Jun
20
2021

Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Prediction

As the first week of mini-camp comes to a close, it’s fun to predict what the roster may look like once Week 1 of the regular season comes around. Based on what we have now, it’s time to predict the Miami Dolphins’ 2021 roster heading into Week 1.

Disclaimer: Not all positions will be broken down as much as others; some are easier to predict than others. With that sorted out, let’s begin!

* indicates a player can start or play at two or more spots

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Offense

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Starter: Tua Tagovailoa
  • Backup: Jacoby Brissett

Unless everything goes horribly wrong in practice with Tua, he will be your starting quarterback ahead of the 2021 season. Jacoby Brissett, a Super Bowl-winning veteran, will help guild him and pitch in if everything is falling apart.

Running Backs (6)

  • Starter: Malcolm Brown
  • RB2: Myles Gaskin
  • RB3: Salvon Ahmed
  • RB4: Gerrid Doaks

This is the first interesting debate in the roster; who will lead the running backs? I believe Malcolm Brown will lead the charge this season; he signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract earlier in the offseason. Brown has shown that he has the capabilities to start, as behind Cam Akers, he ran for 419 yards on 101 attempts, rushing for five touchdowns. He has receiving capabilities as well with 23 catches for 162 yards. He is also durable, playing in all 16 games last season.

Behind him will be Myles Gaskin. Gaskin is a dual-threat as well, rushing for 584 yards on 142 attempts for three touchdowns, and he caught 41 passes for 388 yards for two touchdowns. The battle of these two will be interesting, but both will be serviceable in the backfield no matter where they end up in the depth chart.

Ahmed has potential, but sadly, he will be behind Brown and Gaskin this season. There’s a lot of interesting talent that could grow between those three. Doaks, one of the Dolphins’ 2021 seventh-round picks, will fill in for depth if someone is injured; he won’t see much playing time otherwise.

Fullback (7)

  • Starter: Carl Tucker

Wide Receivers (13)

  • LWR: Will Fuller V
  • RWR: Davante Parker
  • Slot: Jaylen Waddle
  • WR4: Preston Williams
  • WR5: Jakeem Grant*
  • WR6: Lynn Bolden Jr.

The top three are obviously going to start; unless someone truly breaks out in camps and the pre-season, Fuller, Parker, and Waddle will be your top-three Dolphins’ wide receivers.

The debate comes in on what will happen with the remaining spots. Preston Williams has shown to be a serviceable wide receiver, catching 18 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 16 yards per catch in eight games played (seven started). However, he is injured quite often. Even though that’s true, he has the talent and skill to be at the four spot.

Jakeem Grant will take the fifth spot for wide receivers; he will be primarily used as a returner, but he also has some catching prowess in the slot. The sixth spot is a toss-up, but I’m taking Lynn Bolden Jr. He caught 28 passes for 211 yards; moreover, he had a 75.7 catch percentage, which is one of the best on the team. While his yards per reception could use some work, he has proven he has very good hands, which makes him a reliable WR6.

Tight Ends (16)

  • Starter: Mike Gesicki
  • TE2: Hunter Long
  • TE3: Adam Shaheen

The tight ends aren’t much of a debate either. Gesicki is an obvious starter, and Hunter Long, drafted in the third round of 2021, will be the backup behind him. Shaheen, who had 12 catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns, will be there for three tight end sets or if they need an extra blocker.

Tackles (20)

  • LT: Austin Jackson
  • RT: Liam Eichenberg
  • T2: Jesse Davis
  • T3: DJ Fluker*

Austin Jackson will be a start without a doubt. With Robert Hunt probably moving to the interior line at guard, Eichenberg will take over on the right side of the field. Jesse Davis has been a liability at the tackle area, so he’ll be bumped down as a backup; but, Davis is willing to move anywhere to get some playing time. Davis is a versatile talent. DJ Fluker will be there for depth.

Guards (24)

  • LG: Jesse Davis
  • RG: Robert Hunt
  • G2: Micheal Dieter*
  • G3: Solomon Kindley
  • G4: DJ Fluker*

It does become interesting in the guard spot. With Robert Hunt having a high possibility of moving to guard, I have him as the right guard as he’s used to the right side of the field. Left guard was more of a challenge to decide; Dieter isn’t the best guard, as in 2019 (when he started 15 games), he allowed six sacks, which have tied second amongst all guards. So, I decided to go with Jesse Davis as the starting guard.

Davis, while he had his issues at tackle, has shown to be a versatile player, playing as an LT, RT, and RG. He has experience at guard and has experience on the left side of the field; I’d say he’s much better than Dieter. Dieter will be a backup guard and Solomon Kindley will back him up. Fluker has some experience as a guard, and will only be placed there if it’s necessary.

Centers (25)

  • Starter: Matt Skura
  • C2: Michael Dieter*

While veteran Matt Skura won’t be handed the starting job, I have a good feeling he’ll earn it with his experience and the fact that he is a solid center overall in the pass and run blocking. Dieter was switched to center last season, and played behind Ted Karras, who started all 16 games. I see him backing up Skura this upcoming season as coaches were intrigued with his performance as a center.

Defense

Defensive Ends (30)

  • LDE: Christian Wilkins
  • RDE: Emmanuel Ogbah*
  • DE3: Zach Sieler
  • DE4: Jason Strowbridge
  • DE5: Johnathan Ledbetter

Wilkins and Ogbah are obvious starters with Ogbah coming off a nine-sack year and Wilkins coming off a solid year with 47 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception. Sieler is an obvious backup DE, coming off a good year with eight games starting and 3.5 sacks. Strowbridge and Ledbetter will provide for good depth at the ends.

Defensive Tackles (32)

  • Starter: Adam Butler
  • DT2: Raekwon Davis

This one has fair reasoning to occur; for starters, in only 47% of defensive snaps last season, Adam Butler put up fantastic stats with 34 total tackles, six tackles for a loss, four sacks, and seven QB hits along with two pass deflections. Also, he has only started four games. In 52% of snaps, Davis had 40 total tackles, one tackle for a loss, and one QB hit. It’s safe to say that we could see a switch-up in the nose tackle spot for the starter.

Linebackers (41)

Left Outside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Jaelen Phillips
  • LOL2: Andrew Van Ginkel

Drafted in the first round, Phillips will be starting primarily utilized as an edge rusher. If he’s inured, Ginkel is more than ready to take over the starting role.

Left Inside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Benardrick McKinney
  • Backup: Elandon Roberts

Right Outside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Emmanuel Ogbah*
  • ROL2: Duke Riley
  • ROL3: Sam Eguavoen

Varying on whether or not Ogbah starts at RDE, he will be the starting right outside linebacker if they decide to take him out. If he stays as a DE, Duke Riley will take his place.

Right Inside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Jerome Baker
  • RIL2: Calvin Munson
  • RIL3: Kylan Johnson

Cornerbacks (46)

  • LCB: Byron Jones
  • RCB: Xavien Howard
  • CB3 (Slot): Noah Igbinoghene
  • CB4: Jason McCourty
  • CB5: Nik Needham

Jones and Howard are going to be starting no matter what in 2021. Don’t worry, the Dolphins will find a way to make Howard happy. Igbinoghene has shown solid development thus far and will be a reliable slot corner heading into the new season. McCourty is ready to provide anywhere he’s needed, and he will add veteran depth and leadership for the younger guys, and Needham will provide solid talents if someone goes down.

Safeties (50)

  • FS: Jevon Holland
  • SS: Eric Rowe
  • S3: Brandon Jones
  • S4: Jamal Perry

I didn’t see anyone beating out Rowe for the strong safety spot; he stays as the starter for Week 1. Holland is an interesting case, but I truly believe he can be a starter in his rookie year. He’s a first-round ball hawk talent that only went down in the draft due to him sitting out of the 2020 season. I discussed last month how he can be a monster in the secondary, so I highly suggest giving that a read!

Jones and Perry will provide solid depth at the safety spot.

Special Teams (53)

  • Kicker: Jason Saunders
  • Punter: Michael Palardy
  • Long Snapper: Blake Ferguson
  • KR: Jakeem Grant*
  • PR: Jakeem Grant*

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