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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
At least for right now. Like the rest of the NFL, Miami had to get down to 53 on the roster, and did so earlier this week. A few surprises right off the bat where the punter and field goal specialist spots.
Punter Brandon Fields lost out in his battle with rookie punter Matt Darr in somewhat of a mild upset. Fields had taken a reduction in pay earlier in the year to try to help with his status with the team, but the last few years Brandon has not done a good job of getting height on his punts. While he does still have a very strong leg, he was kicking entirely to many line drive punts. So while he still was getting good distance on his punts, the net was not there because of the lack of hang time. Replacing him with Darr does not save Miami much in 2015, but does save them around 3 million in 2016. Darr has a big leg as well and has been pretty solid during the preseason, but he is still young and may be prone to that bad punt from time to time, but he has done a better job with hang time.
The fact that Andrew Franks beat out Calib Sturgis was not really that much of a surprise. Sturgis has been erratic since being drafted by the Dolphins in 2013 out of Florida. Sturgis ranked 28th in field goal conversions last year after ranking 29th in field goal conversions in his rookie year, so once again this is not a major surprise when you throw in the fact that Sturgis had some injury issues as well. Miami is putting a lot of faith in rookie specialists in the kicking game. We need to hope it pays off.
I thought the entire 2015 Draft class would make the roster, but 5th round pick Cedric Thompson was one of the cuts. He could be a candidate for the practice squad along with LB Jordan Tripp. OG/OC Sam Brenner had been solid for Miami, so I was somewhat surprised to see him be cut, but I don't think Miami is close to being done trying to add depth to the offensive line. I was surprised the Dolphins only kept 2 tight ends, Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims, especially when you consider the injury history of Cameron. The Dolphins ended up keeping 6 wide receivers, with Matt Hazel probably securing his spot with his strong play in the last preseason game and overall preseason.
Miami did release QB Josh Freeman, which was a surprise to no one, as Josh REALLY struggled. As I am typing this blog report, I see the Dolphins claimed former Arizona draft pick QB Logan Thomas. Thomas has a lot of ability, but is still raw and needs to develop. The Dolphins cut RB Mike Gillislie out of Florida, which once again was no surprise. The RB's are Lamar Miller, Damien Willliams, Jay Ajayi and LaMike James. Yes, that is LaMike James.
On the defensive side of the ball, on the deepest unit on the defense, the one casualty on that deep group was DT Anthony Johnson. In the end, you had a proven veteran in CJ Mosely that came on strong and the younger player in A.J Francis, that has played very well during the preseason. Big, young and talented, this unit could and I believe will be DOMINANT.
Along with Jordan Tripp, who I mentioned earlier, LB Mike Hull and Jeff Luc where also cut, although I have read that the Dolphins hope to get Hull on the practice squad as well. I just read on Twitter from NFL Trade Rumors.com that Miami has signed for Green Bay OLB Adrian Hubbard, although we don't know yet if it is for the practice squad or the 53 man roster as reported by Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson I mentioned that S Cedric Thompson was cut as well as S Don Jones, which was somewhat of a surprise when you consider how good Jones is on special teams as a gunner. He could be a candidate for the practice squad as well. There was buzz that the Dolphins were looking to trade CB Will Davis, but his strong showing in the last preseason game helped him maintain his roster spot.
We are now heading into a game week and preperation for the season opener against the Washington Redskins. Miami will continue to tweek the roster to try to find more quality depth. Time to get ready for the season. A season that I have been looking forward to. Can't get here soon enough.