- Jul 26, 2004
- Reaction score
1. OLBer Cameron Wake – His unmatched athletic ability should allow him to produce double-digit sacks, either as a starting outside linebacker, or pass rushing specialist. But Wake needs to master the other aspects of his position to not be a liability against the run.
2. WR Brian Hartline – His skill set makes him the front runner to start opposite Brandon Marshall because he possesses the best speed of the rotation receivers. But it’s not like Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess are chopped liver. That’s why Hartline has an uphill battle ahead of him.
3. DE Jared Odrick – With Phillip Merling suffering a season-ending Achilles injury the team’s first-round pick is in the ideal spot to become an immediate starter like Kendall Langford did two years ago. But Odrick has plenty to learn about being a 3-4 defensive end. Langford got it done quickly because he played in a 3-4 at Hampton. If Odrick doesn’t spent the first two weeks of camp getting abused by left tackle Jake Long he’ll be off to a good start. But Tony McDaniel and Marques Douglas will push him.
4. QB Tyler Thigpen – He’s a gambler that coach Tony Sparano has favorably compared to Tony Romo because of his ability to improvise. He can keep plays, and games alive. The Dolphins are working to help him refine his game, toning down his tendency to freelance. Thigpen shouldn’t have much trouble beating out Pat White to become Chad Henne’s backup.
5. CB Will Allen - This grizzled veteran has dominated training camp every year I’ve covered the team, but is he fully recovered from his ACL tear? And can Allen unseat either Smith or Vontae Davis to regain his starting role. It’s clear this regime wants to invest in their youngsters, but coaches can’t afford to put inferior players on the field. To regain his starting job Allen must prove he still has a leg up on one of the youngsters. If he failed to unseat one of the rookies he’ll still be used in the nickel spot, so this is a win-win for the team.
6. OG Richie Incognito – Sparano openly admits he’s had a crush on Incognito for years because of his physical, and aggressive style of play. He’s the front runner to become the starting right guard if he can hold off Donald Thomas. But can Incognito keep his composure for an entire season?
7. OLBer Koa Misi – This rookie worked as the starting strong side linebacker for most of the offseason because the coaches hoped to speed up his development. It apparently worked because everyone is talking about this second-round pick’s potential, and upside. Considering he wasn’t much of a pass rusher in college, I’ve got to see some flashes for myself before endorsing him.
8. RB Kory Sheets – He’s extremely fast, and exciting to watch on stretch runs. But how much can this former Purdue tailback do as a downhill runner? Can he gain yards running between the tackles better than Lex Hilliard? Can he pass block? And is Sheets really an option as a returner? Sheets will need to excel in camp, and the exhibition season to keep his spot on the 53-man roster.
9. OLBer Charlie Anderson – He’s the one veteran that could elevate his role with a strong camp. Anderson’s flashed at times when given opportunity in games the past two seasons. But he’ll need to be consistent, and effective as a pass rusher to hold off Wake and Misi. This is probably the last chance this six-year veteran has of earning a starting role in the NFL, and motivation goes a long way in training camp.
10. ILBer Tim Dobbins – His performance during the offseason program got him a multi-year contract, but truth is it doesn’t exactly warrant praise. However, the stats he put up last season in San Diego hints he might give Channing Crowder a little competition to see who becomes Karlos Dansby’s running mate.
That’s my list of the 10 players (non-starters) I’ll be watching the closest this training camp. I’m wondering which Dolphins make your list?