The opportunities are over, those roster fringe players have made their case to be on this football team, and by tomorrow, we will know who exactly the 53 men are who will represent the 2010 Miami Dolphins. For the entirely of the preseason, this post has been about who is currently leading the various roster bubble competitions.
Now, going by strictly what I have seen in four preseason games, I’m ready to make my 53-man roster prediction. Feel free to use the comments section to disagree with my pics and share which positions you think I got wrong.
Quarterback: Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, Tyler Thigpen
If Pat White wasn’t a former second-round pick, I think this would be one of the more obvious positions on the entire team. Still though, there’s no room for Pat White on the 53 even if he did give us a reason to think he can play quarterback in the NFL.
Cuts: Pat White
Running Back: Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, Lex Hilliard
With Ronnie being injury prone and Ricky being 33 years old, it would be surprising if the Dolphins let one of their backs go.
Fullback: Lousaka Polite
He’s a lock to make the team thanks to last year’s dominate performance as a lead blocker and short yardage converter. Let’s just hope he can return to form by next Sunday.
Cuts: Rolly Lumbala
Tight End: Anthony Fasano, David Martin
Nalbone helped his cause with a big 30-yard reception last night, and the Dolphins likely want to keep three tight ends with as many two tight end sets that they use. But Nalbone hasn’t done enough to lock down that third tight end job, and the Dolphins could use the extra roster spot to make up for keeping a sixth cornerback.
Cuts: John Nalbone
Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Marlon Moore, Roberto Wallace
I flip flopped with this one all day. First things first, I now feel that Marlon Moore is lock to make the team, and probably wouldn’t have been cut even if he didn’t go off for 31 yards and a score in Dallas. Before last night’s game, I would have said Turner edges out Wallace because so much has been invested in Turner and he hasn’t been bad this preseason, just outplayed. But Wallace’s 3 receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown just gave the Dolphins a whole lot to think about between now and tomorrow’s cut-down deadline. If it was me, I would keep who I think has the potential to be the better player, regardless of who was taken where in the draft. Right now, I believe that is Roberto Wallace. He’s got the size this regime covets (6’4, 225 pounds), and is much further along than Turner was this time last year as a rookie.
Cuts: Julius Pruitt, Patrick Turner
Offensive Tackles: Jake Long, Vernon Carey, Pat McQuistan
Seeing Long getting his knee looked at last night was enough of a scare to go out and trade for Pat McQuistan earlier this evening. While, McQuistan has limited potential, it’s probably safe to say the front office believes he is more capable of filling in if Long or Carey were to get seriously hurt.
Cuts: Andrew Gardner, Lydon Murtha
Offensive Guards: John Jerry, Richie Incognito, Donald Thomas, Cory Procter
The guy who benefits the most from Nate Garner going to the IR is Cory Procter. He was realistically on the outside looking in before Garner was shelved for the season, but is now suddenly the favorite to land the ninth and final offensive line opening.
Cuts: Ray Feinga
Center: Jake Grove, Joe Berger
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to who is going to win the starting job. We do, however, know that both will probably make this team. That is assuming the Dolphins don’t cut Grove because of his price tag and durability concerns.
Cuts: Andrew Hartline
Defensive End: Kendall Langford, Jared Odrick, Marques Douglas, Tony McDaniel, Charles Grant
This was likely already decided heading into last night’s game. The Dolphins will only keep two nose tackles, so the defensive line could use five defensive ends. McDaniel has been pretty stout against the run this preseason, and Charles Grant has created some value for himself rushing the passer.
Cuts: Ryan Baker, Lionel Dotson
Nose Tackle: Randy Starks, Paul Soliai
Perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises of the preseason has been the play of Starks and Soliai. Soliai was average at best last year, and we didn’t really know what to expect from Randy Starks, who made the switch over from defensive end. Both were close to dominate in four games, and the only success teams had at running the football came at the expense of the outside linebackers not containing the edge.
Cuts: Montavious Stanley
Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake, Koa Misi, Ikaika Alama-Francis, Charlie Anderson, Erik Walden
The first four are pretty much a lock to make the squad, but I see Walden squeezing on the 53-man roster because of his solid special teams play. If Quentin Moses wasn’t currently dealing with a hamstring injury, this may have been a different story.
Cuts: Quentin Moses, Chris McCoy
Inside Linebacker: Karlos Dansby, Channing Crowder, Tim Dobbins, Micah Johnson
With Crowder’s status still up in the air, it is necessary for the Dolphins to keep four inside linebackers. Even if he was fine, though, Micah Johnson’s emergence would have probably sealed the deal anyway. Quite a feat considering he went undrafted, was thought to be too slow for the NFL, and was cut in June by the Giants.
Cuts: J.D. Folsom, Austin Spitler
Cornerback: Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Will Allen, Nolan Carroll, Jason Allen, Benny Sapp
Uncertainty behind Will Allen’s knee will likely force the Dolphins to uncharacteristically keep six corners. Despite Nate Ness’ one good quarter, I think it’s fairly obvious who those six corners will be. Nolan Carroll has shown enough potential on defense and special-teams, and Jason Allen and Benny Sapp are already proven special-teams contributors.
Cuts: Nate Ness, Kevin Hobbs, Ross Weaver
Safety: Yeremiah Bell, Chris Clemons, Tyrone Culver, Reshad Jones
If there was going to be a roster spot battle here, it was going to come down to Jones vs. Amaya. Amaya had a solid spring and even picked off a pass in the preseason, but Jones’ stellar special-teams play and his upside at safety will likely win out in the end.
Cuts: Jonathan Amaya
Special-Teams: Dan Carpenter (K), Brandon Fields (P), John Denney (LS)
Nothing to see here. Carpener, Fields, and Denney all signed extensions this offseason, and could remain in Miami for years to come.