As the Miami Dolphins approach closer to the regular season opener versus the Browns just 11 days away, the Dolphins have been assessing their roster, and making cuts. As seen in HBO’s Hard Knocks last summer, the whole roster fights for very limited spots in the final 53 man roster. With this past Tuesday (27th) being set as a deadline for a 75 man roster, the Dolphins made a series of subtractions.
Among the 14 former Miami Dolphins that were recently released before Tuesday, we will look into each of these position battles, and highlight the headline cuts.
The 14 players that were cut include: OL Jeff Braun, OL Chandler Burden, DT Chris Burnette, LB Michael Clay, WR Jeff Fuller, LB Alonzo Highsmith, LB David Hinds, FB Jorvorskie Lane, G Lance Louis, DE Emeka Onyenekwu, WR Julius Pruitt, WR Andrell Smith, WR Kenny Stafford, and LB Nathan Williams.
The most noticeable names from these cuts include former fullback Jorvorskie Lane, who made his rookie appearance on Hard Knocks with the Dolphins last year. In the premier of Hard Knocks Lane was highlighted as a bulldozing fullback who followed offensive coordinator Mike Sherman to the Dolphins from Texas A&M. At Texas A&M, Lane was regarded as a powerhouse running back who was overwhelmingly overweight. By the end of Lane’s college career, Mike Sherman saw promise in his young college running back and promised him if he dropped weight he would try him out for an NFL team.
Notably, Lane started a majority of the games last season for the Dolphins as fullback, where he accumulated 2 rushing touchdowns, as well as a receiving touchdown. As a somewhat promising young back last season, it sparked a surprise for many Dolphin’s fans to see him released. In terms of who will be taking Lane’s place, stands 3 year player Charles Clay who seems to have the position locked up.
Secondly a notable player who was released on Tuesday is offensive guard Lance Louis. Louis who was drafted by the Bears in 2009, spent 3 years with the Bears after being signed out of free agency by the Dolphins. It was in high hopes for Dolphin’s fans and staff that Louis would be in contention for a starting role in the right guard position in 2013. Louis was recently recovering from a former ACL surgery he sustained last year with the Bears, as it was apparent the Dolphins were not comfortable with Louis’ sustainability. Playing in place of Louis appears to be another young guard in John Jerry, who had a roller coaster season on the line last year. It will be interesting to see how this young Dolphin’s offensive line holds up throughout the season, and who else will make the final roster.
Lastly a few wide receiver names stood out to me as well. Another former Texas A&M Aggie was released Tuesday, that man being wide out Jeff Fuller. Fuller showed lots of potential coming out as a tall 6″4′ physical wide out. However as many Dolphins fans realize, we possess a very young, in depth wide receiving corps that can do damage in the passing game. Behind a solid deep threat receiver in Mike Wallace, and a strong #2 receiver in Brian Hartline, the Dolphins receiving core is looking for depth. Coming over from St. Louis last season lands Brandon Gibson, who shows potential in the slot for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Behind our starting three receivers however, the race gets thick for the final few spots. It is somewhat apparent that Rishard Mathews has impressed throughout his tenure with the Dolphins, however other young wide outs like Julius Pruitt, Kenny Stafford, and Andrell Smith could not impress the Dolphin’s staff.
3 days from now (August 31st) the Dolphins will be required to submit a final 53 man roster, in which another staggering amount of players will be released. Stay tuned for more information among releases.