The 2022 NFL Preseason is over with the regular season 10 days away. While the start of the season is looming, there is another huge day on the NFL calendar between now and the: final roster cut-down day. At 4 p.m. ET tomorrow, every team has to have their rosters pared down from the current 80-man ceiling down to the in-season 53-man limit. There are 864 players who were on rosters over the weekend who will find themselves either on a reserve list or on waivers headed toward free agency by tomorrow afternoon.
Throughout the preseason, we have been predicting who will make the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster. There are so many variables that impact what the Dolphins could do in building their roster. Will someone like cornerback Byron Jones, who has been on the physically unable to perform list all summer, be cleared to return to football activities, or will the team have to place him on a reserve list? What does that do to the depth at cornerback? Can the team keep an additional wide receiver or do they need an additional player somewhere on the roster? What does keeping Skylar Thompson as a third quarterback on the roster mean for the rest of the team? How does the Sunday signing of Trey Flowers change the roster?
Ahead of tomorrow’s roster limit change, it is time to make our final prediction of the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
Change: No change.
Thompson has positioned himself to make the roster and potentially set himself up to take over the number two role next year. The Dolphins likely cannot afford to risk Thompson becoming available on the waiver wire. I usually do not like to buy in on the “someone will claim him” argument for a player who is deep down the depth chart, especially when it comes to backup quarterbacks who are likely still developmental players - but in this case, it is pretty warranted. Tagovailoa has looked sharp in his limited playing time. Bridgewater gives the team a veteran option should Tagovailoa get injured. And Thompson gives the team a developmental option. Losing a roster spot to a third-string quarterback is not ideal, but in this case, it seems to be necessary.
Running back (4)
Change: Removed Salvon Ahmed. Added Myles Gaskin.
Edmonds and Mostert are locks. Michel could be a roster lock because he is a good third-down back, working well as a backfield blocker and as a pass catcher out in the flat. Gaskin jumps back onto the roster because I feel like he is a better pure rusher than Ahmed, and Ahmed is younger (by a year). I would look to Miami to try to slip Ahmed onto the practice squad. If you want to say Ahmed is the better special teams player, so he should get the nod over Gaskin, I could be convinced that way.
Mike McDaniel’s offense likes having a fullback. The Dolphins have one fullback on the roster. Ingold is an easy decision.
Tight end (3)
Change: Removed Cethan Carter.
I need the roster spot, which forces me to cut Carter. He is a solid special teams player, but I have to make the cut somewhere, and it landed here. I feel like we will see Gesicki work more like the Gesicki we have seen in the past few years once the regular season starts, pushing away all of the summer discussion of how he fits in McDaniel’s offense. Yes, he will be asked to block more, but I do not think McDaniel will force a weapon into a role that limits his ability to be a weapon. Smythe will be the traditional tight end while Long is developing still and should see an expanded role this year. Rookie Tanner Conner earned a practice squad spot.
Wide receiver (6)
Cedric Wilson, Jr.
Lynn Bowden, Jr.
Last week, I listed Preston Williams as a bubble player who could play himself onto a roster spot with a strong performance on special teams. On Saturday night, that bubble burst. A fumble on a punt return attempt, followed by a two-yard loss on a return giving Miami starting position at their own seven-yard line just crushed any hope the Unicorn may have had. So many brilliant flashes from Williams over the past couple of years, but injuries and inconsistency finally caught up to him and he is on the wrong side of the cut line (for me). If the Dolphins can get River Cracraft to the practice squad, they should do that. He is going to be a player they can elevate or promote during the season and immediately provide solid depth at the position. Braylon Sanders has earned a practice squad position as a developmental player as well.
Offensive lineman (8)
You could make the argument of Robert Jones over Coleman on this list and I would not disagree, or Miami could look to keep a ninth lineman with both of them on the roster. Maybe they try to push Coleman to the practice squad, but I have him on the roster just based on how much playing time he got this summer - the coaches seem to be trying to get him to develop into a depth option at both left and right tackle.
Defensive lineman (6)
Ogbah, Wilkins, and Sieler backed up by Davis, Jenkins, and Jones is a good, deep defensive line that should have a ton of success this year. Ogbah has led the Dolphins with nine sacks each of the last two years, Wilkins should be in Pro Bowl consideration this year, and Davis plugging up the middle is solid. Good things happen when Sieler is on the field. Jenkins provides good depth in the middle and Jones is just an impressive young player developing into something solid.
Andrew Van Ginkel
Change: Add Trey Flowers.
Adding a player to the defense from my previous projection was originally going to be to add a cornerback, but the signing of Flowers on Sunday changed things. I do not feel like Flowers’ addition jeopardizes any linebacker’s roster spot, but it adds a pass rusher and you can never have enough pass rushers. It might also be a signal that Van Ginkel is not ready to play following his appendectomy, so maybe this is still eight players with Van Ginkel landing on injured reserve to start the year. Baker, Roberts, Phillips, and Ingram are locks to be on the roster. Tindall probably is too at this point. Riley provides solid depth and Eguavoen just makes things happen - he is not always the most solid option you have, but he makes up for it with stellar moments.
There is a technicality happening with the cornerback position. There really are seven players I think for this position, but it depends on some other spots. The bubble is on Elijah Campbell here (though you could say it is on Kohou). Due to the NFL rules about roster construction, any player who begins the season on the active roster, then moves to a reserve roster (such as injured reserve) can then be brought back to the active roster later in the year. However, they have to make it to the active roster at 4 p.m. ET tomorrow. I feel like either Byron Jones or Andrew Van Ginkel will land on a reserve roster as soon as they clear that restriction. Maybe both players are headed to the restricted lists, or maybe neither is. If either of them are transitioned to a reserve list, Campbell is the player I see being added in their place. Crossen makes the roster as a special teams player and Kohou has been impressive and makes the roster as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M-Commerce.
Rowe serves as the backup to both Holland and Jones and provides tight-end coverage capability. Plus, he is an additional cornerback option if the need arises. Fedejelem makes the roster as a special teams ace.
Special Teams (3)
Long Snapper (1)