The Miami Dolphins have set their 53-man roster today.
Here are the roster moves:
DT Isaako Aaitui
G David Arkin
C Sam Brenner
WR Kevin Cone
G Evan Finkenburg
CB Kevin Fogg
WR Matt Hazel
S Jordan Kovacs
QB Seth Lobato
TE Kyle Miller
DE Tevin Mims
DE D’Aundre Reed
K Jake Rogers
DT Garrison Smith
RB/WR Marcus Thigpen
RB Daniel Thomas
LB Andrew Wilson
TE Evan Wilson
PLACED ON RESERVE INJURED:
DT Kamal Johnson
G Tony Hills
PLACED ON RESERVE/SUSPENDED BY COMMISSIONER
S Reshad Jones
DE Dion Jordan
So what does this all mean to me?
I'm not thrilled with the running back position. The Dolphins kept Knowshon Moreno, Lamar Miller and Orleans Darkwa and Damien Williams. Moreno is a good-to-average NFL running back. But watching him in his one preseason outing and at practice compared to the other runners in the Miami stable is like watching Jim Brown in his prime compared to other guys.
That should not be the case.
The Dolphins need upgrade there.
Lamar Miller, who might be the starter, is a change-of-pace guy who can hit the home run if he finds the right crack. Those cracks were much more commonplace in college than they are in the NFL. Thus those runs Miller would provide at the University of Miami don't happen all that often with the Dolphins. He is still valuable. But the fact he's the starter or the No. 2 guy tells you something's amiss. He is a great No. 3 guy.
Damien Miller and Orleans Darkwa? Both are undrafted rookies. Both made this team by looking solid against second- and third-team competition. To me, they are both developmental players. To the Dolphins, they're both one fo the top 53. That worries.
At tight end the Dolphins don't one an inline complete tight end in the bunch. Charles Clay is becoming a star but he's an H-back type. Think Aaron Hernandez without the trail of alleged felonies. But he's not the traditional TE.
Dion Sims is a solid blocker but not a pass-catching threat of significance. Gator Hoskins, the third tight end on the roster, is a developmental player. He has the makings of a solid receiver. I like him in that role. But he's not a blocker. He's not complete yet. This position needs attention.
I'm not thrilled with the DE situation. The suspension of Dion Jordan means Derrick Shelby is the No. 3 DE behind starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. That's fine on run downs. Shelby is every bit a solid run stopper. That's not great on pass downs because pass-rushing is not Shelby's signature.
The Dolphins can use maybe Jared Odrick at DE but that would affect their DT rotation.
Interestingly, the team has used linebacker Chris McCain and also Phillip Wheeler in pass rush roles a lot during the preseason. The zone blitz has been on display a lot in the preseason. So I guess there will be other ways to try to get to the QB when Wake or Vernon are resting.
The secondary is interesting because someone currently employed will likely be gone when Reshad Jones returns from his four-game suspension. Don Jones and Michael Thomas will be battling it out the next few weeks for some roster certainty.
Along the offensive line, the Dolphins are banking that if Samson Satele goes down during a game then Nate Garner can fill in right away. I would expect the team will try to bring Sam Brenner back on practice squad. That way, if Satele goes down, Brenner can be promoted to the active roster and start in his place while Garner goes back to his swing position -- in that he's able to play RT, G and C in a pinch.
If the Dolphins don't sign Brenner to the practice squad, they will have to sign some other center to that squad.
By the way, you had better hope Branden Albert is healthy all year long because the backup left tackle -- regardless of the fact Jason Fox and Garner are on the team -- just might be rookie Ja'Wuan James. James is the starting right tackle.
The Dolphins kept five undrafted free agents today: LB Chris McCain, DT Anthony Johnson, RB Damien Williams, RB Orleans Darkwa and TE Harold "Gator" Hoskins.
That means either general manager Dennis Hickey and his staff can turn over rocks and pull out talent like the dickens or the relative amount of talent on this team is not as high as we might be inclined to think, thus opening the door for undrafted guys.
Combined with the six draft picks on the roster, the Dolphins have 11 rookies on the team. Either this team that was not old to begin with just got a great infusion of youth ... Or, again, the talent level that was here previously simply was not as high as we might be inclined to believe.
That will be settled starting Sept. 7.