The Miami Dolphins are concluding their fifth day of practices today, the third day of padded workouts, and the first day back after an off day. As the team starts, what in essence is their second week of training camp, we take a look at some of the players who have seen their stock rise or fall early in camp this year.
Stock Up: Michael Preston, wide receiver – Two weeks ago, Preston was a name at the bottom of the depth chart. Now, he is a player trying hard to prove the Dolphins will have to keep at least six wide receivers on the roster. Assuming Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker are all locks for the roster, and Rishard Matthews could probably be thrown into that group as well, Preston has a lot of players in front of him on the depth chart. His play over the first week of camp, however, could make it more of a question of how to get him on the field, rather than whether or not the team should cut him. Every year, some player breaks out in training camp, and that could be Preston this year. (Every year, some player breaks out early in training camp, then falls off as the preseason games begin, but we will not mention that.)
Stock Down: Dallas Thomas, guard – I do not like giving out stock down ratings this early in training camp, because some of the issues might be rust still being shaken off, it could be a player getting used to a new position or new scheme, or it could just be a player being overmatched by a Pro Bowl defensive tackle. I did, however, commit to doing a Stock Watch post this morning, so I guess I have to do the stock down ratings. Thomas gets the stock down, not so much because he is struggling, but because he appears to be in danger of falling behind rookie Jamil Douglas in the starting left guard race. The guard have all struggled early this training camp – Ndamukong Suh being a part of why – so Thomas being included in the struggling group is not surprising. He can still pull it together and claim a starting spot on the offensive line, but Douglas is not going away.
Stock Up: Jay Ajayi, running back – The Dolphins rookie running back has been show casing himself well early in camp. The Dolphins are reticent to give Lamar Miller the 20-25 carries per game a "feature" running back would get on most teams, so Ajayi has an opportunity to make a difference when the season starts. If he continues to protect the football and run hard when the real hitting begins, Miami may have come away with a steal late in the Draft.
Stock Down: Jamar Taylor, cornerback – Taylor lands on this list, not because he has been bad, but because he has been inconsistent to start camp. He will make a good play, then get beat. He will disappear for a stretch of time, then suddenly explode with a couple of pass defenses. The starting job opposite Brent Grimes appears to be Taylor’s if he wants it (though the coaches have been taking a look at Taylor inside as the nickel cornerback the last few workouts as well), but it does not yet appear he knows if he wants it.
Stock Up: Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle – This is not really a fair entry here, and I am not sure Suh’s stock can go any higher among Dolphins fans, but once the pads came on, Suh became a monster. He is constantly disrupting the offensive line and getting into quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s face. As stated above, Suh is a big part of why the interior offensive line looks shaky early this training camp.
Stock Down: Josh Freeman, quarterback – Freeman gets a stock down rating because he cannot seem to get on the field. The Dolphins are giving McLeod Bethel-Thompson every chance to prove he is worthy of a roster or practice squad position, which means Freeman, as the fourth quarterback, gets a couple of repetitions a practice. Bethel-Thompson has struggled the last couple of practices, which could lead the coaches to giving Freeman more playing time, but until that happens, the comeback attempt for a former first-round draft pick does not seem to be getting off the ground.