In what will prove to be a way too early projection, I decided to take a guess at what the Miami Dolphins' 2015 opening day starting lineup will look like. Yes, it is only the first week of June and a ton of things will change between now and September, but, why not?
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill
Running Back: Lamar Miller
Tight end: Jordan Cameron
Wide receivers: Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker
Left tackle: Branden Albert
Left guard: Dallas Thomas
Center: Mike Pouncey
Right guard: Billy Turner
Right tackle: Ja'Wuan James
Remarks: There are a couple of injury concerns in this lineup, mainly with Albert's knee and Parker's foot. If they are not ready to play, Albert is likely replaced by Jason Fox - though the team seems fairly certain Albert will play opening night. If Parker's foot surgery forces him to miss time, Kenny Stills would get the starting position, something that may happen anyway if rookie Parker is not quite up to NFL speed when the season opens. The guards will obviously be the positions to watch in training camp this year, as the Dolphins look to solidify the offensive line. Miller could be pushed by Jay Ajayi at running back, but it should remain Miller's position with Ajayi seeing plenty of touches throughout the season.
Defensive ends: Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon
Defensive tackle: Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips
Weak-side linebacker: Jelani Jenkins
Middle linebacker: Koa Misi
Strong-side linebacker: Chris McCain
Cornerbacks: Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor
Free safety: Louis Delmas
Strong safety: Reshad Jones
Remarks: Starting up front, Wake, Vernon, and Suh are locked into their positions, with a likely battle between Phillips and Earl Mitchell for the other starting defensive tackle spot(with A.J. Francis, Anthony Johnson, and Kamal Johnson all trying to find playing time as well). The linebackers look like this is the right order for them, with Jordan Tripp or Kelvin Sheppard the most likely to push any of the starting three. Grimes will start at one cornerback spot, with Taylor trying to prove that he is ready to play at the NFL level as he enters his third year. Will Davis is the most likely player to push Taylor, while some of the rookies, specifically Tony Lippett, could find themselves in the mix fairly quickly if they can continue to perform like they have in OTAs. Brice McCain makes the most sense to fill the nickel role. The safeties are set, assuming Delmas is fully recovered from his knee injury, with several players including Don Jones, Jordan Kovacs, Michael Thomas, Walt Aikens, and Cedric Thompson all vying for special teams roles and to back up the starters.
Kicker: Caleb Sturgis
Punter: Brandon Fields
Long snapper: John Denney
Remarks: There are a lot of people already declaring Sturgis a roster cut this offseason, but, I do not see it yet. Yes, he has struggled with accuracy, something you do not want to see out of any kicker, and especially out of a fifth-round draft pick kicker. I just do not think Andrew Franks' 66-percent rate in college makes him the guy to unseat Sturgis. If you were to tell me the Dolphins signed a veteran kicker to challenge Sturgis, I might feel a little differently, but Franks is a big legged kicker with accuracy issues, which pretty much sounds exactly like Sturgis, but the Dolphins' incumbent is at least a little more accurate than Franks at this point. Fields and Denney are easy to add to the starters list.
What do you think? Where am I wrong?