The Miami Dolphins move another day closer to the start of training camp and the final countdown to roster cuts once the preseason ends. Starting with a 90-man roster limit when camp opens, the team will have to be down to the 53-man limit in September when the regular season begins. Some players are locks to make the roster and some are long shots. But, in the middle, there are a group of players who are on the cut-line bubble.
Who is in danger of being on the wrong side of the line, or who could be one of the last players to make the 53-man roster? We look at the cornerback position today to get an idea.
The Dolphins’ starting group of cornerbacks is pretty well defined, with Xavien Howard leading the way. Behind him, Cordrea Tankersley is likely the other outside option, with Bobby McCain sliding inside, though McCain could land the starting outside option as well. And, Tony Lippett, who missed all of last year due to an Achilles tear, should factor into the grouping as well.
Walt Aikens will make the roster as well, though he should be seen more of a special teams ace than a factor among the starting cornerbacks.
Miami has 11 players at cornerback (including one listed as a cornerback/safety), so there are few players that will have a difficult time making the roster. These players could be practice squad options if they are eligible, but, barring an extraordinary training camp and preseason, they are not likely to be on the roster. Johnathan Alston and Taveze Calhoun are probably the most obvious players here.
The Dolphins have several players who could be on the roster bubble at the cornerback position - with some making it to the 53-man roster and some missing. Undrafted free agent Jalen Davis has made some noise during the offseason training program, so he has probably moved up from the longshots to the bubble group, though it has to continue into camp for him to be considered firmly on the bubble or move towards the roster. Another rookie, Cornell Armstrong, has the benefit of being a draft pick compared to Davis’ undrafted status, but he will also need to prove himself in camp to claim a roster spot.
Torry McTyer appeared in seven games last year for Miami, after signing as an undrafted free agent, primarily working on special teams. He did fill in as a depth option at cornerback when needed, and he was solid when he was called upon in games. He may have an advantage of having already been in the defensive system for a year, giving him a head start on the two rookies.
Finally, Jordan Lucas is probably a bubble player as well. He feels like he is currently on the good side of the cut line, but he may need a good camp to stay there. He has the flexibility of being both a safety and a cornerback, and he has been a good special teams player as well for Miami, so he should have a roster spot right now, but it comes down to a numbers game and how many cornerbacks the Dolphins can keep.
Assuming the five locks remain locks, the Dolphins could look to keep one or two out of the bubble group. Lucas and McTyer may have the early lead, but Armstrong and Davis could push them.