The Phinsider’s annual 90-in-90 series is back today with another look at the Miami Dolphins roster and the players who are currently filling it out. This series of articles takes a look at each individual on the roster, breaking down how they performed in 2017, why they could progress or regress in 2018, and the odds that the player makes the roster when the regular season arrives.
Thus far through the offseason, we have completed 13 posts, taking a look at wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, defensive end Claudy Mathieu, linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Xavien Howard, long snapper Lucas Gravelle, and wide receiver Danny Amendola. Today, we take a look at tight end A.J. Derby.
Derby started the 2017 season with the Denver Broncos, appearing in nine games with one start, catching 19 passes for 224 yards with two touchdowns. In mid-November, however, a shoulder injury sidelined Derby, and ultimately led to an injury settlement and release from the team. The Dolphins claimed him off waivers, and he appeared in two games for Miami, catching two passes for 20 yards.
Why he will progress
Derby will turn 27 during the season, so there is still plenty of time to develop him. A 2015 sixth-round draft choice of the New England Patriots, Derby spent his rookie season on injured reserve, then played part of the 2016 season with the Patriots before being traded to the Broncos. Then in 2017, he played part of the year with the Broncos before moving to the Dolphins. Just having a full season in one place could be a reason for progress for Derby. He has shown flashes that he can be a receiving tight end, and he should be able to continue to develop that in Miami.
Why he will regress
The selection of two rookie tight ends could hurt the playing time - and the development - of Derby. Assuming Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe are near the top of the depth chart, the Dolphins also have MarQueis Gray who should be able to pick up playing time, meaning Derby could find himself fourth on the depth chart. The Dolphins coaches seem to like Derby, but he could regress simply because there is sudden depth at the position.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Derby should make the roster, but he could find himself on the wrong side of the cut line if Miami has to make a tough call on where to keep depth. He is probably a 75-80 percent option to make the roster.