The Dolphins have made through half of the preseason and it is getting to the point where they have to start making roster cuts soon. Usually, those roster cuts would consisted of late round picks and undrafted rookies that were brought in. There are three, late round/undrafted guys that have really stood out to me so far, Terrence Fede, Anthony Johnson, and Chris McCain. These guys are no longer worried about making the roster, but starting to make the push for playing time in the regular season.
I have always liked Fede, not because I watched him in college but because you have to root for the last round underdog right? Fede has shown up consistently in both practices and games. In two games, he has four quarterback hurries, a sack, and even a fumble recovery. Fede has shown that he is a talented player and could fit right in to Miami’s rotation.
Coach Coyle talked about how he wanted to have a rotation on the defensive line to keep everyone fresh. Miami will be without Dion Jordan for four games, that means the job is Fede’s if he continues to play at a good level.
When the Dolphins signed undrafted rookie Anthony Johnson I didn’t know too much about him, but people kept telling me “watch this kid”. It is hard to miss someone who is consistently in the backfield disrupting the pocket or closing running games. In the Falcons game, there were three straight run plays in which Johnson was in the backfield making the tackle, or at least slowing down the running back.
Johnson is looking like he has a good chance to be Miami’s 4th defensive tackle behind Odrick, Mitchell, and Starks. Miami’s defensive line is starting to look stacked with talent, if these young guys continue to improve each week, Miami could easily have an elite defensive front.
Coming into the preseason, I was hoping a younger unknown linebacker would step up so I no longer have to watch the comedy that is Phillip Wheeler, I was starting to assume it would be Jordan Tripp who would maybe develop ahead of schedule. I was wrong, Tripp has played alright so far, but Chris McCain has a shot to actually take snaps away from Wheeler and Ellerbe.
McCain was unknown as it gets until the games started up, he always is around the ball. So far this preseason, he has played 49 snaps and has five tackles and four stops (That is 1 more than Ellerbe and Wheeler combined). Wheeler has been absolutely horrible to this point, it is time to try something else, even if it is an undrafted rookie.
The preseason isn’t just to prepare the regular guys, but also to find diamonds in the rough. These three guys are playing like they deserve a roster spot, it may not be “guaranteed” at this moment, but if these guys continue their level of play they should see their fair share of playing time this season.