With the last game of the preseason upon us, NFL rosters are becoming ever more clear. Coaches know exactly what they want and who they want. This was evident when the Dolphins cut nine players a few days ago to trim the roster down to 70 players.
Only a few roster spots are safe for now. Others are still battling it out to make the 53-man roster for the regular season.
There are those players that have underachieved and haven't shown much during games. Those are the easier ones to cut. Then there are those that have played well or that have some potential that not many others have, making the coach hesitate in cutting him. These are the players over whom coaches have a headache.
Here are some players that are going to be tough to cut for Joe Philbin.
Fuller came into camp as an undrafted free agent. He was one of Ryan Tannehill's go-to guys at Texas A&M, which plays a big part in why the Dolphins decided to pick him up. With the lack of depth at the wide receiver position, the Dolphins need a big, physical receiver that can help them out in the red zone.
Fuller can also help Tannehill transition to being an NFL starting quarterback by making him feel more comfortable when he sees a target he's familiar with. Tannehill will eventually develop chemistry with his other receivers and tight ends, but he has chemistry with Fuller already and that's nothing coach Philbin can disregard.
Fuller hasn't been the best receiver for the Dolphins this preseason, but lack of depth and familiarity with Tannehill and the offensive system might play a big role in securing a roster spot.
Clyde Gates is one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL. His blazing speed is a threat to defensive backs every time he steps on the field. However, Gates has failed to utilize that speed while being a threat to catch the ball as well.
Now in his second year in the league, Gates has shown very little in practice and has been nearly invisible during games. The one thing that may prevent him from being cut is his speed.
Coaches know that if Gates begins producing, he may be unstoppable. He can blow the top off a defense, allowing for the middle of the field to be open for tight ends and Davone Bess.
If coaches go on productivity alone, Gates may have already been cut. But his speed is so intriguing that it will secure him a roster spot again this year.
Jonas Gray hasn't taken a snap in any of the Dolphins' preseason games. He hasn't even taken a snap at practice yet. However, the Dolphins believe that Gray has special abilities since they have yet to cut him.
The Dolphins signed Gray as an unrestricted free agent knowing he was still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during his last game at Notre Dame. Miami has placed Gray on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, which will sit him out until at least the sixth game of the season.
Even though Gray hasn't played with Miami yet, his productivity at Notre Dame speaks for itself. He is a 5'10", 230-pound bruiser that can step in for Daniel Thomas if Thomas is unable to show any improvement from last year.
The Dolphins haven't cut Gray yet, and I doubt they will cut him at all. There is a lot of intrigue about Gray's game and it will be a tough decision for coach Philbin to make.
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