Now that we are over a week into camp, and the Dolphins have a 74-play intrasquad scrimmage in the books, how the 53-man roster will shape up is starting to become a little less hazy. Nothing is settled yet, and the biggest tests for those players sitting on the roster fence still lies ahead. The upcoming preseason games will provide make or break opportunities to those hopeful to make the team, so really everything below is subject to change. Just like the weekly “Position Battle Tracker,” this segment is parallel to looking at a first quarter scoreboard, not a prediction of how I see things eventually playing out.
Projected Possible Cuts: Tyler Thigpen, Pat White
If there is any player that has defined the phrase “the media’s punching bag” it’s second-year quarterback Pat White. It seems as though every practice the South Florida beat writers use words like “erratic” and “wild” to describe White’s reps. White was far from spectacular a year ago, but I don’t think things were ever this bad. In all fairness to him, though, we really have no idea what exactly the young man is going through in his personal life. He missed the first day of workouts for personal reasons, and who knows how much whatever is going on is affecting his performance. Meanwhile, Tyler Thigpen hasn’t exactly impressed so far, but it was evident in Week 17 last season he was miles ahead of White, and judging by the first week of camp, things haven’t changed much.
In: Tyler Thigpen
Out: Pat White
Projected Possible Cuts: Lex Hilliard, Tristan Davis
The battle for the fourth running back spot was set to pick up some intensity with Kory Sheets getting some opportunities as a kick returner, but since his season-ending Achilles injury, it’s safe to say Hilliard has this thing wrapped up. Of course, that’s assuming the Dolphins keep four running backs again. Having said that, possible sixth receiver candidates and tenth offensive lineman hopefuls will likely provide more competition to Hilliard than Davis.
Out: Tristan Davis
Projected Possible Cuts: Rolly Lumbala
Lousaka Polite has emerged as one of the best fullbacks in the business, and there simply is no room for Lumbala on the roster.
Out: Rolly Lumbala
Tight End Wide Receiver
Projected Possible Cuts: David Martin, Joey Haynos, John Nalbone, Kory Sperry
Assuming David Martin can return to his 08′ form, he will securely find himself as the second tight end on the depth chart. That was two years ago, though, and word has it Martin is a bit on the heavy side these days. It shouldn’t take long for him to get back in playing shape, however, and the upcoming exhibitions should reveal whether or not he can still be a legitimate receiving threat. That means there will be a three way battle for the third and likely final roster spot at the position. All three have been virtually invisible so far, so things should be fairly wide open heading into the preseason opener.
In: David Martin, Joey Haynos
Out: John Nalbone, Kory Sperry
Projected Possible Cuts: Patrick Turner, Ryan-Grice Mullen, Taurus Johnson, Julius Pruitt, Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore
In: Patrick Turner
Out: Ryan-Grice Mullen, Taurus Johnson, Julius Pruitt, Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore
Projected Possible Cuts: Andrew Gardner, Lydon Murtha
With the Dolphins only expected to keep nine offensive lineman, and with the starting tackles being engraved in stone, things are starting to point to only three tackles making the team. And with Nate Garner’s versatility guaranteeing him a job at backup right tackle, Andrew Gardner and Lydon Murtha could both be on the outside looking in when final cuts are made.
Out: Andrew Gardner, Lydon Murtha
Projected Possible Cuts: Cory Procter
Procter is really a borderline possible cut. Based on his past, you would think he is the least likely to start among the four guards, but he has been rotating off and on with the first-team throughout camp. That probably won’t last much longer, as John Jerry and Richie Incognito now appear to be the front-runners, but with so much uncertainty at the position, the Dolphins will probably end up keeping all of them.
In: Cory Procter
Projected Possible Cuts: Jake Grove, Andrew Hartline
I only mention Jake Grove as a possible cut because if he loses the battle for starting center, Miami would be wise to rid themselves of his $30 million contract. Still though, because Grove was so productive last season, I think he eventually pulls away from Berger and Hartline. Speaking of Hartline, signs point to the reasoning behind his move to center being a motivational tool to get Grove and Berger going.
In: Jake Grove
Out: Andrew Hartline
Projected Possible Cuts: Lionel Dotson, Ryan Baker
In light of Charles Grant’s three sack performance in Saturday’s scrimmage, he’s off the possible cuts list for the time being, and could even surpass Tony McDaniel on the depth chart. As for who is in danger of missing the cut, Lionel Dotson and Ryan Baker will likely be competing for the final roster spot, given many expect the Dolphins to keep six defensive ends. As of now, Baker gets the nod because his versatility also allows him to mix it up at nose tackle.
In: Ryan Baker
Out: Lionel Dotson
Projected Possible Cuts: Montavious Stanley, Travis Ivey
If the Dolphins do indeed keep six defensive ends, it is likely they will only keep two nose tackles. And with starter Randy Starks being undersized by prototypical standards, Paul Soliai would be the smart bet to back him up with his 355 pound size.
Out: Montavious Stanley, Travis Ivey
Projected Possible Cuts: Ikaika Alama-Francis, Quentin Moses, Chris McCoy, Erik Walden
I guess we still have to put Ike on this list, but based on reports about how well he has been playing the run, I don’t expect him to be a possible cut for long. That likely leaves Moses, McCoy, and Walden fighting for the final spot if the Dolphins end up keeping five outside linebackers. If this was a prediction I might go out on a limb and give McCoy the edge, but right now, one good practice from the rookie won’t be enough to beat out Moses.
In: Ikaika Alama-Francis, Quentin Moses
Out: Chris McCoy, Erik Walden
Projected Possible Cuts: Austin Spitler, J.D. Folsom, Micah Johnson
Edds being out for the year has many thinking the Dolphins will now only keep three inside linebackers. Looking at the talent behind Dansby, Crowder, and Dobbins, I would say that assessment is probably accurate. I will say that I’m interested to see what Micah Johnson can do in the preseason, though, but right now he’s still a long shot.
Out: Austin Spitler, J.D. Folsom, Micah Johnson
Projected Possible Cuts: Jason Allen, Nolan Carroll, Nate Ness, Ross Weaver, Evan Ogelsby
Based on Jason Allen’s contribution as a special teams standout and Nolan Carroll’s outstanding beginning to camp, I really don’t like listing either one as a possible cut. That doesn’t change the fact that Allen is continuing to get exposed in coverage, though, and Carroll is still a late-round draft selection, after all. But right now, both are well ahead of Nate Ness, Ross Weaver, and Evan Ogelsby. I would say Jason Allen is the most vulnerable of the two, however, and Nate Ness, who was recently promoted to the second-team for a practice, would be the most capable of surpassing him.
In: Jason Allen, Nolan Carroll
Out: Nate Ness, Ross Weaver, Evan Ogelsby
Projected Possible Cuts: Reshad Jones, Jonathan Amaya
Some expected Reshad Jones to be the starting free safety after the Dolphins traded up to the last pick of the fifth-round to snag him. It became clear in the spring, though, that it was Chris Clemons’ job to lose. That hasn’t changed either, as Clemons has been limiting his mental mistakes so far in camp. Jones has been pretty solid based on reports, though, and has even got his hands on a couple of interceptions. Amaya, meanwhile, has been an after thought so far, after a few noteworthy OTA sessions.
In: Reshad Jones
Out: Jonathan Amaya