The Phinsider’s annual 90-in-90 series is back today with another in-depth look at the players who are currently vying to make the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster. 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 team when the regular season arrives.
This year, we have already finished the reviews for 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, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end A.J. Derby, running back Frank Gore, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, wide receiver Kenny Stills, cornerback Tony Lippett, kicker Jason Sanders, kicker Greg Joseph, left tackle Laremy Tunsil, tight end Mike Gesicki, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, running back Kalen Ballage, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, tight end Durham Smythe, quarterback David Fales, wide receiver Albert Wilson, defensive tackle Akeem Spence, linebacker Chase Allen, defensive end Cameron Wake, running back Senorise Perry, and tight end MarQueis Gray, offensive lineman Ted Larsen, defensive end Andre Branch, running back Kenyan Drake, defensive end Quincy Redmon, quarterback Bryce Petty, wide receiver Francis Owusu, defensive end Jonathan Woodard, defensive end Charles Harris, center Connor Hilland, guard Jesse Davis, safety Reshad Jones, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, guard Isaac Asiata, defensive end Robert Quinn, wide receiver Drew Morgan, and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. Today, we add linebacker Mike Hull.
Last year, Hull played in all 16 games for the second season in a row. He started three of those 16 games at linebacker, as the team struggled to find consistency at that position with the unceremonious departure of Ray Maualuga and the injury to Raekwon McMillan. In addition to rotating in at linebacker, Hull was also one of Miami’s most productive special teams players. Between defense and special teams, he accumulated total 35 tackles.
Why he could progress
Hull has now had three full seasons in the NFL and has increased his playing time with each successive year. This will be Hull’s second year under defensive coordinator Matt Burke, meaning he now has as a full season in the team’s current defensive scheme and should only be able to play faster and more comfortably than ever before.
With the departure of former special teams captain Michael Thomas, Hull could be leaned on even more to take control of the team’s special teams unit. Given his past production in that phase of the game, he should fill that role nicely alongside special teams ace Walt Aikens.
Why he could regress
Hull has previously played most of his defensive snaps at middle linebacker, and with McMillan returning from injury, it seems that starting position is already filled. With Kiko Alonso keeping his starting position, there’s only one starting LB spot up for grabs. Hull will be competing with Stephone Anthony, Chase Allen, rookie Jerome Baker, and others for that spot.
Hull isn’t guaranteed a backup spot either. With 10 linebackers currently on the roster and likely on six total positions up for grabs when cuts roll around, Hull will have to continue to prove his special teams worth and make an impression on the defensive side of the ball to secure his place on the depth chart.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
As I noted above, the Dolphins currently have 10 linebackers on the roster (Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillan, Stephone Anthony, Jerome Baker, Chase Allen, Mike Hull, Quentin Poling, Terence Garvin, Frank Ginda, and Cayson Collins). Among those listed, four are virtually guaranteed roster spots (Alonso, McMillan, Anthony, and Baker) given their contracts, past production, or where they were drafted.
That leaves two spots open, and I think there will be a three-way battle between Allen, Hull, and Poling for those positions. I give Hull a 50-50 shot at sticking around.