The Miami Dolphins are a week into the full padded portion of their 2020 training camp. Some players are already making an impression, positioning themselves to make the team’s regular season roster ahead of the team’s first game in just 19 days. Who will be available for the Dolphins as they travel to visit the New England Patriots? Today, it is time to make our first training camp predictions.
This year is a little different, because the practice squad size has jumped form 10 to 12 to 16, and six of those players can be veterans with no limit on the experience time they can have. This could be a way for a team to keep a bubble veteran around the club in case of injury or coronavirus impacts. Teams can also protect four players from being poached every week, starting on Tuesday.
This year will also have unlimited returns from the injured reserve list. The only stipulation is the player, once placed on injured reserve, will have to miss three weeks before being activated. This could mean more players land on IR during the year, as injuries expected to last three to four weeks could now have the player moved to IR, allowing a roster replacement to be added until the injury is fully healed.
Dolphins’ 53-man roster prediction
After Training Camp Week 1
August 25, 2020
Do you see any way the Dolphins are not keeping all three quarterbacks on the roster this year? I think it is a guarantee they will have all of them, with Fitzpatrick likely starting the season, while Tagovailoa and Rosen continue to develop. It positions Miami to see what they have in Rosen, before moving into 2021 with a position group likely consisting of Tagovailoa and Rosen.
Running backs (4)
Bubble watch: Kalen Ballage
Breida and Howard are locks and could serve as co-starters throughout the season. Gaskin has been quiet this summer, but he could make the roster as a depth option. Laird was injured on Monday in practice, so there is a concern there, depending on the severity. Ballage could be the number three running back, or he could be off the roster. The coaches have said they still see potential in him, despite his miserable 2019 campaign, but he has to prove himself quickly this summer to warrant staying on the roster.
You could argue that Cox is on the roster bubble, but the Dolphins seem to like the idea of a fullback sticking on the roster, so we will carry him here for now.
Tight ends (3)
Bubble watch: Chris Myarick333
Gesicki is the obvious starter. Behind him, Smythe proved he had a role on the team last year, so we will keep him on the roster for now. Miami traded for Shaheen, who fell out of favor in Chicago, where he was one of the somewhere around 300 tight ends on the team’s roster. Shaheen is a in-line tight end, unlike Gesicki, but he is kind of in the same mold as Smythe right now. The team kept Myarick on the practice squad last year, so he has a chance to make the roster, or return to the practice squad, based on what the coaches saw last year.
Wide receivers (5)
Bubble watch: Chester Rogers, Mack Hollins, Gary Jennings
Parker, Williams, Grant, and probably Ford are locks for the roster. Perry is listed as a running back on the team’s roster, but I moved him to wide receiver as the team looks to see his viability as a slot receiver. The loss of Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson to the COVID-19 opt-out hurt Miami’s receiver corps, as both of them likely made the roster. Rogers could claim a roster spot, but he has not seemed to stand out. Hollins and Jennings could also make a case for a sixth wide receiver spot. The team could look to move Ricardo Louis, a player who they have already released this year and then re-signed after the loss of Hurns and Wilson, to the practice squad. Matt Cole could also be a practice squad candidate.
Offensive linemen (10)
We just going to assume Miami will roll deep on the line of scrimmage this year, especially at the start of the year where, the lack of preseason games and a truncated offseason trainup could make it hard for offensive linemen to be in the game for every snap early in the year.
Defensive ends (3)
Bubble watch: Tyshun Render
The injury to Curtis Weaver on Monday makes his a really thin portion of the roster. Lawson, Ogbah, and Strowbridge are locks. Render could make the roster just because the team needs depth.
Defensive tackles (4)
Bubble watch: Brandin Bryant, Benito Jones
Wilkins, Godchaux, and Davis should be locks. Sieler makes the roster to add depth, though he definitely should still be considered in a battle. Bryant and Jones are on the bubble watch, but there is no reason they cannot fight their way onto the roster. Durval Queiroz Neto is likely headed to the practice squad again, and the team will continue to look at him as either a defensive tackle or a guard.
Kyle Van Noy
Andrew Van Ginkel
Bubble watch: Calvin Munson
The Dolphins should carry several linebackers this year, with players working both as 4-3 linebackers and 3-4 edge rushers/linebackers. Baker and Van Noy (assuming Monday was not a serious injury) should be the top two on the depth chart. I still believe McMillan will play a big role on the defense, even as the defense focuses on stopping the pass and being a hybrid across the board. Roberts, Van Ginkel, Eguavoen, and Grugier-Hill fill the hybrid rusher/linebacker positions. Munson is on the bubble as a potential depth addition. The really leaves James Crawford and Kylan Johnson off the roster, with both of them possible practice squad additions.
Bubble watch: Ken Webster, Tae Hayes, Deatrick Nichols, Breon Borders
The Dolphins have to figure out the cornerback position, especially if Howard’s Physically Unable to Perform stay continues toward the regular season. Jones is obviously a starter opposite Howard, while Igbinoghene has looked like the Dolphins rookie most ready to make an impact in Week 1. The team seems to really like Perry, so he should be easily on the roster. Needham has struggled early in camp, but, with his experience last year, he should be a depth option this year. Webster could round out the depth, if Miami can find the roster space. Hayes, Nichols, and Borders can all still fight their way onto the roster. Picasson Nelson, Jr., could be a practice squad consideration.
Bubble watch: Nate Holley, Jeremiah Dinson
The coaches like Rowe and McCain at safety, but they could carry extra safeties to allow the freedom of moving one of them (McCain) back to cornerback (nickel) if (when) needed.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Jason Sanders
Punter: Matt Haack
Long Snapper: Blake Ferguson
Special Teams: 3