Depending on how you look at things, the cup may be half full or half empty. On one hand, the preseason is now more than half way through it’s completion. On the other hand, there is still just under three weeks until the start of the regular season for the Miami Dolphins.
While the wait may be hard to take, it is important to remember that these next few weeks will serve as solid game film for those of us craving football. Importantly, these last two preseason games will provide players across the NFL two final chances to impress the coaching staff before the final cut’s arrive.
For rookies on the Miami Dolphins, these two games can be the difference between a roster spot and a spot on the practice squad of some team. More so, these rookies may not even be playing for spots with their current team as impressive performances could eventually lead to opportunities across the NFL this year.
With the next couple of weeks extremely important in this area of the game, I felt we should take a look at some of the rookies on the Miami Dolphins roster that may be teetering on the edge of success and failure with the ultimate goal of making the Miami Dolphins Week 1 roster.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the Miami Dolphins rookies to watch over these final two preseason games.
Chase Allen — Linebacker
Following the season-ending ACL tear suffered by Raekwon McMillan in the Miami Dolphins first preseason game, the entire middle linebacker depth chart was elevated. With Mike Hull assuming the role of projected starter, former Southern Illinois Chase Allen was also elevated to backup status with a chance to shine in the coming weeks.
However, following the signing of veteran linebacker Rey Maualuga, Allen’s potential roster spot is now up in the air. While the depth of the Dolphins linebacking corps remains thin, Allen is still just an undrafted free agent and now needs to prove himself worthy of such a position with the Dolphins.
Leading the Dolphins in preseason tackles so far, Allen needs to keep up his performance levels over the next two weeks and continue to make plays if he wants to be the Dolphins come Week 1.
Drew Morgan — Wide Receiver
Receiving so much praise during the Miami Dolphins OTA’s, Drew Morgan has yet to turn really make a name for himself on the field. Coming to the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent, Morgan is a part of the Dolphins most loaded positional group at wide receiver.
Playing more as a slot option thus far during the preseason, Morgan has only managed to record a single reception for five-yards. However, Morgan has been playing a solid game during his time on the field and is getting in the right places as it pertains to his route running.
That said, stats matter. Trailing behind fellow undrafted wideout’s Damore’ea Stringfellow, Francis Owusu, and Malcolm Lewis in terms of receptions, Morgan needs to start racking up the catches over the next two weeks.
Damore’ea Stringfellow — Wide Receiver
As is with Morgan’s case, Stringfellow is competing for a roster spot at the Dolphins most talented position. However, unlike Morgan, Stringfellow currently leads the team this preseason in receiving yards and is tied for first in receptions. While his yardage was boosted by his 99-yard touchdown against the Falcons, Stringfellow has turned in a good performance thus far this preseason.
Again though, Stringfellow has the numbers currently going against him. Assuming Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Leonte Carroo, and Jakeem Grant all maintain their roster spots, Stringfellow should be seen as competing for the Dolphins final receiver spot.
With pressure likely to come from Drew Morgan and other receivers on the bubble, Stringfellow needs to continue his good performances over the next two weeks in order to successfully clinch his spot on the Dolphins Week 1 roster.
De’Veon Smith — Running Back
The Michigan man that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted, undrafted free agent De’Veon Smith even got words of encouragement from Ross earlier in the preseason.
However, since then, Smith has yet to really feature for the team. Over the Dolphins two preseason games, Smith has only recorded eight rushes for 16-yards. For a player that I thought could soon be a solid one-for-one backup for Jay Ajayi, Smith has yet to impress anybody.
Still though, his days at Michigan may help him if Ross has any input on the roster. That can only get him so far though, making these next two weeks extremely important to his future with the Miami Dolphins.
Eric Smith — Offensive Tackle
Depending on how many offensive lineman the Miami Dolphins bring into Week 1, Eric Smith will either find himself as the backup at one of the two tackle positions or as a player looking to impress coaches on the practice squad.
With the Dolphins offensive line being incredibly thin, Smith needs to show over the next two weeks that he has the talent and ability to take up a roster spot as an offensive line backup. Again though, with Smith looking like the fourth best tackle on the roster, the biggest question here will be if Miami retains three or four tackles for Week 1.
While Smith could still end up on the practice squad, he is someone another team could quickly snap up to provide themselves with depth along the offensive line, making the Dolphins decision even more important.