There are three positional battles in training camp for the Miami Dolphins that are featured in this article.
It’s that time again. We are days away from rookies reporting to training camp and less than a week from veterans reporting! Football is around the corner, and we will have it to consume our weekends until February.
Dolphins Training Camp Positional Battles
As training camp approaches, Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has shaped this roster to the best of his ability while protecting future assets to give Head Coach Mike McDaniel an excellent leaping point to create and mold the team in his image. McDaniel wisely kept the defensive side mostly untouched in coaching and talent. Going a bit further, he added more talent to an already loaded group with drafting Channing Tindall and solid depth by signing with Melvin Ingram. On the offensive side of the ball, you will find the most significant jump in talent and arguably the most talent we’ve seen in 20 years on paper.
McDaniel has his work cut out for him, trimming this roster down as the weeks progress. A roster that is deep on defense and offense is a good problem to have but a problem, nonetheless. To become familiar with the Dolphins going into camp, offensive battles to be aware of are highlighted.
Running Back – The running backs for the Dolphins are a treasure trove of players. This position is deep and should be expected from a run-first type of coach McDaniel is. He loves to utilize different backs in his zone blocking scheme and keep the defense on its heels.
The running back room is currently crowded; under contract as of now are Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Gerrid Doaks, and ZaQuandre White. Michel and Doaks will battle for the role of short yardage specialist. This versatile and talented club of six will be cut to four at the end of training camp. This position group will also be watched closely by teams needing a running back come waiver wire time.
Prediction: The locks will be Edmonds and Mostert as they’re the most talented in this group and complement each other’s skill set. Edmonds will begin to take the lion share of the carries as he continued to flash with his growth and opportunity in Arizona. I believe we keep Sony Michel as our ground and pound type of back, and it then becomes a toss-up between Gaskin and Ahmed. I believe Doaks will be a casualty due to the talent around him, and White could be a signing for the practice squad.
Wide Receiver – There’s not much drama at the top as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will start with the likelihood of Cedrick Wilson as our slot. However, just like the running back room, this room is filled with talent and will be a dog fight to see who will make the team in the end.
Miami must sort through Lynn Bowden, Erik Ezukanma, Preston Williams, Trent Sherfield, Cody Core, River Cracraft, Devonte Dedmon, and Braylon Sanders to fill the remaining spots. Rookie Ezukanma will help with the role that Parker played in last year, especially those 20-yard sideline fades quarterback Tua Tagovailoa loves to throw. He also has the bulk to break a tackle for YAC. We have seen the ability of Preston Williams when he is healthy and in an expanded role.
Prediction: Hill, Waddle, and Wilson are locks, as well as Bowden and Ezukanma. That leaves two more slots, one for more upside in Williams and the other as a special teamer in Cody Core, who played for McDaniel in San Francisco and signed this offseason. Ole Miss stand-out Braylon Sanders is interesting and could steal a spot if he shines in camp. He has the talent to win a slot as an undrafted rookie, and Miami may not want him stolen off their practice squad.
Tight End – Mike Gesicki is the only one who should feel safe out of the tight end group and will get the first big surprise when the final 53 is announced. Outside of Gesicki, Miami has Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, Hunter Long, Cethan Carter, and Tanner Connor under contract. Durham Smythe will likely keep his spot as our primarily blocking tight end, and the rest is where it will get tricky.
Hunter Long has all the tools to become an extremely talented tight end in this league and was primarily red-shirted last year in hopes of growing this season. The contract battle with Gesicki also makes me wonder if Miami is playing the long game in this and seeing what Hunter Long can do. Also, the dark horse and someone I loved in the draft is Tanner Connor. He primarily played as a wide receiver for Idaho State, but Miami will look to convert him into a tight end due to his athleticism. He is listed as 6’3 and 230 pounds and ran a 4.37 40 at his pro day. What’s not to love about that!?
My prediction: Gesicki and Smythe will be locked along with Long. Tanner Connor will be the surprise and make the team.