AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 4

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
3:30
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • On Tuesday the big story was first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who spoke with the media for the first time in training camp. Lazor comes from the Chip Kelly school of offense and is implementing a fast-paced scheme that saw a lot of success in Philadelphia last season. Lazor is confident that his group will make major strides in 2014. "It’s my job to show them they can go faster," Lazor said. "It’s my job to take them to places that maybe they didn’t think they could go. Anytime you do that with a player, you see their eyes kind of widen."
  • The Dolphins may have some pending center issues on the horizon. With Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey (hip) out for approximately four to eight weeks, there have been some hiccups filling the position early in camp. Shelley Smith has moved from guard to center. But for the second time in four practices, Smith had trouble with the snap. “It’s definitely a concern, but I’m also confident we will clean it up and get it addressed,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “Ball security is the No. 1 thing we talk about every night in training camp.” Also, backup center Sam Brenner was injured Tuesday with an unknown ailment. Nate Garner took over as the No. 2 center.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan continues to have a strong training camp. Jordan had the play of the day on Sunday with a pick-six off quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Jordan flashed again Tuesday with at least one would-be sack in team drills. The bad news is Jordan is suspended for four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Jordan will play in the preseason but won’t be available until October.
  • Miami worked mostly on red zone drills. This is an area where the Dolphins must be better. The offense performed better than it did at the start of training camp, which is a good sign. Miami settled for a lot of field goals last year and averaged just 19.8 points per game.
  • After going full pads on Sunday and Tuesday, the Dolphins will take the field again on Wednesday without pads. Miami is building up in practice to Saturday’s team scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins will produce a rarity in the NFL when they take the field Sept. 7 for their regular-season opener against the reigning AFC East champion New England Patriots. Miami will boast five new starters on the offensive line, which has raised some concerns in South Florida.

[+] EnlargeDallas Thomas
Alan Diaz/AP PhotoThe Dolphins will be counting on second-year guard Dallas Thomas to bolster the offensive line.
Granted, last year’s offensive line struggled mightily and set a franchise record for quarterback sacks allowed in 2013 with 58. But wholesale changes at every position present new concerns about continuity.

Although things could change due to injuries and competition, Miami’s new starting five is rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James, right guard Dallas Thomas, center Shelley Smith, left guard Daryn Colledge and left tackle Branden Albert.

After three days of practices, Miami’s new offensive line has struggled against its veteran defensive line in team drills. There have been multiple sacks allowed. Sometimes the running game is inconsistent. On the first day, there were two fumbled snaps between Smith and starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins have about five weeks and four exhibition games to iron things out before the regular season.

“We’re always attempting to get the five best players that we possibly can out on the field at one time,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said over the weekend. “I will tell you that we’re going to be looking at a number of combinations.”

The Dolphins are without Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, thanks to hip surgery this summer. He's expected to miss anywhere between four-to-eight games. Pouncey was the only holdover from last season’s starting lineup.

But perhaps the biggest concern is the inexperienced right side of the offensive line with Thomas and James. They are former college teammates at the University of Tennessee, but neither player has started an NFL game. Opponents certainly will attack this area to see if they can rattle Miami's offense.

"No concern," Albert said bluntly of the right side of the line. "We’re professionals. I don’t care how young you are, we’re professional athletes. Each and every day they’re getting better, we’re getting better, and that’s all we need to worry about."
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James has reason to cringe before every training camp practice. His daily assignment: Try to keep Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake off quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

It's a brutal assignment for any offensive tackle. But that is especially the case for James, who is going through his first NFL training camp as Miami's No. 19 overall pick this past May. The Dolphins are putting James to the test right away by plugging him into the starting lineup and having him face Wake in every practice.

Wake, as expected, is winning most of those early battles. But James and the Dolphins see the long-term benefits to the rookie's early struggles against Wake.

"I love it because I’m a competitor," James said of his battles with the veteran defensive end. “He’s a great player and he’s going to get me better. As long as I keep going as hard as I can against him, these constant reps we have, it’s going to get me ready for what I’m going to see in the season.”

Things got particularly one-sided on Saturday. Wake batted a pass and got past James to sack Tannehill in one team session. Later that practice, Wake blew up James with a bull rush in one-on-one drills to complete a tough day for the rookie. Wake also beat James for another Tannehill sack on Sunday.

The goal is to get James as ready as possible for opposing defensive ends he will face in the regular season.

“He practices hard,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of Wake. “I think the one thing I really appreciate about Cam Wake is -- obviously you want the performance and production on game day -- but he does a great job in practice.”

Wake is 32-years old, which is a full decade older than James (22). Wake has three Pro Bowls on his résumé and one of the top pass-rushers in the AFC.

It shows good leadership on Wake’s behalf to give James a strong look in practice daily and pull the rookie to the side afterwards to provide occasional words of wisdom.

“After practice he’ll be like, ‘Hey, I’ve got your hands up here, you need to do this here,’” James said of Wake. “Or I’ll ask him something. But he does a good job of schooling me, trying to teach me the right thing. But when it’s in between the lines we’re going at it.”
Examining the Miami Dolphins’ roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)


I'm still not seeing much in this third-quarterback race between Devlin and undrafted rookie Brock Jensen. It's possible Miami could only keep two quarterbacks, but I'm staying with three for now.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Moreno started camp on the physically unable to perform list, so other players are getting a chance. This week I added the rookie Williams, who is showing flashes in camp and continues to be one of my top sleepers.

RECEIVERS (6)

This is a deep group with a lot of competition. It could be really close between Williams and Armon Binns. But Williams can return kicks, which helps.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

New this week is Sims on the 53-man roster over rookie Arthur Lynch, who is practice-squad eligible.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is missing from this list because he's on the PUP and won't count on the 53-man roster. The Dolphins are still searching for the right starting five, with Smith now starting at center.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)
Dion Jordan's four-game suspension opens the door for rookie seventh-round pick Fede to make the team. This is one of the deepest areas of the team.

LINEBACKERS (7)

This group remains the same, but needs more production.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Miami's cornerbacks have a mix of youth and experience. Staying healthy will be key.

SAFETIES (4)

Coverage will be a big question with this group. Physicality and athleticism are not questions.

SPECIALISTS (3)

You can pencil in this trio for the regular season right now.

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 3

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
1:30
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • It was the first day in pads, and I really liked what I saw from Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry, who had his best practice of training camp thus far. Landry, Miami’s second-round pick, had a plethora of quality catches in team drills. His two most impressive were a long touchdown down the seam from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an impressive snag over the middle for a first down on a tough throw by backup quarterback Matt Moore. Landry isn’t the fastest receiver or the best athlete. But he is reliable, runs good routes and has great hands.
  • The play of the day goes to former first-round pick and backup defensive end Dion Jordan. He made a very athletic play Saturday during team drills to intercept a screen attempt from Tannehill and take it to the house. It was the type of flash the Dolphins hope to see more of from their 2013 No. 3 overall pick. But Miami will have to wait as Jordan was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
  • In fact, it was another so-so day for Tannehill, who continues to experience growing pains learning a new offense. Tannehill made some nice throws, such as his touchdown pass to Landry and a connection over the middle to receiver Mike Wallace for a 25-plus yard gain. But Tannehill also made some questionable decisions in team drills that would look bad in a game situation. Tannehill’s errant screen pass to Jordan was his worst play, but the quarterback also nearly threw another interception to cornerback Jamar Taylor and suffered at least two would-be sacks. At some point, things need to click for Tannehill, who enters an important third season.
  • On the injury front, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) worked on the side with trainers, as expected. Slot receiver Brandon Gibson took part in his first padded practice since last year’s knee surgery but he didn’t finish the session. His status will be monitored throughout camp.
  • Dolphins starting running back Lamar Miller had a good day with several nice runs. Miller looks like a decent fit for Miami’s new offense and has taken advantage of spread situations. The Dolphins asked Miller to get a little bigger in the offseason to help with durability and pass protection. “I want to say he weighed in at 221 or something like that,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin explained. “He looks good, he looks stronger than he’s ever been, and I don’t think he’s sacrificed any speed whatsoever.”

Up next, the Dolphins will have their first day off of training camp on Monday. Miami will next take the field on Tuesday.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The first week of training camp is a time of immense optimism in the NFL. Every team is undefeated and believes it is worthy of the playoffs. Teams highlight strengths, not weaknesses, until the games matter in the regular season.

The same goes for Miami Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is thinking big this upcoming season. Tannehill has lofty goals for himself and the Dolphins in 2014.

"We want to play deep into January and February," Tannehill said. "And that’s our goal at this point, is to go out, win the division and then play the playoffs from there. There is a big season ahead of us and I think anything less than that is not up to our standards."

Tannehill must set the tone for Miami. The previously mild-mannered quarterback is starting to be more vocal and make his presence felt. Tannehill is showing more emotion. This summer he screamed at a pair of receivers for making mistakes in practice, which is something the Miami media hadn’t previously seen.

The Dolphins are learning a new offensive under first-year coordinator Bill Lazor. Tannehill has to be an extension of Lazor on the field.

“One thing he has been doing, I tell people all of the time that he’s been a lot more vocal, taking a lot more control over this offense and over the team in general,” Dolphins tight end Charles Clay said. “You can see it in times like that, but he’s maturing a lot.”

It’s also clear the Dolphins are 100 percent behind Tannehill. He is just 15-17 as a starter and Miami averaged just 19.8 points per game last season.

But Tannehill has received universal praise from his teammates, who believe Tannehill is due for a breakout season. The quickest way for Miami to improve is for Tannehill to take the next step. The Dolphins have talented pieces in other positions and consistent quarterback play would take the team to a new level.

“I definitely think he has it,” Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said of Tannehill. “The thing I love about Ryan is his composure. I don’t think he ever gets rattled. I’ve never seen it, personally. He’s good at coming back like it [a mistake] never happened and that’s what we need from our quarterback.”

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 2

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
3:10
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • It was a better day for the Dolphins' offense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill got off to an awful start to training camp Friday. There were fumbled snaps, false starts and the timing was off. Miami's offense Saturday was sharper. Tannehill made several nice completions to receivers Mike Wallace, Damian Williams, Armon Binns and rookie Jarvis Landry. The quarterback option also worked, as Tannehill made two nice runs in team drills.
  • Miami's defense also made plays Saturday. Safety Reshad Jones and cornerback Brent Grimes both had "Play of the Day" candidates with a pair of interceptions. Jones picked off Tannehill on the sideline, while keeping his feet in bounds, after a deep-ball attempt to Wallace. Grimes also jumped a route and intercepted Dolphins backup quarterback Matt Moore in stride during seven-on-seven drills and took the pick to the house for a defensive touchdown.
  • Miami continues to give quality reps to second-year defensive end Dion Jordan. He is suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. The Dolphins have to figure out how to get Jordan ready for the season while also preparing the defensive end who will be available the first four games. "It's a delicate balance," Philbin said Saturday. "Dion needs work at defensive end, he needs work on the fundamentals. ... But we do have to also be cognizant that we’re getting ready for a [regular-season] game. It’s a balancing act and we have to find the right mix."
  • Keep an eye out for rookie running back Damien Williams. He showed nice flashes during organized team activities and minicamp. Williams had another nice day Saturday with inside runs and good moves in the open field. He is competing in a deep group of running backs that includes incumbent starter Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno and Daniel Thomas.
  • Looking ahead, the Dolphins will have their first practice in full pads on Sunday. The intensity and physicality should go up a couple notches. The team will have their first off day of training camp on Monday.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has three Pro Bowls on his resume and gaudy sack numbers. He's earned team MVP honors in Miami, as well as a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards during his stint in the CFL.

But there is one thing the 32-year-old Wake is still chasing in his accomplished football career: a postseason appearance. Wake has never played a down in the NFL playoffs during his five-year NFL career. He arrived from the CFL to Miami in 2009, one year after the Dolphins last made the postseason. Since then, Miami has a record of 35-45 with zero winning seasons.

[+] EnlargeCameron Wake
AP PhotoThe Dolphins' Cameron Wake has notched 23.5 sacks in the past two seasons.
Wake doesn't want to be remembered as one of Miami's greatest players never to reach the postseason. As players get older, they get wiser and more reflective. Wake said he recently talked to his younger Dolphins teammates about urgency this year and having a win-now mentality.

"I’ve been here with great teams, great players, and I haven’t been to the playoffs once," Wake said disappointingly. “So I’m trying to profess how hard it is to win in this league. It takes so much -- that extra rep, that extra bench press, whatever it may be -- to make that happen.

“For me, as you know, it’s the thing that’s eluded me so far in my career. I’m trying to do everything I can personally and for the team to make that happen this year.”

Wake’s urgency was on display Saturday on the practice field. On a hot July practice, Wake had a strong day against Dolphins rookie right tackle Ja'Waun James.

Wake plowed through James in one-on-one drills and recorded a batted ball and a sack in team drills. Wake was a handful all practice for the rookie at a point in his career when Wake doesn't have to prove himself.

“He practices hard,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “I think the one thing I really appreciate about Cam Wake is -- obviously you want the performance and production on game day – but he does a great job in practice.”

The Dolphins need another big season from Wake. This is a big year for many in the organization, and Miami needs a healthy and productive Wake to wreak havoc on quarterbacks and provide leadership on defense.

Wake plays a physically demanding position, but part of his success is due to good nutrition. Wake stays in optimum shape and closely monitors his diet. That’s partially led to Wake recording 23.5 sacks the past two seasons after the age of 30.

“I’ve never looked at a number,” Wake explained. “I never said I want to play 10 years. Is that 10 years from school, because I’ve been out of school 10 years? So it’s hard to put that number out there.

“I just want to play for as long as I can, be successful and help whatever team, whatever situation I’m in win. How many more years is that? Who knows?”

Dolphins camp report: Day 1

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:00
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • It was a shaky day for the Dolphins' first-team offense. The first two plays in team drills were a timeout and fumbled snap by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and new center Shelley Smith, who is filling in for injured Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey. There also were drops by receivers, two near picks by Tannehill to cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Jamar Taylor and not much going in the running game. Miami's defense definitely won on Friday. “It's the first day, it's not going to be the prettiest practice we have,” Tannehill said afterwards. “Obviously, I don't think today is the practice we wanted to have with the balls on the ground and the sacks. But we have to have something to build off of. The quicker we can get those corrections made, the better we will be.”
  • The first-team offensive line had three changes from the final day of minicamp. Smith moved from left guard to center in place of the injured Pouncey (hip). Free-agent pickup Daryn Colledge was put in at left guard and Dallas Thomas moved from left guard to right guard. Miami head coach Joe Philbin said nothing is set in stone. “I will tell you that we will be looking at a number of different combinations,” Philbin explained. “This is practice No. 1. This is the way we want to look at it today."
  • Dolphins fans in attendance Friday got to see something they rarely saw last season. Tannehill and No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace connected on a deep ball in what was easily the play of the day. Wallace beat second-year cornerback Jamar Taylor by a couple steps and Tannehill hit Wallace in stride for an approximately 40-yard gain. Tannehill and Wallace struggled with deep-ball connections last season.
  • Here is more good news for the Dolphins: Everyone passed their conditioning tests. There had been issues with other teams around the NFL with players failing conditioning drills and missing the start of training camp.
  • The Dolphins have an interesting balance this summer with second-year defensive end Dion Jordan. He was suspended four games for violating the NFL's conduct on performance enhancing substances but can participate in training camp and the preseason. Jordan's role as the third defensive end didn't appear different Friday from what we've seen in minicamp and organized team activities. The Dolphins must balance getting Jordan reps to get him ready for later and reps for players behind him who will fill in during the first four weeks of the regular season. “We're disappointed in that, but Dion's going to be out there,” Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey explained. “He's going to be out there competing. He's going to be out there growing.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey walked up to the media Friday and was all smiles. He shook hands with several media members, including myself, and spoke about the excitement of new beginnings for his 2014 team.

Pouncey
It's been a whirlwind month for Miami's Pro Bowl center. First, it was major hip surgery following minicamp. Reports have varied that Pouncey could miss anywhere between four to eight games. Then, there was an alleged incident at Pouncey's birthday party in South Beach in which a person claimed he was attacked by Pouncey's entourage. Pouncey's lawyers quickly denied those claims in a statement.

Pouncey didn't shed much light on the off-the-field issue other than refer to his lawyer's statement. But he is optimistic about his rehab and trying to get back in the Dolphins' starting lineup as soon as possible.

"I'm very confident; I feel I'm already ahead of schedule," Pouncey explained. "My goal is not to miss any [regular-season games]. But I've just got to be smart about it so I won't have any relapses when I come back. I'm just going to listen to the team doctors and Coach Philbin. Whenever they tell me I'm ready to go, then I'm going."

It's always tricky when a player talks about returning to good health -- especially a player as tough as Pouncey. It appears Pouncey has a high threshold for pain and wants to return earlier than expected. But it will be a balancing act with team doctors to make sure Pouncey doesn't extend himself to rush back on the field. He's currently on the physically unable to perform list.

Pouncey said he first "felt something" during the spring in his hip and got it evaluated. The situation wasn't getting better. Therefore, Pouncey and the Dolphins decided it was best to get the hip surgery before the season.

Although nothing is set in stone, Shelley Smith started at centerin place of Pouncey during Friday's first practice. The Dolphins are expected to have five new offensive linemen in Week 1 when they host the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium.

Despite the injury, Pouncey believes the Dolphins have the makings of ending their five-year postseason drought.

"That's our only expectation -- to make it to the playoffs," said Pouncey, who is on the physically unable to perform list. "We were so close last year. I know that's in the back of a lot of guys' heads."
DAVIE, Fla. -- All eyes were on the center position as the Miami Dolphins opened their 2014 training camp Friday. The Dolphins revealed the player they initially think can replace injured Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey -- and it's starting right guard Shelley Smith.

Smith
In fact, Miami reshuffled three positions on its first-team offensive line Friday compared to organized team activities and minicamp. Smith moved from right guard to center, Dallas Thomas moved from left guard to right guard and recent free-agent pickup Daryn Colledge was plugged in at left guard.

Although nothing is set in stone in July, it's an interesting starting five for the Dolphins, who will have five new offensive linemen play in Week 1 of the regular season against the New England Patriots.

"I think we have a lot of potential and we've got a good group of guys in the room," Smith said of the offensive line. "We have a good coaching staff and I feel like we're working our butts off to fulfill our potential."

Pouncey could miss as many as eight weeks of the regular season. Therefore, Miami's coaching staff must get this decision right if the Dolphins plan to improve last year's shaky performance on offense. Miami was ranked No. 27th in total offense and set a franchise record with 58 sacks allowed.

The good news is Miami has about six weeks and four preseason games before the start of the regular season to figure out this quandary on the offensive line.

"We're always attempting to get the five best players that we possibly can out on the field at one time," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. "I will tell you that we will be looking at a number of different combinations. This is practice No. 1. This is the way we want to look at it today."

The Dolphins invested a lot of many and resources to improve their offensive line. Miami spent $47 million to solidify the left tackle spot with Albert, used a first-round pick on starting right tackle Ja'Waun James and signed Smith in free agency to a two-year, $5.5 million contract.

The offense was shaky Friday. For example, the first two plays involved a timeout and fumbled snap. In fact, Smith and Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill had two fumbled exchanges during team drills. That must be fixed if Smith aims to replace Pouncey long term.

"I put it on me, that's always my responsibility," Smith said of the poor snaps. "That's something we have to keep working on and getting better. Turnovers and ball security are big emphasis."

Mike Pouncey, Moreno on PUP

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
8:00
AM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins opened training camp Friday by placing Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and running back Knowshon Moreno on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Pouncey had major hip surgery this summer and reportedly could miss as much as eight weeks of the regular season. Moreno had a cleanup procedure on his knee and should return before the end of the preseason.

Both players are expected to eventually be key members of Miami's offense. Pouncey is arguably the Dolphins’ best offensive player. Moreno, who started last year for the Denver Broncos, signed a one-year contract to compete with incumbent starting tailback Lamar Miller.

The Dolphins opened training camp on Friday. Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey also said everyone passed their conditioning tests.

Live at Dolphins training camp

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
7:00
AM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- The time has finally arrived for the Miami Dolphins.

Following an 8-8 season, the Dolphins will begin their 2014 journey Friday at 8 a.m. ET when they open training camp. We will be there for every practice this summer to bring you all the latest.

We will have a full report from Dolphins camp later Friday. But for football fans who cannot wait and need instant information, I recommend you follow my Twitter account @JamesWalkerNFL. That is where I will provide live updates from Dolphins practice as it happens.

The Dolphins enter training camp with optimism and a lot of questions. It should be an interesting journey that begins today.

W2W4: Dolphins training camp

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
3:20
PM ET
The Miami Dolphins will begin their 2014 training camp on Friday amid many expectations following last year’s 8-8 season. This is an important season for many within the organization, starting with head coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who are both 15-17 the past two seasons.

ESPN.com’s Dolphins blog will be there every step of the way for Miami’s training camp. Here are some things we will be monitoring closely as practices begin:

1. Dolphins' plan at center

Pouncey
The Dolphins have been mum on their contingency plans at center since starter Mike Pouncey underwent recent hip surgery. Pouncey initially was expected to miss approximately four to six games. But the Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Pouncey could be out as many as eight weeks. Friday’s first practice will reveal what Miami’s coaching staff has in mind. It could be Sam Brenner or Nate Garner at first-team center. Maybe guard Shelley Smith moves to center. But what happens Friday might not stick two weeks from now or in Week 1 against the New England Patriots. However, this is a valuable time for Miami to start figuring out how to replace its Pro Bowl center.

2. Ryan Tannehill's development

Tannehill
All eyes will be on Miami’s third-year quarterback as he tries to put together his first winning season. Tannehill is learning a new, up-tempo scheme under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. There were some growing pains in organized team activities and minicamp, with a mix of good and bad practices from Tannehill. He must put together a strong and consistent training camp, starting Friday.

3. Rookie development

In an important season, the Dolphins cannot afford to have a repeat of 2013 with their rookie class. Miami needs valuable draft picks such as Ja’Wuan James, Jarvis Landry, Billy Turner and Walt Aikens to immediately contribute and find roles. The Dolphins got very little from last year’s draft class, and it was a significant reason they were unable to get over the hump. For Miami to reach its potential, the Dolphins must get quality production from both their first- and second-year players.

Miami Dolphins' projected roster

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
11:00
AM ET
Examining the Miami Dolphins’ roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)


The only question here is whether Devlin can hold off undrafted rookie Brock Jensen for the No. 3 quarterback job. Neither quarterback stood out in the offseason, but Devlin has the slight edge because of experience.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

The Dolphins would like to have someone step up and challenge Thomas. Undrafted rookie Damien Williams from Oklahoma could be a sleeper to watch. But it's too premature to put Williams on the 53-man roster over the veteran Thomas before the pads come on.

RECEIVERS (6)

This is a deep group with a lot of competition. Williams will be pushed for the final spot by Armon Binns and rookie Matt Hazel, who is practice-squad-eligible.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

New Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor uses some two-tight-end sets. So there might be room for a fourth player such as Dion Sims. But we are sticking with three for now.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
Pouncey’s hip injury puts a major dent in this much-maligned group to start the season. Miami will have five new starters in Week 1.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

This is the strongest area of the team. The Dolphins can come at opponents in waves in the trenches.

LINEBACKERS (7)

This group must improve its play from 2013. The Misi experiment at middle linebacker is particularly important to watch.

CORNERBACKS (6)

This is a solid mix of youth and experience. As long as second-year players Taylor and Davis come of age and Finnegan stays healthy, the depth will be improved from a year ago.

SAFETIES (4)

This group is all about position flexibility. All four players must be able to play back in coverage and closer to the line of scrimmage in defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s scheme.

SPECIALISTS (3)

This trio will remain the same for the second straight year.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider