Well, that’s it. The Dolphins end the pre-season DEfeated. Not much good comes from that. And the play on the field reflected the frustrations of losing even further.
While I won’t dwell on all the negatives of the game (in an attempt to stay optimistic), there were a handful of guys that did stand out, including some at the receiver and running back positions. And an unexpected quarterback from Delaware steps up against the Cowboys.
Wide Receivers Start to Separate From the Pack. A Little
This off-season, the receiver position for the Dolphins went from potentially unique to a stiff battle for roster spots to a continuous nightmare collection of talent. Multiple times I had said that they truly may have just ONE NFL receiver that deserved to make any team (Davone Bess). This game, however, seems to have been a clear indication of which receivers should make the team, and that maybe they aren’t all bad.
Rishard Matthews, my favorite receiver on this team after Bess, is a guy I’ve consistently projected to make this team. I gave him a 3rd round grade out of college. On just 9 pre-season targets, he’s caught 7 passes. Not a great few numbers to go off of, but he has been able to get open and make difficult (and easy) catches. Also, with the way Marlon Moore played on Special Teams, it looks like he’s in. So, with that, here is my final WR projection:
1. Davone Bess – 2. Brian Hartline – 3. Rishard Matthews – 4. Marlon Moore – 5. Legadu Naanee 6. (Free Agent/Trade)
Pat Devlin a Topic of Discussion? Who Knew!
It’s been almost comical to note that Pat Devlin is on this team based on the fact that Hard Knocks has consistently skipped him over through most of the show. However, in the final pre-season game, he (again, being a prospect I was excited about getting in undrafted free agency) flashed some potential solid backup upside. It seems to me that the plan has been (with Moore and Garrard on one year-deals), that Devlin likely would be groomed as the long term backup to Tannehill.
In the final pre-season game, Devlin went 7-12, but more importantly flashed some fairly impressive throws to the point that myself and many watching the game felt that he could be a worthwhile roster selection. If he can be adequate as a backup for now, it may be wise for the Dolphins to attempt to trade Matt Moore (Packers for James Jones?), put David Garrard on the PUP (bring him back Week 6), and roll the dice that Tannehill can stay healthy and effective.
Running Backs, 2nd Team Defenders Step Up
It wasn’t a great showing from really much of anyone on the Dolphins roster to end the pre-season. Most of the past two years draft classes haven’t stood out at all. Michael Egnew and Clyde Gates haven’t “earned” their roster spots. John Jerry is a fringe roster guy. Oliver Vernon has been outplayed by Jarrell Root and Derrick Shelby. But for some late rounders and undrafted, unheralded guys, it was a solid showing.
Kheeston Randall stood out, mostly against 2nd teammers, but having depth on the interior is a must for this team, as that’s one of the few strengths they have. Lamar Miller really flashed his talents, and it seems clear that he’s their #2 running back after receiving 17 carries. Steve Slaton also flashed his big play cutback ability, and even Daniel Thomas had a few nice runs, though he still doesn’t accelerate through the hole as well as I’d like. Also, I liked what I saw from 5th safety Anderson Russell and 2nd ILB Austin Spitler. Enough to make the team.