Saturday marked the final cut downs for all 32 teams. There was plenty of shuffling on the back end of rosters as teams scrambled to add talent dropped from other squads. The Dolphins did make some moves as well in time to release their final roster for the 2020 campaign. There are some intriguing spots to watch.
The only surprise here was the release of Josh Rosen. However, with the current climate surrounding Covid-19 and a lack of a true offseason the team clearly felt the roster spot was more valuable elsewhere (*cough* O-Line *cough*). Let us not read too much into this… but clearly entering 2020 with only 2 options shows Miami has faith in their 5th overall selection.
FB Chandler Cox
The team has a much more explosive and dynamic corps of rushers this season. Patrick Laird carried the load in the second half of the season, and he very well may struggle to get touches with the added depth. Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will be used regularly, each being able to attack the defense in their own way. Breida can stretch a defense laterally, opening up passing lanes on play action and getting to the edge, while Howard is a pounder who can be excellent in the second half of games to wear down the opposition. Myles Gaskin flashed some promise as well so expect to see him used as a Breida surrogate at times.
Lynn Bowden Jr.
Chan Gailey likes his weapons. That much is clear as the team will enter the 2020 campaign with 7 receiving options. There is a healthy mix of speed as well as size. Parker, Preston, and Hollins offer size and the ability to make plays vertically while Grant, Ford, Perry, and the newly acquired Bowden Jr. can be explosive once the ball is in their possession.
Miami spent the last week dealing with Mike Mayock and the Raiders completing two moves which essentially boiled down to sending Las Vegas Raekwon McMillan and a 5th in exchange for Bowden and a 6th. The Kentucky product is an explosive weapon who can be used in the slot and potentially return game. Expect him and Dolphins’ 7th round pick Malcolm Perry to be used similarly.
It amazes me that despite his production or seemingly lack of physical dominance, the team continues to hold on to Durham Smythe. Smythe was taken in the 4th round of the 2018 draft and has tallied 13 receptions for 115 yards with no touchdowns in his career. The team clearly wanted some competition as they added Shaheen from Chicago who has a significantly higher ceiling if he can stay healthy.
It is clear which unit on the team the Dolphins invested the most time into this offseason. The team has kept 9 players on the active roster indicating they themselves may not have a clear picture of the best starting 5. That is absolutely fair considering no preseason games allowing the coaching staff to make true evaluations. The team is carrying 3 rookies in Jackson, Hunt, and Kindley, two of which may be starting come Sunday.
Miami’s defensive line looks much improved as well. Not only does the team have depth on the interior with the late season addition in Zach Sieler as well as the drafting of Raekwon Davis, they also added some actual talent on the edge. Expect some much needed production from Lawson and Ogbah. Ogbah has had some injury issues in his career, so as long as he stay healthy he can be a difference maker off the edge.
Many did not expect Jason Strowbridge to be as impressive as he has been, so he too will get some play as Boyle and Flores work on finding the best rotation.
Kyle Van Noy
Andrew Van Ginkel
The trading of Raekwon McMillan showed a clear philosophical shift under Brian Flores. Linebackers no longer what they used to be, gone are the days of the big and lumbering presence which will come down and plug a hole with the same force as a defensive tackle. In the modern league, having agile and rangy linebackers who can support in the run as well as cover dynamic running backs and tight ends is vital for success. This is clearly present in the team’s roster.
The team has some true athleticism in Baker, Grugier-Hill, Roberts, and Eguavoen. Similarly, the Van brothers (Van Noy and Van Ginkel) are strong presences who can play on the strong side and set the edge as well as be assets in the pass game.
This is perhaps the most exciting unit on the entire team. Miami has no excuses but to slow down the opposition’s wide outs. Two premier talents in Howard and Jones combined with the surprising Needham was already enticing, but the addition of Igbinoghene (who had killed camp) only adds more versatility and depth to the team. The other corner, formerly known as Jomal Wiltz, has experience in Flores’ defense and made enough plays to be valuable in dime and nickel defensive looks.
The team has an abundance of safeties, but this points to the team’s desire to be a pass defending team and have players on the field who can cover. Fejedelem and Frazier are also very valuable in the kicking game. Additionally, it will be exciting to see how Brandon Jones, the new no. 29, will fit into this defense as the team took him pretty high in the 2020 Draft.
LS Blake Ferguson
P Matt Haack
K Jason Sanders
Miami will roll into the season keeping the architects of one of the best plays from last season. Both Sanders and Haack will continue to do the kicking for the Dolphins, and the team will be using rookie Blake Ferguson as the long snapper.