Miami clearly feels that they needed to strengthen the position, by adding competition during the draft and free agency.  Drafted in the 4th round of this year's draft, Jamil Douglas has excellent technique to start at left guard, but just needs to add more strength.  With an offseason of conditioning, he could be ready to start day one. Billy Turner was draft in the 3rd round last year. The Dolphins are really banking on him starting at right guard.  Dallas Thomas, drafted two years ago, really struggled at offensive tackle.  His true position is guard, and it'll be interesting to see how he progresses this offseason.  Jeff Linkenbach adds competition and depth while Jacques McClendon doesn't make the roster.

Offensive Tackle

1. Branden Albert

2. Ja'Wuan James

3. Jason Fox

The Dolphins only have three tackles that stand a decent chance of making the roster.  Branden Albert dominated at left tackle before he had his season ended by an ACL injury. Ja'Wuan James didn't receive much attention last season from the media, which means he performed solidly at right tackle, and then at left tackle.  The front office were smart to extend Jason Fox's contract.  Don't rule out the Dolphins adding more competition here.


1. Mike Pouncey

2. J.D. Walton

Mike Pouncey slides back to center, playing much of last season at guard. Interestingly, JD Walton started every game for the New York Giants last season.  Don't discount him from starting at guard.

Final Thoughts

The Miami Dolphins still have plenty of opportunities to improve this offense as players begin to get cut from rosters.  As it stands, Miami made big moves in improving the wide receiver position.  There are still question marks over the guard position, but the team will be hoping that the competition will produce two quality starters.  Tight end remains a strength and offensive tackle is set, providing Cameron and Albert steer clear of injuries.  There is plenty of talent here for Tannehill to take this team to the playoffs.  Lets just hope key players stay healthy.

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