The preseason is always full of great potential for every team, alongside the disappointment when a major injury occurs. The Miami Dolphins appear set to break out of their decade of mediocrity, with key additions such as Ndamukong Suh and Greg Jennings joining Cameron Wake and Ryan Tannehill. Everything is looking up for the South Florida franchise
At least it was until Wednesday. During a joint practice held with the Carolina Panthers, safety Louis Delmas hit the ground with a non-contact injury. After being carted off the field, speculation eventually turned into reality as Delmas was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee, the same injury which ended his 2014 season on December 7 last year. Delmas will likely miss the entire 2015 season with the injury.
Yesterday, we predicted the 2015 opening day roster for the Dolphins, projecting who would make the 53-man roster. Delmas' injury, obviously, changes things, so we take another look at the secondary position today, factoring in Delmas' injury.
The first move on the projection has nothing to do with the secondary, other than opening up a roster spot for the team. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, who was on the roster yesterday, now falls off so I can add an additional defensive back. The argument could be made to keep Johnson while cutting linebacker Spencer Paysinger as well.
The logic behind the move is, previously, the roster had just five cornerbacks, teamed with four safeties. The lower number of cornerbacks was an effort to use Michael Thomas, who will be a reserve safety, as the sixth cornerback. Delmas' injury no longer makes that a sensible move, with Thomas needing to focus on his role as a safety, The extra roster spot can be used to add an additional cornerback.
That said, the cornerbacks on the 53-man roster become Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor, Brice McCain, Zack Bowman, Will Davis, and Bobby McCain. In the previous version of the 53-man roster, Tony Lippett was the closest to making the roster, but he is also raw, making the transition from college wide receiver to NFL cornerback. He is probably a practice squad player this year, though keeping him over Bobby McCain is not out of the picture.
(Plus, keeping Bobby McCain means the Dolphins continue to have the only three players with the last name "McCain" in the NFL - Brice and Bobby at cornerback and Chris at linebacker.)
The safety position is a little more jumbled. Reshad Jones is obviously the starter, and Walt Aikens probably moves into the spot Delmas previously held. Michael Thomas takes the third position, and it is probably a toss up at this point between Jordan Kovacs, Don Jones, and Cedric Thompson for the last spot. At this point, it is probably Kovacs given his time in the system and his ability to play special teams, but you could also cut Paysinger, adding Jones (or Thompson) as a fifth safety, just to make sure you have the added depth in the secondary.
Basically, the Dolphins secondary, according to our projection, now looks like this:
Potential other changes could be the addition of Jones or Thompson at safety, which would likely mean Paysinger joins Johnson on the wrong side of the cut line. The Dolphins could also keep Lippett over Bobby McCain.
Today's injury to Delmas will clearly shake up the Dolphins' final 53-man roster. Exactly how is hard to guess, but we at least provide you with a scenario that makes sense (...to me at least).