With the 2021-22 NFL season rapidly approaching with training camp beginning at the end of July, the Miami Dolphins’ roster cuts are closer than they appear.
For Full Press Coverage Dolphins’ preseason depth chart preview, we will be breaking down each skill position group and those players who are likely to make the team. Additionally, a complete list of positional players can be found here.
Editor’s note: For positions on the offensive and defensive line we have simply grouped them all to their line units instead of individual positions due to the flexing nature that some players rotate on throughout the season.
This group is completely straight forward, barring injury. QB Tua Tagovailoa is Miami’s starter after the Dolphins opted to not re-sign veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is now a member of the Washington Football Team. Tagovailoa, who had no opportunity to work with the team in any camps last season due to COVID-19 has been showing he has improved in camp thus far. He is showing off connections with his former college teammate Jaylen Waddle as well as new Dolphin Will Fuller V and old friend DeVante Parker as well.
Jacoby Brissett, the former Indianapolis Colt QB, will be the No. 2 option after signing a one-year deal in free agency. His veteran experience as a backup will help Tagovailoa grow more as a QB because of the style of play they share: a dual threat.
Finally, the Dolphins will likely play it safe again this season and activate a third QB to their roster. Reid Sinnett should earn the job, who was active for multiple games last season. Sinnett entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2020 who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad.
Expect Miami to keep all three.
It’s no secret the Dolphins’ running back corps has been a little tricky in recent seasons, but we should have a little more clarity going into 2021-22. However, the signing of former Los Angeles Rams back Malcolm Brown does complicate the situation.
Nevertheless, Myles Gaskin will be the starter with Brown likely assuming the backup role alongside Salvon Ahmed. Ahmed had the role last season, after the whole Jordan Howard/Matt Breida debacle, but the split between Brown/Ahmed is what’s tricky. All we really know as of now is that they’ll be backing up Gaskin.
The other running backs on the roster include veteran Patrick Laird, Jordan Scarlett and newly-drafted rookie Gerrid Doaks. Malcolm Perry is also listed, but he’s a dynamic player who jump under center or pop out as a receiver if needed.
Depending on how deep Miami wants to go with their RB corps after what happened last season, we could see all of them make the team or just one. Laird has helped them out as a safety buffer in recent seasons when injuries arise, but it would be hard to make the caase to keep him on the active roster over the rookie Doaks. Throwing Scarlett into the mix should make it a three-way battle that will play out in camp.
Expect Miami to keep four active backs and demote at least one to the practice squad.
This group is probably the deepest group the Dolphins currently have.
The starting three, and the most safe, are DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V and Jaylen Waddle. They are the most safe because they either have the most money tied to them or are expected to be producers in Miami’s long term plan.
Then it gets funky.
One has to think the Dolphins will invest in young talent. This gives Malcolm Perry, Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr. and Jakeem Grant the best case to make the roster. But still, that’s seven players technically taking up WR spots. They can make noise, but have a good bit to prove to not be dropped. However, these guys are step above those receivers who are on the outside looking in. Those players who need to shock the coaching staff and make the biggest jumps to make the active roster include: Robert Foster, Mack Hollins, Allen Hurns, Kai Locksley, Kirk Merritt and Albert Wilson.
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Although Wilson restructured his contract, he opted out of last season, which if fine, but the writing was on the wall when Miami drafted his on-field replacement in Waddle.
As far as expectations go, Miami has kept seven active receivers before and could do it again. After heading into multiple weeks last seasons with all reserve wideouts, this could be the deepest positional group on the depth chart.
The tight end group should be one of the easiest to figure out.
Mike Gesicki is the starter and has been on fire since coming to the Dolphins. Durham Smythe should also earn the No. 2 nod and be in a lot of schemes as the blocking TE. Both Adam Shaheen (No. 3) and newly-drafted Hunter Long (No. 4) should each make the active roster as well.
Expect Miami to keep all four known-TE names and cut everyone else on the depth chart.
For this offensive line there are a lot of battles to keep an eye on, especially after last season. The most likely starting players for Miami are Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley, Matt Skura, Robert Hunt and rookie Liam Eichenberg (University of Notre Dame).
The likely backups include D.J. Fluker, veterans Michael Deiter and Jesse Davis, and Larnel Coleman (rookie) with another to be named later.
Coleman will be in one of the bigger fights for the final roster spot should it come down to it, meanwhile, Fluker could have a starting role at center and Deiter could be the swing tackle that propels him to the top.
Some of the players who could be losing out in these positional battles are Adam Pankey, who is most likely to make the roster should Coleman falter in any way, Jonathan Hubbard, Cameron Tom and Tyler Gauthier.
While all of these players have the chance to make it into the depth chart, these guys are the most likely to be cut due to personal issues or the fact that Miami has more solid offensive lineman it can bolster its line with.
Depending on the amount of flex head coach Brian Flores wants with the OL will determine the number of skill guys kept. We will know more post-camp.
Editor’s Note: Kai Locksley does not have a player profile on profootballreference.com, the site FPC Dolphins uses to highlight players.
Editor’s Note: FPC Dolphins’ defensive preseason depth chart preview will post in the coming days as Part Two of this segment.
– Alessandro Senatore is a Sports Contributor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins who specializes in the NFL Draft and fantasy sports. Like and follow on Follow @AM_Senatore Follow @FPC_Dolphins and Facebook.
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