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.

The Miami Dolphins are Back to Having Fun

The Miami Dolphins are back in the facility for their offseason program, and the aura around new HC Mike McDaniel is refreshing and fun.

As the Miami Dolphins head back to the facility for their offseason program, there seems to be a common theme among players and coaches. That being the fun, lighthearted nature of coach Mike McDaniel.

“It’s more like… fun.”

Emmanuel Ogbah on the differences of having Mike McDaniel as Head Coach.

At first glance, it would appear the Dolphins, specifically on defense, enjoyed their time under Brian Flores. Rattling off back to back winning seasons was quite the accomplishment, and much of it came on the back of the defensive unit. An opportunistic bunch with a knack for timely turnovers and sacks was able to drag a lackluster offense to two of their best seasons in recent memory.

However, it was clear that the other side of the ball wasn’t improving, and Flores’ no nonsense attitude was wearing on players. When the “Patriot Way” isn’t winning postseason games (or getting you there in the first place), then it all falls apart.

Mike McDaniel, however, had a clear goal coming into this offseason: keep the defense intact while bringing in players and staff who can get their offense back to being competent for the first time since Dan Marino was under center.

Mike McDaniel brings hope of getting Miami’s offense back on track.

New Acquisitions

McDaniel came in with aggression, quickly bringing in major acquisitions in the free agency period. Namely, signing All-Pro tackle Terron Armstead and trading for the NFL’s most explosive receiver Tyreek Hill showed determination.

Along with that, depth pieces and other upgrades, such as Cedrick Wilson Jr., Raheem Mostert, and Chase Edmonds are sure to give Miami a more dynamic unit.

The Miami Dolphins have a new look offensive unit.

This was a clear issue under the previous regime. Brian Flores showed an unwillingness to go after free agents, leading to an offense bereft of talent.

They also brought in familiar faces and rising stars in the coaching room. Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison, and Wes Welker, all former Dolphins players, will be taking on the reigns as assistant coaches. There have even been jokes about whether the assistants will run one-on-ones in practice, which is yet to be seen.

Keeping Your Best Players Happy

However, this was all on-paper, and if players are unable to get along with the coach, then it all goes downhill. Miami’s previous two coaches alienated players from one side of the ball, and it was up to McDaniel to show he won’t make the same mistake. How would he do that? By paying Miami’s premier defenders.

Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah, two of Miami’s best defensive playmakers, received extensions to remain in the aqua and orange.

Unlike Flores, McDaniel’s regime didn’t let these contracts linger, as they made sure to keep the best players happy. It’s important to make a strong first impression, and the new coaching has definitely done just that.

Fun Off the Field

However, McDaniel’s connection with Miami’s fanbase has been just as strong. Dolphins fans across social media noted the former OC’s stellar press conferences, which always included witty remarks. Thus, he struck a cord with those who wanted a more lively candidate at the helm.

It’s clear that the wit and humor has remained in Miami, along with the lighthearted interactions with fans and media.

Mike McDaniel accepts and conquers Rich Eisen’s coaching cliché challenge.

The Bottom Line on Miami Dolphins and Their Fun Offseason

On paper, the Dolphins look to be much more fun than years past. The offensive line is vastly improved, appearing much more able to support Mike McDaniel’s outside zone scheme. This would give the support needed to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa needed to get the ball to his new dynamic duo at wide receiver.

On top of that, a defense that ranks among the top of the league in turnovers is still intact. Although many thought Xavien Howard or Emmanuel Ogbah might not be retained, they are both back for the foreseeable future.

They even found a way to acquire one of the league’s most fun-to-watch wide receivers in Tyreek Hill. One whose ability after the catch is unmatched, and appears to be a great fit in their scheme.

However, the X’s and O’s only begin to describe this new era for the Miami Dolphins. New Head Coach Mike McDaniel brings an aura that Dolphins fans and players haven’t seen in a long time. It is this hope, humor, and… fun, that has eluded this fanbase for decades, and comes back in it’s newest form.

While we are unsure of how good the Miami Dolphins will be, it’s clear that something has changed this offseason. We can expect coaches, players, and fans alike to be having a lot more fun in the years to come.

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No, the Current Miami Dolphins Offensive Line is not Good Enough

The Miami Dolphins have made several moves in Free Agency, but have failed to address their biggest need thus far.

Miami Dolphins offensive line
Photo Credit: NATHAN RAY SEEBECK-USA TODAY SPORTS

Amid rumors of interest in signing another tackle, the idea has surfaced that the Miami Dolphins might be comfortable with their current offensive line unit.

The tweet, coming from ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques, points the finger at Miami’s scheme, proposing that GM Chris Grier may be content with his current personnel. However, they believe that the slew of draft picks struggled to develop due to Brian Flores’ coaching staff and their offensive philosophy.

The Dolphins have their fair share of big guys up front. Over the last few years, they have spend significant draft capital on talented prospects. Among them, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Michael Dieter, and Liam Eichenberg were all drafted in the first three rounds. However, only Hunt has shown consistent success, and none have been able to elevate this line to a respectable unit.

Struggles Along the Miami Dolphins Offensive Line

By all major statistics, Miami’s 2021 unit was among the worst in the league. Game after game, they were unable to run the ball, with Tua Tagovailoa having little time to pass as well. Shockingly, the the Dolphins were around the middle of the pack in sacks allowed. However, that stat is quite misleading. Miami prioritized getting the ball out quickly in their offense, which prevented them from having a stable attack.

This, when combined with a variety of offensive issues, led to Miami starting 1-7 and missing the playoffs. In a year that the Dolphins’ had heightened expectations, ownership wasn’t willing to deal with such a low offensive output. Thus, Brian Flores was fired and took the brunt of the blame for the lack of development along the line.

New Year, New Scheme

With Mike McDaniel coming in, many expected new lineman to come in, as to fit a very different scheme. Unlike the offenses under Flores, McDaniel runs a wide-zone scheme, which I broke down in a previous article.

Long story short, Miami needed more linemen who can move well in space, rather than more power-centric blockers.

This boded well for them going into free agency. Big name tackles, such as Terron Armstead and La’el Collins, were nearly perfect fits for what McDaniel and company hoped to accomplish. It was just a matter of using their cap space, which was among the most in the league, to lock up this talent.

However, we are almost a week into free agency and Miami hasn’t addressed their tackle situation. As far as guard is concerned, they brought in Connor Williams from Dallas, who seems like a solid starter. Despite a high number of penalties, he ranked 11th out of all guards last season in PFF grade. The interior of the line is coming together, but the tackles remain shaky, at best.

A Lack of Action

Collins and Armstead are sitting on the market, and are even scheduling meetings with other teams. Collins, who drew interest from Miami early on, is meeting with the Bengals, and it seems like he may sign. Armstead, on the other hand, seems to be waiting on a decision from quarterback Deshaun Watson, who should pick a new team soon.

With two players of this caliber on the market, Miami hasn’t been nearly aggressive enough. They want to win now. With their biggest needs being up front, their new offense will struggle — no matter the scheme — if the personnel isn’t up to par.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s development has been shaky, and much of that stunted growth can be attributed to the talent around him. He will be entering his third year in the NFL, already having endured three offensive coordinators. If this lack of continuity in coaching is to work, it is crucial to provide protection.

Mike McDaniel looks like the difference-maker that Dolphins fans are looking for, and his other signings have been exciting. Weapons such as Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. all bring high ceilings, and bring an element of explosiveness that Miami’s offense hasn’t seen in a long time. However, none of this will matter if they don’t solve the issue that has plagued them for decades. The issue that has ruined several offensive coordinators, head coaches, and quarterbacks: the offensive line.

The Bottom Line on the Miami Dolphins Offensive Line

Armstead and Collins still remain, but time is running out. If Miami doesn’t put themselves out there, they will have gone another year without fixing this glaring hole. It will continue to linger, and this blemish will show on the records of Grier and McDaniel, and may change the course of their careers.

This free agency marks an early turning point in this regime, and it is up to the Miami Dolphins to solve the problem and truly fix their offensive line.

Why Terron Armstead Makes Perfect Sense for the Miami Dolphins

Star Offensive Tackle Trent Armstead is set to be a free agent next month, and the Miami Dolphins seem like the perfect destination for him.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 16: Terron Armstead #72 of the New Orleans Saints in action against the Indianapolis Colts during a game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 16, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Terron Armstead Miami Dolphins
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins recently filled out their coaching staff, with Mike McDaniel and company ready for their first offseason. With free agency starting in under a month, McDaniel’s vision for the future will slowly come to fruition.

But, as seen through staff hires and past success, the basis of that vision lies with the offensive line.

Miami has had no shortage of offensive line issues. Quarterbacks have been ill-protected dating back several regimes, and the Dolphins didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher under Brian Flores. The last time Miami had a Pro-Bowl offensive lineman was 2015, Joe Philbin’s final season at the helm.

This completely contradicts McDaniel’s style, however. San Francisco was stacked with offensive linemen, and their offense thrived because of it. In addition, they have managed to acquire top-tier talent year in and year out, with their most significant acquisition coming through a trade.

On April 25, 2020, the 49ers traded a third and fifth-round pick in exchange for All-Pro Tackle Trent Williams. Coming off of injury concerns, Williams’ value was at its lowest point. As a result, San Francisco was able to take advantage of the market and change their protection for the foreseeable future.

Williams’ arrival revolutionized the Niners’ line. His ability to pull on zone runs made him difficult to beat, with running to his side yielding elite results. He also took the pressure off of young guns on the line, such as Mike McGlinchey and Laken Tomlinson. They have seen significant improvement since he arrived.

Trent Williams is elite at pulling in the outside zone game.

It’s clear that the veteran presence brought by Williams immensely helped Mike McDaniel’s offenses in the past, and another tackle could do the same for Miami.

Terron Armstead

As the New Orleans Saints find themselves in an unaccommodating cap situation, some high-quality starters will be cap casualties. However, none are as vital as starting offensive tackle Terron Armstead, who will hit the market in March.

Terron Armstead is an Elite pass blocker.

He has been among the league’s best offensive tackles, leading a Saints unit that thrived during his tenure. The three-time Pro-Bowler has secured the left side of New Orleans’ line since 2013, and it’s almost unprecedented to see someone of his caliber hit the market.

Much like Trent Williams, Armstead’s success has come from combining elite traits with stellar technique. His speed off the ball is top-notch, and he can keep the pocket clean while mauling in the run game. He has consistently found ways to shut down the league’s best pass rushers while opening up holes for backs like Alvin Kamara.

However, Terron’s availability comes at an interesting time. He only played eight games in 2021, and hasn’t played a full season in his career.

He will also be demanding a high price tag, being one of the only significant tackles on the market, with many teams looking for his services. However, even with these potential concerns, the Miami Dolphins should be at the top of the list of teams vying for free agency’s top offensive tackle.

Dolphins Offensive Line

The aforementioned offensive line struggles reached their breaking point for Miami in 2021. The Dolphins were ranked the worst by almost every metric, struggling to protect the quarterback or find a consistent run game.

Miami hasn’t struggled to allocate resources, however. Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Liam Eichenberg were all drafted in the first two rounds of the last two drafts. Unfortunately, their performance has been inconsistent, although partly due to not having a successful veteran in the room.

That’s where Terron Armstead comes in. When healthy, he’s one of the best tackles in football. His mobility in the run game supports Mike McDaniel’s zone scheme, and his ability to pass block on an island would give Tua more time. Furthermore, he would provide Miami’s young lineman someone to look up to. Terron has been the epidemy of consistency, and having someone like that in the locker room can only help.

Terron Armstead fits in well with Mike McDaniel’s scheme.

The Bottom Line on Terron Armstead and the Miami Dolphins

He may be looking for around 20 million dollars, but Miami has more than enough money. To build around their young talent, Miami leads the league in cap space. They possess the funds to re-sign their top guys while also bringing in someone such as Armstead to fill their most significant need.

The injuries may be a concern, but it’s clear that these opportunities don’t come often. But the former Saints starter can change the game for this offense, much like Trent Williams did in San Francisco. Mike McDaniel observed the drastic changes in his offenses, and I’d bet he’s chomping at the bit to make the big move. So it just makes sense for him to end up with the Miami Dolphins, and signing him should be their number one priority.