The keyword for the Miami Dolphins as they enter their 2013 training camp is new.
New logo, new uniforms, plenty of new faces and a new hope for a successful season.
Ryan Tannehill returns for year two of a career which Dolphins fans hope becomes a storied one. This time around he will have new targets to throw to, with the hope being an improvement on a rookie year that saw him throw for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. One challenge he will have is a revamped running game minus Reggie Bush and a revamped offensive line minus Jake Long.
On defense, Miami shows the most promise, with a deep defensive line, a new but young and fast linebacking corps and a secondary that's definitely new but also hopes to be improved.
Currently, there are 90 men on the Miami Dolphins' roster going into training camp. Let's take a look at these men and what each one will have to do in order to crack the final 53 come September.
Note: Listed next to names are given roster numbers.
Ryan Tannehill (No. 17)
Tannehill is expected to make the biggest leap out of all of the sophomore quarterbacks this season due to the new acquisitions that will surround him in 2013. The key will come in how long it takes for Tannehill to develop chemistry with his new targets, but we might not have to worry about that as much as we think when we consider that last season, Tannehill worked with Brian Hartline the least, as he was dealing with injuries throughout training camp, yet it was Hartline who led the Dolphins in catches and yards.
In the end, the Dolphins will only go as far as Tannehill can take them.
Matt Moore (No. 8)
Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins in 2013. That is as close to inevitable as saying that LeBron James is the starting small forward for the Miami Heat in 2013-14. But if an injury or general ineffectiveness during the season befalls Tannehill, the Dolphins do have the best insurance policy in the NFL in backup Matt Moore. As a starter with the Dolphins, Moore is a respectable 7-6 since 2011.
Pat Devlin (No. 7)
The teacher's pet returns to the Dolphins for a third season as the third quarterback. Why is Devlin called the teacher's pet? Joe Philbin gave him the nickname. This preseason and training camp shouldn't be any different from the last two that featured Devlin. He will do well in camp, then do well in the limited series he plays during the preseason, followed by Dolphins fans wondering why he's isn't competing with Tannehill for the starting job.
Aaron Corp (No. 3)
Corp is simply nothing more than an extra arm who will be needed for training camp. His best chance for staying on the team is beating out Pat Devlin for the number three quarterback spot, but in all honesty, would you bet against the teacher's pet?
Lamar Miller (No. 26)
Miller is the top contender to be the Dolphins' starting running back. While there will be a competition for the starting job, Miller will likely only lose the number one spot if he gets hurt or he is badly outperformed by Daniel Thomas or Mike Gillislee.
Daniel Thomas (No. 33)
Thomas showed plenty of promise and potential during his rookie season, but since then he has been mired in a funk of inconsistency and injuries. We do know that Thomas can be an excellent, between-the-tackles runner with good burst when he's healthy, and he will likely have a role on this team if he stays healthy and consistent throughout training camp.
Mike Gillislee (No. 35)
Gillislee could be just about anything for the Dolphins. He has an outside shot of rising up the depth chart as their starter if everything breaks his way, or he could get limited carries in his rookie year and find himself relegated to special teams assignments. Anything in between is in play for this talented back from Florida.
Marcus Thigpen (No. 34)
Thigpen turned heads last year as Miami's main return man, a role he will likely reprise in 2013 alongside Jonas Gray. Thigpen could also see the field on offense as a slot receiver in the mold of Randall Cobb in Green Bay, and it would be a mistake for the Dolphins to not consider using him as a weapon.
Jonas Gray (No. 32)
Gray hopes to be Jeff Ireland's next great undrafted free agent acorn, providing the Dolphins with more speed on kickoff and punt returns. It's likely that Gray will replace the traded Davone Bess as Miami's second punt and kick returner if he makes the squad.
Cameron Marshall (No. 6)
Marshall, who went undrafted out of Arizona State, looks to be more of a developmental project for the Dolphins at this time. His chances of making the 53-man roster are slim. However, a practice squad position is very likely for him.
Note: this section is still in the process of changing, depending on if the Dolphins wind up signing Vontae Leach.
Charles Clay (No. 42)
For the last two years, Charles Clay has split his time between tight end and fullback (mainly tight end), coming off to slow starts to the season before showing some flashes of greatness when it comes to catching the ball. Clay has shown an ability to block well too, which is why he likely will be used exclusively as a fullback.
Jorvorskie Lane (No. 41)
At the start of the 2012 season, Lane proved himself as a great goal-line situation back that can get you what seems like the toughest yard on the field. However, as the season progressed, Lane regressed both in his running and his blocking. His pass catching also left much to be desired for the Dolphins, which is why Lane might not only be fighting for a starting job this preseason, but for a job with the Dolphins in general.
Evan Rodriguez (No. 48)
Miami only acquired Rodriguez last month after putting in a waiver-wire claim on the fullback who the Bears released following two alcohol-related arrests (including a DUI) during the offseason. However, at 24, Rodriguez is still a young man and still has plenty of potential both at fullback and at tight end.
Mike Wallace (No. 11)
The prize of Miami's 2013 offseason is expected to have a huge impact on Miami's offense. The hope is that with Wallace's speed and Tannehill's big arm, the Dolphins will create plenty of offensive fireworks during the season.
Brian Hartline (No. 82)
The Dolphins would love to see Hartline replicate his 74 receptions for 1,083 yards from 2012, which he could definitely do. However, an increase from one touchdown is what the Dolphins really would like to see out of Hartline now that he will likely not get double-teamed thanks to the Mike Wallace signing.
Brandon Gibson (No. 10)
Gibson showed a lot of promise with St. Louis last season, but was far from consistent. His numbers as a Ram scream No. 3 wide receiver, however, you will notice that most of those numbers came in only three games (including one against the Dolphins). Throughout mini-camp and OTA's, it appeared that Armon Binns was a threat to take Gibson's spot as the third receiver. However, training camp will likely tell a better story to help differentiate between the two.
Armon Binns (No. 19)
Binns has impressed many during OTAs and mini-camp with his improvement over last season, and should make it onto the final 53-man roster if he can continue that progress into training camp. However, it will get tougher for him, as during OTAs he mostly worked against second- and third-unit defensive backs, but now will be working against the first-team defense.
Rishard Matthews (No. 18)
The second-year receiver out of Nevada teased Dolphins fans with his speed when he saw the field last season, however, at times he appeared to have issues holding onto the catch itself. At best right now, Matthews is looking at competing for the fifth receiver job. However, it will be a tough battle for him to hold onto the roster spot.
Jeff Fuller (No. 14)
After going undrafted out of Texas A&M in the 2012 NFL Draft, Fuller reunited with his head coach and quarterback with the Dolphins, spending last season on the Dolphins' practice squad. Fuller leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to speed, and will barely fight for a roster position through training camp. A second year on the practice squad, however, might not be out of the question.
Brian Tyms (No. 85)
Like Fuller, Brian Tyms spent last season on the Dolphins' practice squad, and will be looking to earn a roster spot in 2013. If he continues to show the improvement the Dolphins saw last season, there's a good chance that Tyms could wind up on an NFL roster, even if it's not the Dolphins' roster. With the speed that Tyms has, there will always be a market for him.
Marvin McNutt (No. 87)
Marvin McNutt is in a position to make noise during the preseason, especially since he will be working with his wide receivers coach from Iowa in Dolphins' receivers coach Ken O'Keefe. His size and speed are what the Dolphins tend to look for in a wide receiver, however, like the rest of the wide receivers from four on down, he will have to shine in the weeks leading up to the start of the season to make it on the Dolphins' roster.
Jasper Collins (No. 83)
Collins comes from Division III Mount Union, where his impressive numbers made him the only Division III player to earn an invite to the East-West Shrine Game last January. With a 4.49 40-yard dash time and plenty of potential, he's a possible practice-squad player this season for the Dolphins.
Chad Bumphis (No. 16)
Bumphis has the highest profile of Miami's undrafted free agents coming from Mississippi State, however, while he does show promise and potential, he will be neck-and-neck with Jasper Collins in terms of which player will likely wind up on Miami's practice squad.
Dustin Keller (No. 81)
Next to Mike Wallace, Keller stands out as Miami's biggest offensive weapon signed during the offseason. After killing the Dolphins while playing for the Jets, Keller's pass-catching skills will be used for good instead of evil as Ryan Tannehill's safety blanket, specifically in the red zone.
Michael Egnew (No. 84)
How much development has there been with Egnew? Is it enough that he will see the field at any time during the 2013 season? It would be a major waste for the Dolphins if Egnew spends a second year on the bench due to his lack of blocking skills, since he is a third-round draft pick.
Dion Sims (No. 80)
Sims comes to Miami from Michigan State as one of the best blockers in this year's rookie tight end class, but, since leaving Michigan State, he has also cut down on his weight, which should make him a major factor in the battle for the second tight end position during training camp.
Kyle Miller (No. 86)
Miller bounced from the Jacksonville Jaguars, to the Indianapolis Colts, then to the Miami Dolphins last season, where he spent most of the season on the Colts' practice squad, was activated for one game, then released by the Colts, who had the hope of re-signing him to the practice squad until the Dolphins claimed him off of the waiver wire. Miller served as a long snapper in college, and will likely make the team if for no other reason than as a backup to John Denney at the position.
Jonathan Martin (No. 71)
No pressure for Jonathan Martin this season, other than the pressure of living down a bad rookie year that saw him change from left tackle to right tackle at the start of the year, then go back once Jake Long got hurt. Now with a full offseason at left tackle, there should be stability for Martin. However, if he fails to perform, the Dolphins' offense will be dead-on-arrival.
Tyson Clabo (No. 77)
Clabo's signing was an important one, as it allows the Dolphins to permanently shift Martin to the left side while improving the right side of the offensive line. This should allow for improved run blocking on the right side, as Clabo will take some of the pressure off of John Jerry. This will also lead to better pass protection on the right side of the offensive line, which has been problematic for the Dolphins in the last three years.
Nate Garner (No. 75)
Last season, Garner filled in admirably at right tackle after Martin was shifted to left tackle with Long's injury. This season, Garner is once again freed up to be Miami's offensive-line supersub.
Will Yeatman (No. 72)
Yeatman came into the NFL as a tight end, but in the last two seasons he has shifted towards playing offensive line. Yeatman appeared in four games last season, and should continue to progress as a lineman, ensuring one of Joe Philbin's prized pupils a roster spot in 2013.
Jeff Adams (No. 60)
The Columbia grad is entering his second season in the NFL. After getting released by the Cowboys last season, Adams spend 2012 on the practice squads of both the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. He's considered a good developmental project, and has the agility to move to the interior of the offensive line if needed.
Andrew McDonald (No. 67)
Last season, McDonald impressed coaches during rookie camp enough to stay on the Dolphins' practice squad for the duration of the 2012 season. Could 2013 see McDonald graduate to the final 53?
Richie Incognito (No. 68)
Fresh off of his first Pro Bowl appearance, Incognito becomes even more important as Miami's left guard , as he will have guide left tackle Jonathan Martin in his development as Miami's left tackle while being the veteran voice along the offensive line.
John Jerry (No. 74)
Jerry might get a few auditions at left and right tackle during training camp and the preseason, and will also be involved in a slight battle for the starting right tackle spot with new acquisition Lance Louis, but for now, he is the front runner as Miami's right guard.
Lance Louis (No. 61)
Louis will compete with Jerry for the right guard position, but look for Jerry to hold onto the spot. This will allow Louis to serve as depth along the line, which Miami sorely needs anyways.
Dallas Thomas (No. 70)
Thomas is Miami's developmental project/heir apparent to Incognito at left guard in 2013. You won't see him on the field during the regular season as much as you would normally expect to see a third-round draft pick, but he will get a handful of plays at both guard spots and from time to time at the tackle spots to see where he'd fit in Miami's scheme.
Chris Barker (No. 62)
Much like Thomas, Barker is a rookie who will more than likely be a developmental project in 2013 for the Dolphins. The question is will Barker be allowed to develop on the practice squad, or as one of the 53 on the roster?
Chandler Burden (No. 63)
Last season, Burden was signed as a camp body at offensive line, however, he managed to stay around on the practice squad developing. This season, Burden will likely be more than a camp body for the Dolphins as he fights to earn a spot on the final roster.
Mike Pouncey (No. 51)
Mike Pouncey was one of the best centers in the NFL last season, and will look to replicate that this season. His steadiness last season is one of the main reasons why Tannehill performed fairly well in his rookie season, and will be a huge asset in Tannehill's further development this season.
Josh Samuda (No. 64)
Samuda spent much of last season on the practice squad, but this season he will likely get the call up to the final 53 in order to add depth to the offensive line. He will likely see a lot more time at guard than at center, but as the backup just in case Pouncey is hurt.
Sam Brenner (No. 65)
Brenner will get work both at guard and at center in training camp, and did play some left tackle while at Utah. How much his college versatility helps him make it onto the final roster will be seen, but with his size, it's likely he will stick to the interior as a guard or center, likely spending 2013 on the practice squad.
Cameron Wake (No. 91)
How do you make one of the best pass rushers in the league better? By lining him up next to the top pass rusher available in the draft. That's exactly what the Dolphins did by drafting Dion Jordan, which should help Wake match (or even surpass) his 2012 sack numbers.
Dion Jordan (No. 95)
The Dolphins don't trade up in the first round often, so when they do, there's obviously a lot of pressure on the player they traded up for. Going into camp, Jordan has the starting job as the second defensive end. However, he will face some stiff competition at what's arguably one of Miami's deepest positions. Either way, Jordan will get plenty of playing time at defensive end.
Olivier Vernon (No. 50)
Vernon will not only compete with Jordan for the starting job at defensive end, but he will also likely see some time at linebacker during the 2013 season.
Jared Odrick (No. 98)
Odrick will see the field as a defensive end occasionally, but will spend most of his time rotating in and out as an interior lineman, as he will replace whichever interior lineman the Dolphins choose to let go in free agency next year.
Derrick Shelby (No. 79)
An undrafted free agent out of Utah signed by the Dolphins after starting for four years in college, Shelby showed great development last season while contributing on special teams, and will look to do the same this year while cracking the defensive end/linebacker rotation.
Emeka Onyenekwu (No. 69)
Onyenekwu is an underafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette who has the misfortune of attempting to make the team at one of their deepest positions. Likely a camp body, Onyenekwu could see the practice squad in 2013.
Tristan Okpalaugo (No. 77)
Okpalaugo is a camp body right now who not only can play as a 4-3 defensive end, but also fill in as a 4-3 SAM linebacker. Expect him to get playing time at both positions during the preseason and training camp.
Randy Starks (No. 94)
The main question surrounding Starks isn't about his play (expect another great season out of him), but rather will he and the Dolphins agree to a long-term deal? The deadline, however, has passed, and right now that looks to be a no-go.
Paul Soliai (No. 96)
Like Starks, Soliai is in a contract year for the Dolphins. Unlike Starks, it's not under a franchise deal, meaning there isn't the rush to negotiate. Miami will have to pick between the two players, who in 2013 have a firm grip on the starting job.
Kheeston Randall (No. 97)
Randall is not only playing to join the regular Dolphins defensive-line rotation, but also for the chance to become a starter for the Dolphins in 2014, with the uncertainty that the line has after the 2013 season comes to a close. After showing improvement last season, he hopes to make the leap this season.
Vaughn Martin (No. 90)
An under-the-radar free agent acquisition for the Dolphins, Martin will fill in the role played by Tony McDaniel last year as Miami's defensive line supersub, spelling Soliai and Starks from time to time while maintaining a veteran presence.
A.J. Francis (No. 76)
The story of A.J. Francis was one of the most interesting of the offseason, as he got engaged at the same time he signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent (it was also his birthday). As happy as that day was, it will take a lot for Francis to fulfill his dream and make the 53-man roster, as he's likely a camp body destined for the practice squad in 2013 as a developmental project for the Dolphins.
Christopher Burnette (No. 78)
Burnette is one of many camp bodies along the defensive line signed by the Dolphins. Burnette's career at Old Dominion shows an athlete with plenty of promise and potential, but with the Dolphins deep at the position, it will be an uphill battle for space.
Tracy Robertson (No. 89)
Robertson spent 2012 either on a respective team's practice squad or looking for work, and since January, he has already been signed and released by the Patriots before signing with the Dolphins. Likely nothing more than a camp body right now.
Koa Misi (No. 55)
Misi broke out in 2012 in a way I didn't expect him to. His play was much more consistent, while he showed greater maturity on the field. His continued progress and development will be a major help when mixed with Miami's new linebacking corps.
Jason Trusnik (No. 93)
Listed by the Dolphins as a linebacker, Trusnik can also play on the defensive line when a sub is needed. This type of versatility is seen throughout Miami's linebackers and defensive ends.
Lee Robinson (No. 58)
Robinson has bounced around the NFL and CFL, mainly as a special teams player and on the practice squad. In Miami, he's likely a camp body who will be looking for a shot at sticking to a 53-man roster.
Alonzo Highsmith (No. 45)
The son of the former University of Miami running back is looking to make an impression at linebacker with the Dolphins after going undrafted out of Arkansas. For right now, expect plenty of puff pieces about Highsmith's "homecoming" (despite the fact that he was actually born and raised in Texas while his dad was born and raised in South Florida) from the media, while Highsmith will likely compete for a spot and find himself as a developmental piece with the Dolphins.
Dannell Ellerbe (No. 59)
Ellerbe hopes to create his own legacy with the Dolphins similar to the one left by his predecessor in Baltimore at the linebacker position. Already, he has talked up the Dolphins, but how will he perform on the field in leading the defense?
Austin Spitler (No. 53)
Spitler has spent the first three years of his career with the Dolphins as a special teams ace. In 2013, don't expect that to change much, but do expect Spitler to spell Ellerbe in the middle from time to time.
Jelani Jenkins (No. 43)
Jenkins is an intriguing prospect who looks to be the future for the Dolphins at the linebacker position, however, we will wait a little bit for that future to come. Jenkins will spend most of 2013 on special teams while using the year to develop.
Michael Clay (No. 49)
Alongside Dion Jordan, Clay helped Oregon's defense wreak havoc in the Pac-12, but this time, it's unlikely the two players will see the field together, for while Jordan is pegged as Miami's next great pass rusher, Clay is but a camp body who will likely only make the Dolphins on special teams or through the practice squad in 2013.
Philip Wheeler (No. 52)
Wheeler came to Miami with the goal of being the linebacker that can line-up and cover the fast and athletic tight end that has done the Dolphins in in the last few seasons. This year he will have his work cut out for him as the Dolphins will get their usual matchup with Gronk and the Pats, as well as match-ups against Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. It will be Wheeler's job to match-up with and neutralize these players.
Jonathan Freeny (No. 56)
Freeny has spent the last two seasons on special teams in a role that isn't likely to change in 2013. He does provide great depth, and still has plenty of room to grow in terms of getting more playing time.
Josh Kaddu (No. 57)
Kaddu is another Oregon product who brings speed to the Dolphins defense, and like many other linebacker/pass rushers he brings versatility to the Dolphins as well. He will likely be back on the main 53-man roster for 2013.
David Hinds (No. 47)
Hinds got a tryout from the Dolphins after going undrafted out of Florida Atlantic University, and parlayed that into a spot on the 90-man roster heading into training camp. He will work to parlay that into a spot on the 53-man roster, but for now looks to be a camp body with some practice squad potential.
Brent Grimes (No. 21)
Miami revamped it's secondary over the off-season with a mixture of free agents and draft picks, with Grimes being the biggest prize out of the lot. With an affordable one-year deal, Grimes has the chance to be a bargain for the 'phins if he can return to his 2011-level of play in Atlanta.
Richard Marshall (No. 31)
Marshall works well as a nickleback, however for now he has the second starting spot due to his experience. How long this will last remains to be seen, as it will likely take a flat training camp from rookie Jamar Taylor for Marshall to remain as Miami's second starting corner (especially when he has excelled in the past as a nickleback).
Jamar Taylor (No. 22)
Taylor shows plenty of potential as a ballhawk corner who's suited well to Miami's zone coverage scheme, and will challenge Marshall heavily for the second starting cornerback slot.
Will Davis (No. 29)
Davis likely won't start anytime soon, and likely is destined for a career as a nickleback, however expect to see him on the field for a plethora of plays for the Dolphins all around the secondary.
Dimitri Patterson (No. 24)
Due mainly to his salary (and not how he played), I'm fairly shocked to see Patterson on Miami's roster going into training camp. However it does make sense when you consider the problems that Miami's top-two corners have had with injuries as well as the inexperience at the position in back of those two. Patterson is the ultimate bubble boy during training camp, only because of his cap number, and there's a good possibility that Miami releases him in the final cuts only to bring him back later in the season (or prior to Week 2).
Nolan Carroll (No. 28)
Carroll showed great improvement in 2012, even surprising me with his play from time to time. This year the cornerback position looks to be more competitive, but Carroll is a fairly safe bet to remain on the Dolphins' roster barring a complete implosion on his part. As a nickleback, Carroll has done a good job in the past, and will likely fill out that role (from a depth perspective) in 2013.
R.J. Stanford (No. 25)
Stanford is another Miami corner who's position on the team is on the fence right now. He performed strong when called upon last season after being claimed off of waivers from the Panthers.
De'Andre Presley (No. 23)
Presley spent last season on the Dolphins' practice squad after being cut after training camp by the Chargers. Coming out of college Presley played quarterback, however he spent most of last year developing as a corner, however this year is likely a camp body for the Dolphins.
Julian Posey (No. 38)
Posey spent time on the practice squads of both the Dolphins and the Jets last season, and this season comes into training camp as a Dolphin, likely as a camp body.
Reshad Jones (No. 20)
Reshad Jones was one of the best safeties in the NFL last season, and in 2013 will look to make the leap towards being consistently considered among the elite. Having a better secondary around him will help him, however with this being a contract year, Jones will have a lot more to play for than just his reputation.
Chris Clemons (No. 30)
Clemons has been consistent with the Dolphins since being drafted back in 2009, and like Jones faces a contract season (for Clemons it's the second consecutive year). So far during OTAs, Clemons has shown great leadership, which hopefully will translate into the season.
Jimmy Wilson (No. 27)
There is a lot of talent at the safety position for the Miami Dolphins, and in his first two seasons, Wilson has showed promise and at times has impressed, but with the talent behind him, he could be facing a battle in training camp to keep his roster spot.
Kelcie McCray (No. 37)
McCray is one player who could threaten to steal a roster spot this training camp. He was on the verge of doing so last year, however an injury suffered during the preseason would keep him sidelined. McCray got the attention of Miami's coaches last season, and this season if he remains healthy could be the season he earns his way into the final 53.
Don Jones (No. 36)
Jones shows a lot of potential at the safety position despite the fact that he mainly played cornerback at Arkansas State. However his size is better suited for safety, as are his hits.
Jordan Kovacs (No. 44)
Kovacs was one of the most impressive names to come out of Miami's rookie mini-camp, and will be an intriguing name to watch during the preseason. If he doesn't make it onto Miami's final 53-man roster, don't be too surprised if he winds up on another team's.
Keelan Johnson (No. 40)
In an interview with scout.com, Johnson said he felt there was an opportunity to earn a starting spot with the Dolphins. If he does, it will be impressive, however for now it looks like he will have to differentiate himself from the rest of the safeties just to earn a spot in the final 53, let alone a starting spot. However, if he doesn't make the final cut, it's fairly safe to pencil him onto Miami's practice squad.
Brandon Fields (Punter, No. 2)
John Denney (Long Snapper, No. 92)
We can practically agree that these two are in no risk of losing their jobs in training camp barring an injury.
As for Miami's punt and kick returnmen, those are discussed in the running backs section.
Dan Carpenter (Kicker, No. 5)
In this corner we have the veteran who had his struggles last season, however, found himself back on the mark after a horrific two weeks in September of 2012 that saw him get the blame for two Dolphins' losses.
Caleb Sturgis (Kicker, No. 9)
In this corner we have the younger, cheaper rookie who Miami drafted in round five out of Florida. This will be one of the biggest battles in all of training camp, and as long as Sturgis can match Carpenter's performance, he will likely win the starting job, while Carpenter will have to look elsewhere.