Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offense

With a new look offensive system, featuring plenty of new and exciting additions, which players will make the final 53 man roster? Dolphins ATB breakdown the key roster battles ahead of the final pre-season game.

Credit Miami Dolphins- Roster
Mandatory Credit: Miami Dolphins

In years gone by, Miami’s offense has been stagnant to say the least. While the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle attract all of the headlines, a team is only as good as the depth it has on the roster. We break down which players will constitute the much anticipated Mike McDaniel offense in Miami, and who we think makes the Dolphins final 53-man roster.

Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offense

Quarterbacks

  • QB1- Tua Tagovailoa- Lock
  • QB2- Teddy Bridgewater- Lock
  • QB3- Skylar Thompson One to watch

It is somewhat surprising how little we have heard about Teddy Bridgewater during training camp, with Tua taking all of the headlines, both good and bad.

Rather, the biggest surprise has been the emergence of Skylar Thompson. The Dolphins’ 7th round draft pick has been both impressive and consistent throughout the Dolphins’ first two preseason games. During his first two outings in the aqua and orange, Thompson has gone 29/38 for 347 yards, 2 TDs and no picks.

“He looks like he belongs out there. He looks like if he got a call, he would be ready to go…The skill set we saw on tape is what we really liked. The makeup of the guy and the work ethic he has, has enabled him to do what he’s doing. The skill set is there…His feet speak to him and tell when the ball is supposed to be out and where it’s supposed to go. He’s really buying into the details.”

Dolphins’ QB Coach- Darrell Bevell was full of praise while talking about Skylar Thompson during this week’s media availability.

Thompson’s impressive performances have led many to question Bridgewater’s value on the Miami Dolphins 53-man roster, seeing the former Saints QB as a tradeable asset. For the time being at least, Bridgewater is expected to stay with Miami, leaving the Dolphins with the very difficult question of what to do with Thompson.

Available roster spots are few and far between. Miami has not carried three QBs on their final roster since the 2018 season with Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, and David Fales.

Thompson will not likely see the field during the 2022 season. However, if released, it is very likely that Thompson will not clear waivers, having shown enough to be picked up by another team.

In recent years, Miami has committed on average $6 million per year to their back-up QB. With cap space likely to be more of a concern from 2023 onwards with big deals for Hill and Armstead to account for, it may be that Thompson will be a cheaper alternative to acquiring a rental journeyman QB once more.

Running Back /Full Back

  • Chase Edmonds- Lock
  • Alec Ingold- Lock
  • Raheem Mostert- Likely Lock
  • Myles Gaskin/ Salvon Ahmed- Ones to Watch

Miami’s running back depth is perhaps one of the biggest questions heading into the final preseason game. The battle between Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed being the biggest unknown in relation to who makes the Miami Dolphins’ final 53-man roster. Gaskin was consistently the Dolphins’ best running back during the Brian Flores era; his productivity in an otherwise stagnant offense gives him the slight edge on Ahmed.

ZaQuandre White most likely will make it to the practice squad, and may feature during the season given Mostert’s injury history.

Wide Receiver

  • Tyreek Hill- Lock
  • Jaylen Waddle- Lock
  • Erik Ezukanma- Lock
  • Cedrick Wilson- Lock
  • Trent Sherfield- Ones to Watch
  • Lynn Bowden Jr- Ones to Watch

While the above players are locks to make the team for their contributions on offense, the remaining roster spots will most likely be influenced by a player’s contributions to special teams. Lynn Bowden’s all round versatility as a receiver, rusher, returner, and even in the passing game, ought to earn him a roster spot.

The Trent Sherfield/River Cracraft battle is likely to be fiercely contested. Let us not forget that Cracraft was an early recipient of the infamous orange jersey. However, Sherfield’s contributions during camp and overall explosiveness give him the edge.

Preston Williams is likely to be cut, with Braylon Sanders hopefully making his way to the practice squad following an impressive training camp.

Tight End

  • Mike Gesicki- Question Mark
  • Durham Smythe- Lock
  • Hunter Long- Lock

TE was one of Miami’s biggest strengths, now it is one of their biggest unknowns. One thing is for sure: Cethan Carter is almost an inevitability to be cut. Durham Smythe and Hunter Long have been quiet throughout camp. Undrafted free agent Tanner Conner has impressed, however his immediate future seems destined for the practice squad.

What Miami does with Mike Gesicki remains to be seen. It is likely that he will stay, however, one thing is clear: something is not right. Gesicki has been quiet all offseason and has featured long into preseason games, while other starters have been on limited snap counts. Check out fellow Dolphins ATB writer Tim Rodriguez’s article addressing the latest rumors surrounding the star tight end.

Offensive Line

  • Terron Armstead- Lock
  • Connor Williams- Lock
  • Robert Hunt- Lock
  • Liam Eichenberg- Lock
  • Austin Jackson- Lock
  • Michael Deiter- Lock
  • Robert Jones- Likely
  • Solomon Kindley- One to Watch

Here we go again… At least it can’t get any worse… yet! There is no disputing that the additions of Terron Armstead and Connor Williams have certainly bolstered an otherwise woeful offensive line.

With Williams repeatedly struggling with snapping consistency, Michael Deiter has to be a lock to make the final roster in the event that Williams needs to shift back over to LG. The biggest concern has to be at tackle in the event that Armstead goes down. The Dolphins have a lot of versatility on the interior offensive line — not so much at tackle. McDaniel and GM Chris Grier may elect for further depth at tackle in the form of Larnel Coleman rather than Solomon Kindley.

Mike Gesicki Contract Extension: Why It May Not Happen

Mike Gesicki
Credit: Sun Sentinel
Disclaimer: This article is purely speculation, no one has any idea what will happen in the future. I, like most fans, want Gesicki to be re-signed. 

Mike Gesicki is without a doubt one of the Miami Dolphins best players. Not only does he have great chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but he is a playmaker and well liked in the locker room. That being said, the contract of Mike Gesicki is up at the end of the 2021-2022 NFL season.

For fans, it is concerning that Gesicki has not been extended, especially since he is a focal point of the offense. This brings me to ask the question: Is the writing on the wall for Gesicki?

Reason To Worry?

There are really two reasons why Miami fans should worry about Gesicki’s future. One of them being a contract extension not happening yet (or at least talked about) and his misuse/ disappearance from the offense as of late.

Mike Gesicki Contract Situation

Like I said above, it is a tad concerning that Mike Gesicki has not been extended yet. Especially since Dallas Goedert most recently signed an extension which probably raised the price for a Gesicki extension. Goedert signed a four year, $57 million dollar contract, equivalent to $14.25 million a year. This makes Goedert the second highest paid tight end by average money per year.

This means for Miami to resign Gesicki they will have to at least pay Gesicki $13 million dollars a year. This would make him the third highest paid tight end. That being said, I cannot see Miami signing Gesicki for that much. As we saw with the Xavien Howard situation, Miami can play hard ball.

Miami could play hard ball with Gesicki and not even offer him and franchise tag him or offer him less than what he is demanding (we’ll get to both of these later).

Offensive Woes

Gesicki’s presence on the offense during the past couple of weeks has been a lot different compared to last season and some other games this year. There can be a number of reasons for this. Defense’s could game plan for him better or the offensive game plan for that week could not emphasize him are just two reasons.

Now Gesicki’s targets per game are staying about the same week by week. His average yards per catch the past two weeks (weeks 12 and 13) has dropped by about 50%. This shows that Gesicki is being used less downfield and more in the flat. This does not really use Gesicki to his strengths and he is essentially a go up and get it guy.

In addition to all of this, recently, Gesicki seems to be absent for at least the first half of the game. All or a majority of his targets come later on in the game when the Dolphins are trying to secure the win. This can be due to Gesicki being Tua’s security blanket and he knows that if he throws it to Gesicki he will catch it.

Mike Gesicki Replacements

There is not true replacement for Gesicki in Miami’s offense. There is no player on this roster, and very few players in the NFL like Gesicki. Even though his blocking ability is questionable, his ability to make explosive plays and jump start the offense isn’t. Not to mention his chemistry with Tua is hard to beat as well.

That being said, Miami did draft Hunter Long in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft. In addition to that, we have been seeing a lot more of Durham Smythe (who is also a free agent at the end of the year) in Miami’s offense as of late. These are the two players that Miami could have in mind as potential replacements for Gesicki.

Hunter Long

When Long was first draft, multiple fans said he was going to be Mike Gesicki’s replacement and Miami was going to let Gesicki walk at the end of the year. This was due to his athleticism he displayed in college and his ability to line up anywhere on the offense.

Long has not had much spotlight this season. Getting his first (and so far only) catch in week 13 against the Giants. This does not mean Long is bad, he just has not been given an opportunity, as he is mostly inactive during games. When Long is active, he is blocking a majority of the time.

Durham Smythe

Smythe was drafted in the same class as Gesicki and has mostly been used as a blocker. This year and especially as of late, Miami has been using Smythe a lot more in the passing game. Now while he has no where near the targets Gesicki has, his presence in the pass game seems to be increasing.

Smythe is a free agent after this year as well. Now the reason why Miami would opt to resign Smythe over Gesicki is simple: money. Smythe will cost a whole lot less than Gesicki, which may be compelling to Chris Grier and company.

Mike Gesicki Contract Solutions

Now even though it make seem like I have lost all hope that the Dolphins and Mike Gesicki work something out, I still hope something does. There are two ways that Gesicki stays a Dolphins next season. That is the franchise tag and resigning him to an extension.

Franchise Tag

Now is Gesicki and the Dolphins can not agree to a contract extension, Miami could always franchise tag him. The franchise tag will pay him a little under $11 million dollars. Miami may think this is a more reasonable number for Gesicki. With an estimated almost $70 million dollars in cap space next year, the franchise tag may cause more problems than it solves.

Extension

This is the win-win solution. Miami and Gesicki should both want to get an extension done. As I said earlier, the starting point should be $13 million dollars a year. Whether Gesicki will want more than that is unknown as of right now. But I would not be surprised if Gesicki demands at least $14 million dollars a year as he could easily get that in free agency from another team.

Conclusion

So is the writing on the wall for Mike Gesicki? Only time will tell. As it seems right now the answer could go either way. As the season continues to go on it will be interesting to see how Gesicki is used. Hopefully Miami and Mike Gesicki can work a contract extension out, as players like Gesicki do not come around that often.

Dolphins vs Panthers All-22 Breakdown and Key Observations

Miami won for the 4th time in a row, in convincing fashion, and the Dolphins vs Panthers All-22 Film tells an interesting story of the game.

dolphins vs panthers
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

For the fourth week in a row, the Dolphins have found themselves as winners. This time, Miami won in decisive fashion vs the Panthers, with a final score of 33-10.

This game brought hope to Dolphins fans, and for good reason. This game showed the formula many thought they would at the beginning of the season. A combination of stellar defense and opportunistic, ball-control-based offense has gotten Miami wins over the last four games.

When watching the All-22 tape on NFL Gamepass, it was clear that Miami’s plan is starting to work out, and here are five things that stood out when watching the film for Dolphins vs Panthers.

Fantastic Phillip Lindsay

Following being waived by the Houston Texans, running back Phillip Lindsay was claimed by the Miami Dolphins, who were looking for another back to complement young guns Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed.

Coming off a short week, it was uncertain if Lindsay would play, but, as he explained, he was quick to get into the facility and study the playbook.

It was clear that the hard work, even in minimum snaps, has paid off. The two-time thousand-yard rusher showed, even with a below-average OL, why he was so successful in Denver.

Phillip Lindsay’s first run in Miami.

Above all other traits, his burst and awareness have stood out. Other backs, especially Myles Gaskin, seem to wait for holes to develop. This, although valuable with a good OL, becomes an issue when there isn’t time to sit back.

Lindsay, on the other hand, is constantly moving. Even when the hole isn’t there, his feet are always driving forward, raising his floor on yards to gain. Even when he gets tackled early in the play, his forward momentum keeps him from losing yards.

Phillip Lindsay showing off his great burst.

Along with this, his pass blocking is a thing of beauty. On QB Tua Tagovailoa’s 57-yard pass to Jaylen Waddle, Lindsay makes up for OT Liam Eichenberg, who got beat on the play. Coming out of the backfield, he demonstrated textbook blocking, attacking the rusher and providing his quarterback a throwing window.

Phillip Lindsay’s block opens up the throw to Waddle.

The Tuscaloosa Connection

Throughout college, Tua Tagovailoa found success in getting the ball out quickly in the RPO game, typically to his track team at wide receiver. The Dolphins, after drafting Tua thought that the best way to maximize the young quarterback was getting his collegiate teammate, Jaylen Waddle.

Through the first few games of the season, it was apparent that Tua and Waddle had chemistry, the level of which was unknown.

Now, however, as the season progresses, we can see that the 2nd year quarterback is significantly more comfortable with Waddle than any other receiver.

Throughout the game vs the Panthers, Tagovailoa targeted Waddle on a variety of looks, including several tightly contested looks, which contradicted notions on Tua coming out of college that he was unwilling to make risky throws.

Tua and Waddle connect on an out route.

More impressive, however, was the ability that Tua and Waddle have to know when the ball is coming out, and where. Tua, through repetition and natural chemistry, consistently throws the ball to Waddle before, or as, he’s coming out of his break. A prime example of this is the touchdown between the two.

Excellent Anticipation

When Tua releases the ball on a curl route, Waddle has yet to turn around and has three defenders near him. The ball was not only thrown early, but also put in a perfect spot for the rookie to make the play. That anticipation was a trait Tua was praised for at Alabama, and it seems Waddle is bringing it out now.

Tua’s throw to Waddle was out FAST.

This was not the only instance of this chemistry, however, as the aforementioned 57-yard play showed the duo’s promise as well.

Following the Lindsay block, Tua put the ball right in the middle of the field as Waddle made his break. Knowing his ability to move after the catch, his throw gave Waddle ample room to work, even with a safety coming down.

Tagovailoa and Waddle connected nine times for 137 yards and a touchdown, and this game looked promising for the duo.

Jaelan Phillips is Legit

This year, after a rough start, had been largely dominated by rookies Jevon Holland and Jaylen Waddle. Their ability to make impact plays has certainly been noticed, and both have flashed in crucial moments.

However, Dolphins fans and media alike had seemed to forget about the first-round pick, Jaelan Phillips. Coming out of UM, Phillips was regarded as a potentially elite pass rusher with a deep bag of tricks. This left Miami fans excited when he fell to them at the 18th pick.

Despite the hype, however, Phillips had failed to produce by all simple counting stats. While it seemed that he was getting close, he was rarely able to get home. Dolphins fans became frustrated, and it seemed that the optimism for Phillips faded as it grew for Waddle and Holland.

When the Dolphins took on the Panthers, all of it started to come together.

Coming out Party

Against an offensive line ranked among the worst in the league, Phillips was able to tally three sacks, a pass deflection, and a pressure leading to an INT.

Jaelan Phillips creates a pressure leading to an INT.

The numbers, however, weren’t as impressive as the tape on the plays themselves.

In particular, his work from the inside, with Emmanuel Ogbah on the edge, was spectacular. With Ogbah taking an outside route, Phillips was often left 1-on-1 with a guard. His combination of size and speed left these guards in the dust, and him in the backfield at will. With a skill-set as refined as Phillips’, it will be very difficult to stop him without tackle help.

Jaelan Phillips gets a sack vs a guard.

It’s clear that Miami has something special with Ogbah and Phillips, and I suspect they will use that pairing on the same side more often.

Improved Play Calling

Going into this season, Miami knew their offense needed to improve from the 15th ranked scoring unit. Thus, when they opted to make in-house coordinator hires, many were confused. A staff that was unable to produce a consistent offensive scheme would now be led by play-callers with limited experience.

These concerns lingered into the season, as Miami’s offense was dwelling near the bottom of the league. Many were calling for the jobs of Studesville and Godsey, and Miami had lost seven straight.

However, they seemed to have found their stride in the winning streak, both of which continued on Sunday.

Operating out of heavy pistol sets with lots of pre-snap motion, Miami was able to create misdirection. The threat of motion-man Albert Wilson stressed defenses to his side, while Jaylen Waddle and Durham Smythe were able to find soft spots in coverage.

Miami goes underneath to Waddle off the Wilson motion.

Miami also used these looks to create counters from a play they love to run: the wheel to Albert Wilson.

Against both the Jets and Ravens, Miami teased this formation, running a deep wheel route to Wilson in both games. It was clear Miami wanted defenses to pick up the idea, and I had clamored on Twitter for counters.

Those wishes came to fruition on Sunday, as Miami ran almost their entire offense out of this formation. This base set led to several different runs, short and intermediate passes. With the Panthers expecting the wheel route, Miami was able to catch Carolina off guard and tear them apart underneath.

Miami runs their motion based pistol offense and gets a first down.

The offense will still need to improve over the coming weeks, but they are trending up during the most important stretch of their season.

Area Of Improvement

Even in a 23-point win, there were areas of the team that were less than ideal. One that stuck out was the offensive line.

On three separate occasions, Miami’s offensive lineman gave up pressures or bad snaps that ruined potential scoring drives.

On separate drives, Jesse Davis and Liam Eichenberg were beaten badly, leading to crucial sacks on Tua and then punts.

Liam Eichenberg gets beaten by Brian Burns.

The other drive, before the half, contained one of Austin Reiter’s several bad snaps. After going too low, Tua was unable to recover the snap, and Carolina turned a potential Miami FG into one of their own.

Here’s one of Austin Reiter’s bad snaps.

If Miami is to continue their streak, eliminating drive-ending mistakes is crucial, and those start with the OL.

The Bottom Line

The Miami Dolphins are showing signs of life, and are only two games below 500. With games against the Giants and Jets upcoming, Miami has a chance to contend for a playoff spot.

Whether it’s too late is yet to be determined, but Miami has continued to improve over the last month. The tape continues to get better, and Miami looks like the team we envisioned back in August.

The coming weeks will be the most telling, and it will be exciting to see if Miami can complete the miraculous comeback season.

Follow Tyler DeSena on Twitter

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5 Key Plays from Tua Tagovailoa vs. Falcons

Tua Tagovailoa threw 4 TDs vs the Atlanta Falcons, and 5 plays tell the story of his intriguing performance

Tough.

The Dolphins are now 1-6 on the year, falling 30-28 to the Atlanta Falcons on a game winning field goal. The Dolphins are now 1-6 on the year.

What you’ll find was hidden in another Miami loss to a sub .500 team is a really good performance from 2nd year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has been in the headlines for a variety of reasons, including potential trades for Deshaun Watson.

In the meantime, Tua is the QB, and we can only base projections off of the roster right now. Tua made great plays, especially in the 4th quarter. He helped the Dolphins come back from down 13 to take the lead with under 4 minutes left.

The story of this game is one of elite traits, signs of development fighting adversity, and mistakes to improve on, and these five plays tell that story.

Pocket Presence

Going into the season, Miami’s offensive line was a major question mark. The Dolphins were starting second year players to start the year and the growing pains were noticeable.

Miami was forced to shuffle around their line in an attempt to find something that sticks. In doing so, they weren’t able to find much improvement.

Through 7 weeks, the Dolphins rank dead last in Pass Block Win Rate, per ESPN, with a whopping 47 percent. For reference, the Cleveland Browns are first with 73%.

Even with the adverse circumstances up front, Tua has been elite in the pocket, ranking near the bottom in sack rate. On several plays throughout the game, Tagovailoa was able to evade pressure and create positive yardage, including this scramble on 2nd and 8.

Tua Tagovailoa puts Deion Jones on skates.

With pressure coming off the edges, Tua makes a quick move, reminiscent of last year’s game vs. Arizona, gets past Deion Jones, and gets the first down.

Although he isn’t a “running QB”, Tagovailoa has shown on several occasions that he is willing to take off if that play breaks down.

“Keyhole” Accuracy

Entering the 2020 draft, Tagovailoa’s key trait was accuracy. At Alabama, he led a fast paced RPO offense, centered around hitting receivers in stride and letting them create yards after the catch.

Since Miami selected Tua #5 overall last year, the accuracy has stayed a point of emphasis, especially when he finds his rhythm.

It was much of the same against Atlanta, as Tua made several tight window throws, especially late in the game, that showed off his most impressive trait.

In the 4th quarter, when Miami was in desperate need of a touchdown drive, Tua started out with an outstanding touch throw.

Tua Tagovailoa threads the needle to Durham Smythe.

Tight end Durham Smythe runs a wheel concept, in which the receiver runs out towards the boundary, then up the field, and Tagovailoa is able to anticipate him reaching a soft spot in the coverage. Upon seeing this, Tua was able to float a pass in a perfect spot for Smythe to make a play on the ball, which he did, for a gain of 18.

Tagovailoa has continued to show that his accuracy is up to the challenge when Miami needs him most.

Fighting Adversity

Earlier this week, Mack Hollins let the world know what he thought of his young QB.

Mack Hollins calls Tua “that dude”

Hollins has a point, as we were able to see Tua’s ability to fight adversity to put Miami in a position to win the game. Some of which included his own mistakes

On the same drive as the throw to Smythe, Tagovailoa made a crucial run on third down, showing that he is willing to put his body on the line for the sake of the team.

Tua Tagovailoa lays the BOOM for a first down.

Sensing pressure coming from the edges, Tua stepped out of the pocket, and lowered his shoulder in order to pick up a crucial first down. Many were looking to see the “dog” in Tua, and we got a glimpse of it last week.

Just Keep Fighting

The next play is less of a show of Tua’s out of structure talent, but more his ability to execute clever plays perfectly if they’re run more.

On his last throw of the game, Miami ran a fake end around, getting the defensive line to commit to Jaylen Waddle’s speed and explosiveness.

After selling the fake to perfection, Tagovailoa rolls out, being able to place a ball in between 2 defenders in the back of the end zone for a lead-taking TD.

Tua Tagovailoa fakes the end around for a TD to Hollins.

Miami hasn’t used much creativity in their playcalling for Tua, and with less to lose, I hope we can see more plays like this.

Area of Improvement

Through his first 3 full games of the season, Tagovailoa’s growth has been noticeable. Unlike his rookie year, he has been much more willing to take chances in the intermediate game.

Even with his growth, there has been a consistent issue in his game: the inability to let plays die.

At several points throughout the games, Tua has made plays outside of structure, which he struggled with in 2020.

Although, there have been times when this has come back to bite him, and this game was no different.

Tua throws an INT.

Although many argue that Waddle is to blame for Tua’s second INT, interior pressure (which he has struggled with), was bearing down, and in the midst of being sacked, Tua let a ball go a bit high.

Another view of Tua’s INT.

While some believe Waddle could have made a play, the ball should never have been thrown.

Nonetheless, Tua must learn to play another down if he is to take the next step Miami hopes he will make.

The Bottom Line

In a year where Miami probably won’t make the playoffs, development is very important. Tua Tagovailoa is a prime example of that. Whether he’s in Miami’s long term plans or not, his and the Dolphins’ futures are somewhat reliant on his performance.

Although he wasn’t perfect, Tua showed that he has made great strides since his rookie year. Possessing some great accuracy, pocket presence, and ability to work in and out of structure, it is clear that Tagovailoa had one of the best games of his young career.

It will be exciting to see what he can do against Buffalo and other difficult teams down the stretch.

Follow Tyler DeSena on Twitter

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Miami Dolphins: Players on the Bubble

Credit: Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK Nfl Miami Dolphins At Arizona Cardinals

Every preseason, on every team, there who are players on the bubble.

These players have about 4 weeks to prove why they are worthy of a spot on the roster. If they struggle, they’ll be looking for a new team to join in August or September.

Some guys come into training camp on the bubble, some come in as camp bodies and play themselves into a position to potentially make it. Then there are the guys who expected to make the roster but for a variety of reasons may have ended up on the bubble.

The guys in this article are going to need to do some extra work to make this roster. If they do make the roster, they have the ability to make substantial contributions.

Allen Hurns

Allen Hurns is a player who is coming into this camp on the bubble; however, that doesn’t solely have to do with this ability. There are probably WR rooms in the NFL that Allen Hurns can confidently make, Miami isn’t one of them.

Miami’s WR room is stacked with talent with the signing of Will Fuller and first round rookie draft pick Jaylen Waddle.

The emergence of Albert Wilson also strengthens the room. What was seen as a weakness in 2020 has turned into a

The Dolphins signed Hurns to a 1-year deal in the summer of 2019 and saw enough from him to give him a 2-year extension in mid-November.

In 14 games, Hurns had 32 catches for 416 yards and 2 TDs.

Hurns returns after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. He hopes to return to the form he had earlier in his career.

On the first day of training camp, Hurns got open down the field quite a bit. He will need to continue to play like that to solidify himself a spot on this 2021 Dolphins.

It’s clear that Hurns has potential, but he will need to play to the best of his abilities to make this squad. With Parker, Waddle, Fuller, and Wilson all locks to make the team, Hurns needs to fight to make a spot in this dynamic WR corp.

Sam Eguavoen

Sam Eguavoen has taken decent snaps for the Dolphins in the past; however, the current LB talent on the team limits his role.

According to a recent article by Kyle Crabbs, Eguavoen was credited with 281 ST snaps.

Special teams play is important, but when you’re not able to get on the field to rack up more than 9 total tackles, you might be overtaken by someone else. 

In 2019, when the team was regarded as the least talented in the league, Eguavoen had 6 starts. That season he had 40 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. He showed real signs of potential. 

But in 2020, with the addition of Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy along with the development of Andrew Van Ginkel, Eguavoen’s playing time significantly altered.

This season, Van Noy is back in New England; however, the Dolphins traded for LB Benardrick McKinney, signed Brennan Scarlett, Duke Riley, and Shaquem Griffin, and re-signed Elandon Roberts.

Andrew Van Ginkel also continued to show major growth in his game, and the Dolphins used their 18th overall pick in this year’s draft on OLB Jaelen Phillips.

Although Eguavoen has shown he can be a solid piece on defense, he may end up being the odd man out due to a potential lack of usage on defense.

A younger cheaper UDFA can play special teams instead of Eguavoen saving cap space.

Durham Smythe

The Notre Dame product has struggled to make a name for himself since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 draft.

Smythe has primarily been a blocking tight end while occasionally getting himself some touches in the passing game.

In 2020, he had 26 catches for 208 yards and 2 TDs. He has the ability to find himself success in the redzone, but mainly used as an in-line blocker.

In the 2021 draft, the Dolphins drafted TE Hunter Long out of Boston College. Long was regarded as potentially the most well-rounded tight end in the class.

Mike Gesicki has quietly placed himself in the top-10 pass-catching TEs in the league, and Long is a rookie with a plethora of potential in the blocking and catching phases.

The final spot in the TE room is likely to come down to Smythe and Adam Shaheen. Smythe had a more consistent role in the offense last season, but he’s in the last season of his contract.

Keeping Shaheen gives them the security of a solid third tight end through 2022, whereas Smythe could leave after this year.

Jermaine Eluemunor

The Dolphins signed Eluemunor last month as a depth piece/camp body. However, Eluemunor started four of New England’s first five games last year before suffering an injury in week 6. Obviously, he hasn’t been mentioned as a starter, as Miami has plenty of players to start ahead of him; however, he’s off to a good start.

With DJ Fluker failing the conditioning test, a door opens up for Eluemunor to move up on the depth chart. He will need to continue to play well, but if he does so and stays healthy, he could be a good depth piece to this offense.

Preston Williams

About 4 months ago, Preston Williams was seemingly a lock to make this WR room.

After the signing of Will Fuller, drafting of Jaylen Waddle, return of Albert Wilson, and his injury still not being fully healed, Williams finds himself in a bit of a pickle. 

Injury history has really held him back. Williams has only played 16 games over the last 2 seasons and has only a 50% catch rate.

He has shown great ability to go up and get the ball and get in the redzone over his short career. Last year in 8 games, he had 4 touchdowns on 18 catches, and plenty of big plays including a few in a big win in Arizona.

Plays like that are why Williams is so liked by the Dolphins. His injury history has hindered him from reaching his maximum potential. If he makes this team and stays healthy, he could be a force for this offense.

The depth of the WR room is what makes Williams a bubble candidate, but if he rehabs well this preseason, he should be able to make a backend spot in this WR group.

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