Miami Dolphins: 5 Wild Cards on the Current Roster That Could Contribute in 2011
A lack of free agency, not being able to trade players, and not being able to work with the rookies is making this offseason extremely difficult for the Dolphins front office and coaching staff.
However, even when those things are in place, sometimes the best move a team can make is to trust the roster you have and develop your own players.
A perfect example for the Miami Dolphins was NT Paul Soliai last year.
Once Jason Ferguson retired, many people were worried that the Dolphins needed to go out and get another NT.
Instead, the Dolphins trusted in Soliai and that trust paid off with a fantastic season by Soliai.
So who could be the next Soliai on the Dolphins roster for this season?
LB A.J. Edds
The depth at LB appears weak for the Dolphins after the starters, but many are not factoring in A.J. Edds.
Edds was a fourth-round selection by the Dolphins in 2010, but he missed the entire 2010 season with a knee injury.
At 6'4", 246 lbs., Edds has the perfect size to be a NFL LB. Edds was very productive in college posting 226 tackles over his four-year career.
Edds can step in and provide a great tackler for the special teams unit.
Edds also has great hands for a LB (he had seven INTs in college). So he could become a viable third-down LB working in coverage. Channing Crowder struggles in coverage a lot, so to be able to get him off the field on third-down would be a major plus.
T Lydon Murtha
I would not be so quick to just pencil in Vernon Carey as the RT for the Dolphins. When Carey is healthy and feeling good, he can be one of the best RTs in the NFL.
Lately, however, he has not been healthy and has really struggled.
Murtha saw action in nine games last season for the Dolphins, starting four games.
As expected, he did struggle at times. It was his first real NFL action so could not expect a lot from him.
Now that he has his feet wet, Murtha could be ready to take that next step.
Murtha is very strong and at 6'7" has an ideal wide wingspan to play tackle. Look for Murtha to push Carey for playing time in 2011.
WR Marlon Moore
I would love to have Mike Sims-Walker as much as the next guy, but Sims-Walker's price tag will probably be too high.
The Dolphins may have the answer already on the roster in Marlon Moore.
As a rookie, Moore played mostly as a reserve in nine games in 2010. His breakout game came against the Oakland Raiders when he caught his first TD, a 57-yard catch, that was the longest play from scrimmage for the Dolphins in 2010.
For the season, he had six catches for 128 yards and the one TD.
He showed flashes in 2010 so if he can become more consistent then he could share time with newly drafted WR Edmund Gates.
S Reshad Jones
The safety position is very weak after starters Chris Clemons and Yeremiah Bell. Where will the depth come from?
In 13 games, including two starts, Jones registered 14 tackles, a sack and an INT.
He was fifth on the team with seven special teams tackles.
In limited action, I liked what I saw from Jones. He obviously had some growing pains and made some mistakes, but that is to be expected for a rookie.
I think Jones is going to break out as a good special teams player, who can also give a breather for Clemons on longer drives by the other team.
RB Kory Sheets
Before his Achilles injury last season, Sheets was primed to be the Dolphins kick returner and third-down speed back in 2010.
The Dolphins coaching staff really like Sheets and it has been said that Sheets was the fastest guy on the Dolphins roster last year.
The Dolphins seem very interested in free agent RB DeAngelo Williams, so Sheets would have to compete hard once again for a roster spot and show versatility.
But if he can come all the way back from his difficult injury, then Sheets could be the Dolphins answer as the speed-back or kick returner option.