On Tuesday of this week the Dolphins will have to maintain a 72 man roster. This won’t be a problem, as the team has already cut down to 70.
The Phinisher however, is going to go right ahead and get his foot ready for his mouth and begin a series of projections of who will be on the eventual 53-man roster.
Today I throw darts wildly at the offense, which will carry 26 players (so say I).
As an added bonus I am adding my dream list for the offensive practice squad. I feel somewhat safe saying that the practice squad list should hold up. Parcells & Co shouldbe able to hold onto the rookie free agents they want to further look at.
1. QB1 - Chad Pennington.
Chad Pennington has looked sharp so far. This is the best QB situation we’ve had since Marino.
2. QB2 - Chad Henne
Henne has blown the competition (John Beck, Josh McCown out of the water). The rookie QB of the future comes equipped with a rifle arm and the presence of a grizzled veteran.
3. QB3 – John Beck
This pick is chosen only if a trade doesn’t go through. Parcells will get something for him, whether it’s now or later. If he’s traded before the cuts then McCown remains here. Otherwise McCown is cut and Beck lingers to run the scout team. I’ll even go so far as to predict the wild card scenario: If McCown is cut and then a few weeks later a trade for Beck goes down then the whole Quincy Carter thing makes perfect sense (the Dolphins brought Carter in to see him play – then told him to get in better shape).
4. HB1 - Ricky Williams
What can I say? Ricky should produce big things this year. He will have the heavy lifting squarely on his shoulders until Ronnie gets back into form later this season. Then things get crazy.
5. HB2 - Ronnie Brown.
Ronnie will have a slow start this year. He will begin to contribute in a big way after a few games go by. Don’t be shocked if he is put on the PUP for a week or two.
6. HB3 - Patrick Cobbs
The little engine that can… Play special teams but not run so much. Sparano would love to have Jalen Parmele on the active roster instead of Cobbs, but Cobbs is too much of a special teams ace. Every year he proves that he can run down field with the best of them. The only bump here for Cobbs is if Parmele starts to show up on special teams in a big way. Then there might be an issue.
7. FB1 - Boomer Grigsby
How great is it to play fullback and have a name like Boomer Grigsby? Boomer gets the starting nod. That being said, Reagan Mauia might be better at those cruel isolation blocks. Boomer seems to have better hands and a knack for making plays and thus I think he wins out. He is the better special teams player and if they carry only one FB it will be him.
8. FB2 - Reagan Mauia
He needs to sure up his catching ability and start to show making plays in special teams. The power emphasis of this offense will require lots of extra blockers. Mauia fits the bill.
9. C – Samson Satele
The man is tough. He’s tempering in the daily fire blocking Jason Ferguson this season and I think we can expect improvement on what was already solid play in his rookie campaign.
10. OT1- Jake Long
Number 1 draft pick… Nuff said? Well, the man plays like one too. His game will clean up and he’ll do some maturing, but he is a key part of what looks like the best Dolphins line in years.
11. OT2 - Vernon Carey
I bet you one drink that Carey is a Pro Bowler this year.
12. OT3 - Ikechuku Ndukwe
Ndukwe, or the best available FA will round out the depth at tackle. Ndukwe has looked solid in his reserve role so I personally believe he’ll stick.
13. OT4 – Best Available FA Tackle
Whether on the team of found after the Cuts. Hopefully a wily old Vet.
14. OG1 - Justin Smiley
A great FA signing. Smiley, if healthy, can also reach the Pro Bowl.
15. OG2 - Donald Thomas
Holy Crap. Have you seen this guy’s neck? Donald Thomas never played football in High School and did not walk on to his college team until his sophomore year. This 6th round diamond is now de-cleating some of the best defensive tackles in the league. Way-to-go Big Tuna! This is what we needed.
16. OG3 - Shawn Murphy
Not to be lost behind the story of Thomas, Murphy played incredibly well against the Chiefs. I think he is a great option as a reserve and probably will develop into a solid starter. Interesting fact: Shawn is the son of former MLB slugger Dale Murphy.
17. OG4 - Matt Spanos
Or the best possible FA. I think Spanos will stick. Sparano seems to like the guys he’s got.
18. OG/C - Trey Darilek
Or a true center if a decent one is available after the first round of cuts. They need someone to backup Satele if the terrible happens.
19. WR1 - Ted Ginn, Jr.
The best story this year outside of all the other best stories. Ted Ginn and Pennington seem to have chemistry already. Actually, Ginn and Henne seem to look good together too. Ginn by himself, returning kicks looks good as well. Wait… Maybe Ginn is just plain good.
20. WR2 - Derek Hagan
The winner is… Hagan has been impressive in camp but somewhat lost in games. I think that comes down to one thing: Man coverage. In preseason games most teams run “man” and that means a lot of hitches and out patterns work. Hagan has seemingly lost his case of “dropsies” and may emerge a solid WR. The third year has been the charm for many good wideouts.
21. WR3 - Davone Bess
Mr. Hands. This is a possession receiver if ever there was. He catches anything. Bess will have a lot of 7-yard receptions this year, most of them on 3rd and 6 plays.
22. WR4 – Ernest Wilford
I don’t know about this one. Wilford has been one of the biggest disappointments in the preseason, but I think he sticks because he’s a prototypical player for Pennington’s small ball game. Hopefully the funk he’s been in (and it is get-yourself-cut kind of bad) lifts by season opener. The Dolphins could really use a big target.
23. WR5 - Anthony Armstrong
Decent special teams play as well as a noticeable preseason run will get this Arena Football product on the field. Camarillo’s superior special teams play could get him on here instead but I think the hero of last season is a goner. Both guys lose however, if the Dolphins bring in Terry Glenn, which may just happen.
24. TE1 - Anthony Fasano
Fasano wins the battle for starting TE. He’s the best mix of offensive weapon and serviceable blocker the Phins have. Fasano got a touchdown against the Chiefs but he’s going to have to show more still. TE is a potential weak spot for the Dolphins.
25. TE2 - Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan isn’t much of a receiver. David Martin is clearly better. Sean Ryan though, can knock Martin’s head off blocking and that will get him on this run-first Miami team. Lots of “heavy” double tight end sets will utilize his strength.
26. TE3 - Justin Peelle
I don’t know, but something tells me he makes the team. He can play at the “H” back spot or as a tight end. If David Martin’s blocking truly has improved, then I think either Peele or Ryan (probably Peelle) will be a goner.
Practice Squad – The Wild Guesses
1. WR - Jayson Foster
Last year's Walter Payton award winner from Georgia Southern has a rare set of wheels and the moves to get the most out of them. He is a small player however, and many believe he won’t succeed at the NFL level. One of those people is not Bill Parcells, who hand picked (and personally called Foster's agent) him as an unrestricted free agent after the draft. Bill Parcells will navigate him to the practice squad and give him time to put on a couple of lbs. If Ginn emerges as a true #1 receiver then Foster makes sense as a replacement in the return game.
2. HB/FB - Lex Hilliard
Aside from having a really cool name, Lex is a big halfback. Weighing in around 240 lbs, Lex will hopefully catch on as a special teams player and a true offensive FB. Parcells would like to hold onto him for at least another year. Let’s see if he can develop him into a punishing fullback. The problem is that the guy is good. He may not last in free agency.
3. HB - Jalen Parmele
Parmale is a better runner than Cobbs and with a sensitive Ronnie Brown they need another guy to actually spell Williams. Keeping Parmele around will truly add insurance for the Dolphins running game should Williams or Brown go down. Parmele is a big strong runner who showed break-away speed. He may beat out Cobbs despite Cobbs being a special teams ace. I won’t be shocked if they drop a FB in order to have Parmale and Cobbs suit up. Again, like Lex Hilliard, Parmele may not last after being cut. He looks to be a solid running back in the league.
Wednesday brings the defensive and special teams list.
Check out part II of this inane prediction series.
53 Man Roster Part II - The Defense & Specialists