Miami Dolphins: 10 Players Feeling the Most Pressure Heading into Camp

Devin NoonanCorrespondent IIIMay 15, 2013

Miami Dolphins: 10 Players Feeling the Most Pressure Heading into Camp

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    With NFL training camp on the horizon, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has made one thing very clear—playing time is not guaranteed.

    Although certain players such as Cameron Wake and Ryan Tannehill are realistically locked into their starting roles, there's nothing wrong with encouraging some healthy competition.

    For the majority of this team, the time spent in training camp and a handful of preseason games will make or break their hopes of seeing the field this fall.

    The following players are some of the guys who will be feeling the heat in more ways than one come July.

John Jerry

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    A myriad of offseason signings by the Miami Dolphins has left John Jerry’s future in jeopardy.

    After showing up to training camp significantly overweight last season, it comes as no surprise that Jerry has already received fair warning this summer.

    The Dolphins’ transition to a zone-blocking scheme doesn’t favor a big blocker with restricted movement, meaning Jerry better be in shape if he hopes to not only retain his starting job but remain with the team altogether.

    In addition to weight concerns, the free-agent signing of Lance Louis and third-round selection of Dallas Thomas certainly doesn't help his job security. It’ll be interesting to see if Jerry uses all of this as motivation or simply crumbles under the pressure.

Dion Jordan

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    When a team trades up nine spots for the third overall pick of the draft, you better believe the expectations are high for that individual.

    Jeff Ireland made the move this year for Dion Jordan, who is still in the process of recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

    Jordan has the size and athleticism that coaches dream of in a pass-rusher, leading the Dolphins to believe the may have finally found a source of pressure opposite Cameron Wake.

    Olivier Vernon and Jared Odrick are both still in the mix and looking to earn some playing time this season, too, so expect the competition to be fierce. As of right now, however, you have to imagine that the position is Jordan's to lose.

Ryan Tannehill

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    With Andrew Luck, RGIII and Russell Wilson dominating last year's rookie headlines, you better believe that Ryan Tannehill is looking to steal the show in year two.

    Despite mediocre blocking and a subpar surrounding cast in his rookie campaign, Tannehill put on a respectable performance in 2012.

    With all of the new toys and upgraded front line that Jeff Ireland brought in this offseason, Tannehill seems primed to put on a clinic this fall.

    People may think I’m jumping the gun a bit when I say this, but this kid is the quarterback whom the Miami Dolphins have been waiting for since Dan Marino retired over a decade ago.

    Combine high expectations such as this with the impressive performance of his young NFL counterparts, and suddenly, the pressure is on.

Michael Egnew

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    Dustin Keller is a truly talented pass-catching tight end and a reliable safety valve for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. When it comes to blocking, however, it appears that Dion Sims will offer the Dolphins the presence that Keller simply cannot.

    With those two guys eating up the bulk of playing time and Charles Clay still looking to improve upon his role from last season, it's evident that Michael Egnew will have his work cut out for him if he wants to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

    There’s no doubt that he’ll be given his fair chance, it’s just a matter of whether or not he can capitalize on that opportunity. It didn't work out well for him last season, so unless he has made some significant improvements, he may be looking for a new job in the near future.

Jonathan Martin

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    With the arrival of Tyson Clabo in Miami, the protection of Tannehill's blind side has officially been passed on to Jonathan Martin.

    The Miami Herald is reporting that Martin has gotten stronger, adding 20 pounds to his frame this offseason. He was already well-known for his hard work ethic, but this just goes to show how passionate and dedicated he is to improving his play.

    Between the added size and the transition back to his natural position on the left side, he has no excuse not to perform significantly better in his second season. His ability to protect the quarterback will play a critical role in the Dolphins' 2013 success.

Jared Odrick

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    Just three years ago, Penn State standout Jared Odrick was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.

    After the emergence of Olivier Vernon last season and this year's selection of Dion Jordan, Odrick finds himself in a bit of a sticky situation. He can still earn playing time at defensive end, but it appears that he'll be best suited sliding to the inside with the new 4-3 defensive scheme.

    With both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks set to enter free agency next season, Odrick could very easily benefit from shifting to the middle and taking one of their spots. If he's not able to do that, however, then his future with the Miami organization is very hazy.

Richie Incognito

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    How can a guy coming off a Pro Bowl season possibly feel pressure entering training camp?

    Well, that’s where the salary cap and an influx of youth comes into play.

    As previously stated, the Dolphins drafted an offensive guard and brought in another via free agency. That means that the 29-year-old Richie Incognito, who commands over $4 million in cap space this season, according to Spotrac, could easily be the next big name cut.

    If the staff thinks they can provide reliable protection between Dallas Thomas, Lance Louis, John Jerry or even Nate Garner handling guard duties, then it wouldn't be a total shock to see Incognito sent packing.

Dimitri Patterson

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    As things currently stand, Dimitri Patterson is poised to make $5.4 million in 2013, according to Spotrac. If you honestly think there is any chance of that actually ever happening, then you need to think again.

    The only way that Patterson finds himself in one of those fresh new Dolphins' uniforms is if he not only plays well in training camp, but he is also willing to renegotiate a sizeable pay cut.

    With Richard Marshall and a handful of rookies also fighting for the No. 2 spot behind Brent Grimes, I'd say the odds are not currently in his favor.

Dan Carpenter

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    A picture is worth a thousand words, but only one word comes to mind when I look at this photo—choke.

    Dan Carpenter blew some big-time kicks in 2012, costing the Dolphins a victory on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for him, that led to the fifth-round selection of kicker Caleb Sturgis in last month's NFL draft.

    Unless Sturgis puts on one of the worst kicking displays of all time in training camp, Carpenter is going to be looking for a new job. With roughly $2.7 million in cap space to be saved from Carpenter's release, it's hard to imagine him retaining a job with the 'Phins this season.

Chris Clemons

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    Being re-signed to a one-year contract means one thing and one thing only—prove your worth.

    While Chris Clemons performed adequately alongside Reshad Jones in 2012, he still had his moments of inconsistency that put a hold on any type of long-term extension.

    While Jones will likely earn his big pay day before the end of this season, Clemons has his work cut out for him if he’s hoping to do the same.

    The Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly already made note of one safety who stood out at the Dolphins’ recent rookie camp—former Michigan Wolverine, Jordan Kovacs. Throw him in the mix with Clemons, Jimmy Wilson and a handful of other young prospects and suddenly you have an intriguing fight for free safety.