The Miami Dolphins are back on the practice field today, the first workout of training camp. While final cuts are still a month away, it does not mean the coaches are not already trying to figure out how the final 53-man roster and the depth chart will work this year. Will we see major swings during training camp this year? Will today’s predicted depth chart actually be fairly correct when the regular season begins?
There will be changes all across the roster, especially when an undrafted free agent suddenly makes an impression or a veteran surprisingly struggles throughout the summer. Miami’s roster is extremely deep in some positions this summer, which could lead to the team keeping more players at a position than normal, or it could lead to a good player being cut. This morning we try to predict how the 53-man roster will be built when training camp and the preseason come to an end.
No change here from our way too early depth chart prediction. There are still people who will bet on Brock Osweiler to make the roster over Fales, but everything thus far seems to say this is Fales’ position to lose.
Running backs (4)
No real changes here either. Buddy Howell will be an undrafted rookie to watch, but the top three running backs seem locked into the roster, and Perry has special teams abilities the team will likely want to keep.
Wide receivers (6)
Again, no changes here. Ford will be the one to watch. There has not been a lot of talk about Ford, who is coming back from a meniscus injury last year, but the team liked him a lot last training camp, which could carry him over to this year. If he does not make the roster, the team could look to go with five receivers, or Leonte Carroo could claim that position. Rahsawn Scott, Drew Morgan, and Malcolm Lewis all likely have an outside shot at a sixth roster spot as well.
Tight ends (4)
No change to the personnel, though the order on the depth chart has changed. Gray and Derby appear to be ahead of the two rookies, Gesicki and Smythe, at this point. That could change during the summer, and this is supposed to predict any of those changes, but rookie tight ends do not usually break out and Gray and Derby seem to be doing well, so I will list it this way for now. Gavin Escobar and Thomas Duarte are both going to have to prove something this summer to crack into the top four.
Offensive linemen (9)
The starting five offensive linemen feel like they are locked into position, unless Larsen or Asiata can somehow unseat Davis at right guard. Zach Sterup and David Steinmetz have uphill battles to make the roster, but they both could provide depth at tackle for the Dolphins this year. Jake Brendel could also make the roster as a depth center option.
Defensive ends (5)
Still no major changes to the roster/depth chart through the defensive end position. Quinn and Branch swapped spots on the depth chart, but even that could be symbolic as the Dolphins will likely rotate the defensive ends a lot this season. Claudy Mathieu and Jonathan Woodard could be depth options who land on the practice squad.
Defensive tackle (5)
Here is where a change has been made. Previously, Phillips, Spence, Godchaux, and Taylor were the four defensive tackles, with William Hayes moving inside in passing situations. However, the Dolphins seem to always have an undrafted free agent or two make the roster, so we have one crack the list here. Pittman, coming out of UCF, seems to have a shot at making the roster, assuming he keeps up his play this summer.
I did not have him listed last time I predicted the depth chart, but I thought Mike McCray had a really strong chance to make it as another undrafted free agent to stay with the team in September. Instead, he has retired, so I will stick with six linebackers for now.
The numbers game got me here, and I had to lose Jordan Lucas. I think the Dolphins would like to keep six cornerbacks, but adding Pittman to the defensive tackle position forced my hand here. Howard, Tankersley, McCain, and Lippett could all be starters this year, and Armstrong provides depth. Torry McTyer may be the most difficult person to figure out on the roster - sometimes he seems like a surefire depth option and sometimes he seems like the forgotten player that is still here. Jalen Davis could also make a case for roster positioning, but likely is a practice squad option.
No changes here. I move Aikens to safety, despite the Dolphins having him listed at cornerback on the roster, because I think this is where he makes the most sense. He could also be the team’s special teams captain this year - if it does not go to John Denney.
Special Teams (3)
John Denney - Long Snapper
Matt Haack - Punter
Jason Sanders - Kicker
Denney should beat out undrafted free agent long snapper Lucas Gravelle. Haack does not have competition in camp at this point. The kicker spot seems to be 50/50 between Sanders and undrafted free agent Greg Joseph. I will stick with Sanders, but would not be surprised if it was Joseph.
Practice Squad (10)
Cayson Collins - Linebacker
Jalen Davis - Cornerback
Thomas Duarte - Tight end
Connor Hilland - Center
Buddy Howell - Running back
Claudy Mathieu - Defensive end
Torry McTyer - Cornerback
Drew Morgan - Wide receiver
Quincy Redmon - Defensive end
David Steinmetz - Offensive tackle
Changes here include replacing Mike Matthews with Connor Hilland at center, with no real reasoning other than it feels like a good change. I added Torry McTyer to the vacant spot I had last time I made the practice squad prediction. Thomas Duarte moves back to the practice squad, filling the space created by Pittman making the roster.