The Phinsider roster breakdown returns after the long weekend with the final step in building our projected 53-man roster for the Miami Dolphins. Through the first 11 articles, we have added 51 players to the Dolphins' roster, giving us two slots still remaining. As we conducted this look at Miami's roster, we added players from various positions to the "bubble watch" list, giving us a mix of veterans and young players who probably have a shot at making the roster, but could be in jeopardy of a roster spot depending on how the numbers fall as the roster is completed.
Our goal is to project what the Dolphins' 53-man roster may look like when the season starts in September. This projection is as of the end of May, so there will be obvious changes over the course of the next few months. Someone will break out during training camp, someone will struggle, someone will get injured, someone will be signed from free agency, someone will make the roster because the coaches want added depth at a position, and someone no one is thinking about right now will make the roster because the coaches see something during practice and film work that no one else sees. This projection may not be perfect, but it might be pretty close.
In part 12 of the series, we now go back and pick up those bubble watch players and add two of them to the roster.
Cleyon Laing - defensive end
Laing comes to the Dolphins after a successful stint in the Candian Football League. Laing recorded 15 sacks in 35 games over three years with the Toronto Argonauts. He had multiple teams chasing him this offseason, but was enticed by the chance to work with and learn from Dolphins' Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, who also spent time in the CFL prior to finding a role with Miami. His biggest problem heading into training camp is simply the number of players ahead of him on the depth chart - and this also goes back to the myth that Miami does not have depth at defensive end - including Wake, Mario Williams, Andre Branch, Jason Jones, Terrence Fede, and Chris McCain. Right now, the roster projection has all six of those guys on the roster, so the numbers are not in Laing's favor. He might be able to knock rookie Farrington Huguenin off the practice squad if Miami thinks they can stash the CFL convert there.
Isaiah Pead - running back
Pead's best chance at making the roster is to beat out Daniel Thomas for the fourth position on the depth chart. Miami is not likely to keep five running backs on the roster, so there is not a lot of room for error at this point. Thomas worked with Gase during the offseason and training camp, so the familiarity - and Thomas' pass blocking and blitz pickup abilities - give him a little edge at this point.
Deandre Coleman - defensive tackle
Coleman has a chance to make the roster as a fifth defensive tackle, if Miami feels they need to keep the extra depth. The top three will obviously be Ndamukong Suh followed by Earl Mitchell and Jordan Phillips. Coleman could challenge former New England Patriots' defensive tackle Chris Jones for the fourth spot on the depth chart.
Matt Hazel / Griff Whalen - wide receiver
I will combine these two into one write-up, because it is a battle between these two to put themselves in position to be selected as a sixth wide out on the roster. Will Miami keep that many? Hazel looked to be the fourth wide out on the roster when Rishard Matthews left in free agency, but then the drafting of Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant seems to have pushed Hazel even further down the depth chart. Whalen comes to Miami with special teams experience and could outplay Hazel in that role, earning a spot on the roster.
Spencer Paysinger - linebacker
If Paysinger does not make the roster this year, he is likely the 54th player. He is a good special teams player and provides quality depth at linebacker. He very easily could make the roster, especially if Miami considers Dion Jordan as a defensive end instead of a linebacker, as he is listed here.
Jake Stoneburner - tight end
Stoneburner stepped into a larger role than was expected last year, where he started the season on the depth chart, when Dion Sims was injured. He does not have great receiving stats, but none of Miami's tight ends were really dominant in the passing game in 2015, instead being relegated to more of a sixth offensive lineman type of role. He has the talent to make the roster, and he could force Miami to either keep four tight ends or make a decision on trying to stash seventh-round pick Thomas Duarte on the practice squad.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - cornerback
No one really knows what Ekpre-Olomu brings to the team in 2016 because he has yet to get on the field at the NFL level. He tore his ACL in practice for Oregon leading into their 2014-2015 Rose Bowl appearance. Consider a first-round cornerback prospect, the injury led to Ekpre-Olomu being selected in the seventh round by the Cleveland Browns, then he was forced to miss his entire rookie campaign as he recovered from the injury. When the Browns waived him this offseason, Miami claimed him, giving them a low-risk, high-reward potential player. If he is healthy, and right now it appears he is as he gets back into football shape during Organized Team Activities, the Dolphins may not have choice but to keep him.
Shamiel Gary - safety
Gary is another player who could make the roster, but may just have the numbers playing against him. He provides solid special teams play and is depth at safety, but Miami just may not have the space for a fifth safety. He appeared in six games for the Dolphins last year, with one start, and recorded 10 tackles. He may need to step up and make some plays in training camp to force the coaches to take a closer look at him.
Roster Additions (2)
There are two roster spots remaining, and nine players in our bubble pool. Any of these nine could make a case for landing on the roster. At the end of the day, it becomes a question of where Miami wants to make sure they have the depth. In that sense, and because these two players should play themselves into a position that makes them invaluable to the team in the preseason, we will add Jake Stoneburner and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to the roster. Stoneburner gives Miami a more established player at tight end after Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims; Duarte has potential, but has to learn how to be a tight end rather than simply a route runner. Ekpre-Olomu has the potential to be a star cornerback, if he is able to get back into football shape. Miami cannot allow that to walk out the door.
53-man roster prediction (53/53)
Jake Stoneburner (Bubble addition)
Jason Jones (Updated after article)
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Bubble addition)
Long Snapper (1)
Practice squad (10/10)
Brandon Doughty (rookie) - quarterback
Farrington Huguenin (rookie)- defensive end
Charles Tuaau - defensive tackle
Tyler Murphy - wide receiver
Rashawn Scott (rookie) - wide receiver
Mike Hull - linebacker
James Burgess (rookie) - linebacker
Gabe Hughes (rookie) - tight end
Ruben Carter (rookie) - guard/center
Ryan DiSalvo (rookie) - long snapper