Training Camp is just around the corner and the Miami Dolphins will be evaluating their roster to make the necessary cuts to get down to the league mandated 53-man roster. Below are 5 players who may be on the outside looking in:
- Brock Osweiler, QB
Osweiler was signed this offseason to compete for the back-up spot behind starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehill. With long time back up Matt Moore not being retained, the question was “who will be the #2 in Miami, behind Tannehill?”
The Dolphins also have 4-year pro David Fales who was signed in the middle of last season to back up Matt Moore when Jay Cutler was injured. Fales was re-signed in the offseason and has since proven to be the favorite for the #2 spot behind Tannehill. Fales, who has experience with Head Coach Adam Gase from his time in Chicago has flashed in minicamp and has been the subject of praise from the Head Coach.
Generally, the Dolphins have kept only two Quarterbacks on the active roster and I believe Brock Osweiler must have a stellar Training Camp to make this a tough decision for the Dolphins regime.
- Leonte Carroo, WR
The Dolphins traded up in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft to take Carroo out of Rutgers. The 2016 WR corps consisted of Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings and 2016 6th Round Pick Jakeem Grant. Since then Carroo has not seen much playing time.
In 2016 despite Parker having a long-term injury, Carroo failed to make any type of impact. Over 2 seasons he has a total of 10 receptions. Towards the end of the 2017 season Carroo was placed on Injured Reserve due to an undisclosed emergency surgery. This offseason he has also been sidelined with injury.
Combine that with the Dolphins signing two free agent wide receivers and not to mention that Carroo was almost beat out by Isaiah Ford last season before he tore his ACL. From a numbers standpoint, Carroo could be the odd man out.
A definite Receiver corps consisting of Stills, Parker, Wilson, Amendola and Jakeem Grant (who has had a great camp thus far) amounts to 5. If, a big if, Miami decides to keep 6 Wide Receivers on it’s active 53-man roster Carroo will have to beat the likes of Ford and others for that final spot. While his 3rd round draft status holds some weight, its telling that Miami has signed 2 wide receivers and a 6th round pick (Grant) has seen the field much more.
- Thomas Duarte, TE
Much like Leonte Carroo, Duarte goes into camp with numbers not on his side. Miami will usually keep four Tight Ends on its active roster. In the 2018 Draft they doubled down on the TE position taking Mike Gesicki in the 2nd round and Durham Smythe in the 4th
Duarte, a former 7th round pick in 2016 hasn’t seen the field much let alone the active roster. He predominantly has been a part of the Practice Squad but with this off-season’s moves it is an uphill battle at this point. Miami has its two rookies, plus A.J. Derby whom they claimed off waivers last offseason from Denver and the underrated MarQueis Gray who has proven to be a solid Tight End and H-Back since arriving in Miami.
Adam Gase and Co. have sung the praises of Derby often which is a good sign that he will make the roster in some capacity as well as being one of the more vested players at his position. Duarte will have to beat the likes of Derby, Gray and Gavin Escobar for that 4th spot on the depth chart, that is IF Miami decides to keep four on the 53-man roster.
- Mike Hull, LB
Mike Hull was an undrafted free agent in 2015 and signed with Miami when Joe Philbin was still the Head Coach. He ended up making the practice squad and eventually the 53-man roster.
Before Miami signed Rey Maualaga last season, Hull was the “next man up” after then rookie, Raekwon McMillan, was put on Injured Reserve after a knee injury in Training Camp. Hull, through the course of last season fell further down the pecking order as undrafted free agent Chase Allen saw more reps, as well as Miami trading for Stephone Anthony, a former 1st round pick of the New Orleans Saints.
Since last season, Miami signed Terrance Garvin as a free agent this offseason, formerly of the Rams. Combine that with return of McMillan, Miami drafting Linebacker Jerome Baker in the 2nd round, Quentin Poling in the 7th round and bringing in some of the best available undrafted talents at the position in Mike McCray and Cayson Collins.
With Hull’s size and speed in question, especially as NFL offenses evolve to a faster paced passing attack and the numbers not in his favor, he will need to make his mark on Special Teams to make this roster. Miami could be in business to keep anywhere between 5-6 linebackers on its roster. Hull will need to beat out the likes of Chase Allen, rookie Quentin Poling and incumbent Stephone Anthony if he wants to be suiting up on Sundays.
- Jordan Lucas, DB
Jordan Lucas is in the same boat as Hull. He’s bounced around the Practice Squad but has made zero impact on his position on the depth chart. A player that can play Cornerback or Safety, he has his work cut out for him this offseason.
With Miami taking Minkah Fitzpatrick in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft and its already young core of corners, it’s hard to figure out where Lucas can flourish. Miami’s Cornerbacks have promise in Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley on the boundary as well as Tony Lippett returning from injury.
They just made Bobby McCain the highest paid Nickel Corner, so there are 4 spots already off the board. Considering, they drafted Cornell Armstrong in the 6th round and gave undrafted free agent Cornerback Jalen Davis the most guaranteed money to any of their undrafted free agents and the room starts getting crowded.
Safety could be his best bet. With the Dolphins already saying that is where Fitzpatrick will get most of his playing time in conjunction with Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald, last year’s starters at the position. Jordan Lucas’ main competition will be Special Teams stalwart Walt Aikens, who also plays both Safety and Cornerback, and Maurice Smith who is entering his 2nd season and spent most of his time on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent last offseason out of University of Georgia. Lucas will need to make plays on special teams to solidify himself on the 53-man roster.