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Miami Dolphins 2021 roster: Finding the bubble in June

Los Angeles Chargers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are in the middle of their organized team activities as the offseason training program continues. They have 91 players on the roster, thanks to a roster exemption for guard Durval Queiroz Neto. While the end of the summer and the need to cut the roster down to the 53-man in-season limit is still a long way in the future, today, we try to break down the roster into locks and find who could be on the roster bubble.

The bubble in this case is not the typical last five players who are fighting for a roster spot. In this case, it is each position group and the players within that group who could make the roster. I came up with 37 players I believe are locks to make the roster, then 23 players who I think are likely players to be cut. That left 31 players in the list of “bubble” players. Obviously, many of those bubble players are going to land on the roster, filling 16 open positions.

But, using the wide receivers as an example, I have four locks for the position (DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Will Fuller, and Preson Williams), with six players on the bubble to fill out the position group. Will Miami keep six receivers? Seven? Who would you select from Lynn Bowden, Jakeem Grant, Mack Hollins, Allen Hurns, Kirk Merritt, and Albert Wilson? There are some talented players who are going to miss out on the roster this year.

Here is my first attempt at finding the 2021 Dolphins’ roster bubble.

Roster Locks (37)

Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Jacoby Brissett, QB
Myles Gaskin, RB
Salvon Ahmed, RB
DeVante Parker, WR
Jaylen Waddle, WR
Will Fuller V, WR
Preston Williams, WR
Mike Gesicki, TE
Durham Smythe, TE
Hunter Long, TE
Austin Jackson, T
Liam Eichenberg, T
D.J. Fluker, T
Robert Hunt, G
Solomon Kindley, G
Matt Skura, C
Michael Deiter, C/G
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE
Christian Wilkins, DT
Raekwon Davis, DT
Zach Sieler, DT
Jerome Baker, LB
Benardrick McKinney, LB
Andrew Van Ginkel, LB
Jaelan Phillips, LB
Elandon Roberts, LB
Xavier Howard, CB
Byron Jones, CB
Noah Igbinoghene, CB
Jason McCourty, DB
Eric Rowe, S
Brandon Jones, S
Jevon Holland, S
Michael Palardy, P
Jason Sanders, K
Blake Ferguson, LS

You could probably make some arguments that some of these players are closer to the bubble than being a true lock, but it seems like this is the foundation of the team this year. Roster numbers could end up forcing the team to make a surprise cut, or an injury could shake up a position group, but it this seems like a solid starting place for the year.

Likely Cuts (23)

Reid Sinnett, QB
Robert Foster, WR
Kai Locksley, WR
Carl Tucker, FB
Cethan Carter, TE
Chris Myarick, TE
Tyler Gauthier, C
Cameron Tom, C
Durval Queiroz Neto, G
Jonathan Hubbard, T
Timon Paris, T
Nick Coe, DE
Tyshun Render, DE
Jerome Johnson, DT
Kylan Johnson, LB
Terrell Bonds, CB
Jararis Davis, CB
Toni Ellis, CB
Trill Williams, CB
Brian Cole, S
Nate Holley, S
Rex Sunahara, LS

There are a lot of practice squad/fringe players in this group, so do not be surprised if some of them pop back up on the roster at some point this season as injuries happen throughout the year.

Bubble Watch (31)

I decided that, for the bubble watch section, I would explain each position group, rather than just the entire list in one blurb.

Malcolm Brown, RB
Gerrid Doaks, RB
Jordan Scarlett, RB
Patrick Laird, RB
Malcolm Perry, RB/WR

The running back position, including Perry, is a numbers game. I have two locks on the roster, with five listed as on the bubble. Clearly some of these players will make the roster, but I think it is a matter of training camp/preseason performance to decide who will make the roster - and how many at the position. Brown and Doaks likely have an early lead, while Laird and Scarlett could both make strong arguments as well. Perry is hard to figure out, as the team seems to like him, but he has a similar skill set to wide receiver Lynn Bowden, Jr., and he was hit-or-miss last year.

Lynn Bowden, Jr., WR
Jakeem Grant, WR
Mack Hollins, WR
Allen Hurns, WR
Kirk Merritt, WR
Albert Wilson, WR

Wide receiver is such a deep spot for the Dolphins this year. There are four players on the roster locks list, and you could make an argument for keeping three, four, five, or maybe all six of these players on a roster as well. This is going to hurt some. You could even argue that, with his injury history, Williams in the locked list is not as locked in as the rest of the group and could fall onto the bubble. Wilson feels like the leader in the group, followed by Bowden, and maybe Grant - assuming he comes in catching passes and kicks cleanly this summer. Hollins, Merritt, and Hurns will also factor into the final decision. Special teams will absolutely be a factor in who makes it from this group.

Adam Shaheen, TE
Jibri Blount, TE

I think Shaheen makes the roster, but four tight ends may not be something the team can do based on other needs and numbers. Blount makes the bubble list just because he is such an unknown as he tries to be a tight end after playing college basketball. I would guess he ends up on the practice squad, but he if flashes ability early, Miami may have to roster him to protect him. Or he could be well over his head as an NFL player.

Jesse Davis, T/G
Robert Jones, G
Larnel Coleman, T
Adam Pankey, T

There are seven locks on the list above for the offensive line, which means there are likely two to three roster spots open. Davis leads this group, while Jones makes the bubble list as an unproved undrafted free agent because the team was willing to give him more guaranteed money than usual for a UDFA. Coleman and Pankey provide depth, but it may just be a numbers game for them.

Jonathan Ledbetter, DE
Jason Strowbridge, DE
Adam Butler, DL
John Jenkins, DT
Benito Jones, DT

The defensive line group is a hard one to project, simply because the Dolphins use so many different looks and alignments. Four players on the locked list could allow all five of these bubble players to make the roster, if the numbers work. Take your pick on any of these guys, as there really is not a reason to say they should be cut.

Vince Biegel, LB
Sam Eguavoen, LB
Calvin Munson, LB
Duke Riley, LB
Brennan Scarlett, LB

There are five linebackers in the locks list, with five more down here. Biegel and Eguavoen are the likely heads of this group, but any of the five could play their way onto the roster.

Nik Needham, CB
Jamal Perry, CB
Justin Coleman, CB
Jaytlin Askew, CB
Clayton Fejedelem, S

There are seven defensive backs on the locked list, four cornerbacks (counting McCourty as a corner), with three safeties. Fejedelem making the roster for his special teams play would make sense. Needham has sown flashes and is growing still, while Perry has had solid performances. Coleman comes to the Dolphins as a free agent this year, while Askew signed as an undrafted free agent this year.