The Miami Dolphins will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tomorrow night in an NFL Preseason Week 2 contest. Once again, the results of this game do not mean anything once the regular season begins, but the performances on the field could go a long way to deciding who makes and who misses the 53-man roster.
The NFL allows teams to carry 90 players during the offseason, through training camp, and on to the preseason. After all of that is complete, however, the teams must all get down to the 53-man roster limit as the calendar moves to September and the regular season begins.
Today, we re-visit my look at the Dolphins’ roster, attempting to project the 53-man roster when September arrives. It has been ten days since I wrote that last article, and there have been several changes.
Here is my latest prediction of the 53-man roster, with comments on what has changed from the pre-Preseason Game 1 edition.
Changes: None. The quarterbacks remain the same, though it is starting to feel more and more like Rosen could win this competition. Friday’s game may decide it.
Changes: Walton is now in on my projection, with Myles Gaskin on the bubble and falling to the practice squad for now. There could be issues at the running back position, however, as Drake is now injured and there is still the possibility the NFL could suspend Walton for the three arrests he had prior to joining the Dolphins.
Changes: Ford makes the roster, which gives me seven receivers. Seven is too many, but I feel like there is too much talent - and injuries right now - to just allow someone to walk. I feel like Butler is the bubble player in this group if they are looking to go with fewer receivers. Wilson is still a question mark, even as he sees his practice work increase, as he continues to rehab. A trade of a wide receiver still makes sense if Miami can get something (cough, cough, offensive line, cough) back in return.
Changes: Dropped Kyle Fuller and Zach Sterup, added Jordan Mills. I am leaving the starting five the same as last update, but I am not sure it will be that way by opening day. The coaches have to find an answer to the years-long puzzle that is Miami’s offensive line. Mills and Jones-Smith have been working as the backup left tackles, which seems to say Miami is looking for some good swing-tackle options and they both can offer that. I have liked Jones-Smith as a roster option in that role since the spring, and it now seems like he could have it. Reed provides depth at center and guard. Prince feels like the bubble player, and perhaps he heads to the practice squad while Fuller is kept - which adds some depth in the interior compared to one interior player and three tackles for depth. The offensive line lost a roster spot when I added Ford at receiver.
Changes: Jonathan Woodard dropped after being waived and Ledbetter added. Ledbetter has gotten some playing time with the first team, so he seems like a fit for the roster right now.
Andrew Van Ginkel
Changes: None. I get to the linebackers and I simply shrug my shoulders right now. Injuries are decimating the position, with multiple players missing practice time and, honestly, I have no idea how the depth players will work out. Or maybe even the starters other than Baker. I would like to find a way to add a player like Nick Deluca or Quentin Poling, but I do not know where to find the spot at this point.
Changes: None. Jomal Wiltz, Chris Lammons, and Jalen Davis all deserve consideration for a roster position. Cordrea Tankersley continues on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Jason Sanders
Punter: Matt Haack
Long snapper: John Denney