The Miami Dolphins roster is about to get a major facelift. With the NFL’s legal tampering period set to open in just five days, free agency commencing just two days later, and the Dolphins hoarding gobs of cap space, there is bound to be an influx of new talent hitting the roster. And let’s not forget (like Twitter would let us do that), the NFL Draft is right around the corner as well. The makeup of the 2019 roster will be a distant memory by the time training camp rolls around this summer.
With so much change on the horizon, let’s take one last full look at the current state of Miami’s roster, my estimation of the team’s needs, and my projection of where players stand on my make-believe depth chart before it’s blown into pieces.
Note: Players who are entering free agency will be denoted with a UFA, RFA, or ERFA designation (via Spotrac.com). Player positions are taken directly from the team’s website.
Analysis: The Dolphins are going to add a quarterback (or two) this offseason. The most likely scenario is that the team selects one of the top passers available in this year’s draft. Who makes for the best choice is very much up for debate (just ask Dolphins Twitter).
Analysis: After losing Kenyan Drake to a trade and Mark Walton to off-the-field troubles, the Dolphins running back room was a mess last season. Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin showed flashes, but support is much needed.
Analysis: Cox proved to be a valuable piece in the blocking game and will likely stick around for another go.
Isaiah Ford (ERFA)
Trevor Davis (UFA)
Analysis: Wilson’s status with the team is still uncertain, but he proved over the second half of last season that he can still be a dangerous weapon all over the field. Parker finally bloomed into the star fans were waiting for, and Preston Williams should only build on the first half of his dynamic rookie campaign if he can fully recover from his ACL injury. Miami has enough pieces here to make most teams jealous, though adding depth isn’t out of the question.
Clive Walford (UFA)
Analysis: Much like Parker, Gesicki finally put some impressive games together last season after an underwhelming start to his career. He’ll likely be heavily relied upon in the passing game going forward. Smythe is a quality blocker and will see some snaps this season if the team doesn’t bring in any additional competition.
J’Marcus Webb (UFA)
Analysis: The Dolphins need help at tackle... badly.
Analysis: Deiter’s gameplay was up and down over the course of his rookie season (which should be expected from a third-round pick). If he and fellow sophomore Shaq Calhoun can use their inaugural seasons as building blocks to develop, the Dolphins would be lucky, but that doesn’t mean the team should ignore potential improvements through free agency or the draft. Davis is a fine chess piece that can be used in at least three spots along the offensive line, and general manager Chris Grier was smart to hand him a contract extension. Much like at tackle, the Dolphins could use some help along the interior.
Evan Boehm (UFA)
Analysis: Kilgore is a replacement level veteran. Grier should explore other options.
John Jenkins (UFA)
Durval Queiroz Neto
Kendrick Norton (ERFA, reserve/retired list)
Analysis: Godchaux and Wilkins make for a solid duo, and both will hopefully be staples along Miami’s front for years to come. That said, depth is badly required along the entire defensive front, and defensive tackle is no exception.
Analysis: The Dolphins were woefully inept at pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season. Harris has proven to be a bust. Charlton flashed occasionally, but there’s a reason he was often inactive on game days during the stretch run of the season.
Aqib Talib (UFA)
Analysis: Howard could be suspended going into the season due to some off-the-field issues, but any criminal charges against him have been dropped. His potential league-issued punishment is still pending. Rowe primarily played safety last season, and it’s likely that remains the case with Reshad Jones no longer with the team. However, Rowe is listed as a cornerback on miamidolphins.com, and so he is listed as such here as well. Needham and Wiltz are fine developmental pieces, and their potential is high as evidenced by their play last season, but their flow is low as well. Grier needs to shore up his defensive backfield, and finding a reliable starting corner opposite Howard would be a good start.
Walt Aikens (UFA)
Adrian Colbert (ERFA)
Analysis: McCain and Rowe made for a workable tandem at safety last season, but there have been rumblings about the coaching staff considering moving McCain back to nickel corner, a position in which he thrived earlier in his Dolphins tenure. If that’s the case, the team will need to not only add depth to the safety position, but a starter as well.
Vince Biegel (RFA)
Andrew Van Ginkel
Trent Harris (ERFA)
Chase Allen (RFA)
Deon Lacey (RFA)
Jamal Davis II
Analysis: Baker and McMillan were by no means perfect last season, but each displayed the ability to not only provide leadership on defense, but excel in play at times as well. The Dolphins should explore adding some pass-rushing ability to the linebacker corps, though retaining Biegel and ensuring the health of Van Ginkel would be a good start.
Analysis: Sanders struggled from distance last season. He made just 55.6% of kicks in the 40-49 yard range and 60.0% of kicks in the 50+ range. However, his career field goal percentage of 82.0% is respectable and he’ll likely get another season to show that he can be a reliable option in the kicking game. His legendary reception in The Mountaineer Shot won’t hurt his standing with the team either.
Matt Haack (RFA)
Analysis: The Dolphins have yet to give Haack a qualifying offer, but the expectation is that the team will do so. Aside from his touchdown pass to Sanders, Haack has been short of stellar on Miami’s special teams unit, but his lefty punting has been strong enough to earn him another shot at the starting gig.
Analysis: He’s no John Denney, but maybe Pepper will be the next Dolphins iron man to snap is way into Miami lore.