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Miami Dolphins training camp stories: 53-man roster projection (defense)

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins welcome their veterans into training camp tomorrow, uniting them with the rookies who reported earlier this week. In our final look at the team heading into camp, we are attempting to project the 53-man roster. Yesterday, I used 26 slots on offense, leaving me with 27 to be filled. Three of those will go to the special teams players, which means I have just 24 slots to fill with the defensive players.

The Dolphins will hit the practice field for the first time on Thursday - and you can find all the information about how to attend one of the public practices here. The Dolphins will also hold two joint practice this year, heading over to the western side of the state to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two workouts ahead of their preseason contest.

Defensive ends

Charles Harris
Tank Carradine
Jonathan Woodard
Jonathan Ledbetter

Defensive tackles

Christian Wilkins
Akeem Spence
Vincent Taylor
Davon Godchaux


Jerome Baker
Raekwon McMillan
Kiko Alonso
Chase Allen
Andrew Van Ginkel
Nate Orchard
Mike Hull
Jayrone Elliott


Xavien Howard
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Torry McTyer
Eric Rowe
Cordrea Tankersley


Reshad Jones
T.J. McDonald
Bobby McCain
Walt Aikens

I came out with 27 defensive players, which meant I had three tough cuts to make. I am carrying a ton of linebackers right now, in part because I think the Dolphins will have extra pass rushers like Elliott to add into the 3-4 scheme’s rotation. Maurice Smith was pulled out of the safeties, though I really think he could make it. I really like Jamiyus Pittman, but I just do not have room for him at this point - I would definitely be trying to add him to the practice squad to give me depth on the defensive line.

That brings me to the cornerbacks. I have six right now, and I would love to carry six, but the numbers do not let me, especially since I have McCain listed as a safety - knowing he will be playing cornerback as well. I do not want to cut anyone here, and I think there is a chance Tankersley starts the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which frees me from this issue, but someone has to be cut.

My guess it is comes down to Rowe or Tyler Patmon, with one of the new additions being the odd-man out. I cut Patmon, just because he is new - but that could also be why he makes the team. I do not know where to go with this final cut, but that is where I am looking.

Special Teams

Kicker: Jason Sanders
Punter: Matt Haack
Long snapper: John Denney

Haack and Denney both have competition this summer, but I would expect them to win any “battle.”