The last week of preseason is the final in-game audition for those on the roster bubble to make their case for a spot on the team’s final 53-man roster heading into the regular season.
With most starters expected not to play, or play very sparingly if they do, we’ll be focusing on some players on the roster bubble this week as the Dolphins travel north to Minnesota to play the Vikings.
Do you remember Stringfellow’s week one preseason performance against the Falcons that included a 99-yard touchdown? Hopefully it stuck in your memory, otherwise you might have forgot who Stringfellow is.
Since then, Stringfellow totaled two catches for 14 yards against Baltimore before failing to record a single target last week against Philadelphia.
In a race with a handful of borderline roster guys behind the likes of DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant, Stringfellow is going to have to make quite the statement against Minnesota if he has any chance of landing on the team’s final roster. Otherwise, there may be a spot for him on the practice squad if not claimed by another team.
An intriguing option at tight end, especially when you consider the fact that none of the team’s current options at the position have been stand-out performers this offseason, Gray is likely battling with Thomas Duarte and Chris Pantale to be the Dolphins third tight end behind Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano.
While both Gray and Duarte reeled in three of our four targets, respectively, week one, Gray has seen four more passes come his way the last two weeks while Duarte has been targeted just once.
This stat doesn’t paint the entire picture of the battle, especially when you factor in the fact Duarte was an actual draft pick of the Dolphins just a year ago, but teams do tend to give targets and opportunities to those they want to feature in preseason to see what they have in regards to potentially being a future contributor. Unfortunately for Duarte, this just hasn’t been the case during his time with the Dolphins.
Initially considered a steal of the fifth round in the 2017 NFL Draft, Asiata has been fairly underwhelming so far in training camp and preseason in relation to what fans and the team’s front office were hoping for considering the current state of the offensive line.
Asiata is still likely to make the team – due in large part to being a first-year player the team used a draft pick on and the lack of quality options at guard – but it looks like his role will not come as a starter in 2017.
There’s a fairly significant difference between the starting defensive lines in the NFL compared to those in the PAC-12 Conference that Asiata was used to seeing, so a learning curve is to be expected, but hopefully we see Asiata looking a bit more comfortable on the offensive line against the Vikings before he may be thrown into the fire at some point during the regular season.
Linebacker is definitely a position the Dolphins may look to address when more than 1,000 players are released following the final preseason game.
That puts Lacey in a position to not only have to compete against his fellow teammates at linebacker, but also a handful of options the team may consider adding prior to week one against Tampa Bay.
Lacey has been efficient on special teams, in coverage and as a tackler, so it’s likely that he’ll stick come decision day, but he may be asked to contribute significantly at some point during the season with the injuries previously sustained and lack of depth at the position.
An undrafted free agent signee out of UNLV, McTyer is another player who has impressed on special teams and made splash plays on defense in both practice and games this offseason, which may result in a being a member of the Miami Dolphins in 2017.
The season-ending injury to Tony Lippett not only opened up the competition for starter opposite Byron Maxwell, it also means that one player in the secondary who wasn’t expected to make the final 53-man roster will now have that opportunity.
A strong performance in the finale against the Vikings will give McTyer a good case for consideration to make the final roster or possibly find a spot on the team’s practice squad if not signed by another team thirsty for defensive back.