Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dolphins sign journeyman NT Montavious Stanley

Two days after signing veteran defensive end Marques Douglas, the Miami Dolphins have added more depth to their defensive front by signing nose tackle Montavious Stanley.

A four-year NFL veteran and journeyman, Stanley (6-2, 302) will likely compete for a reserve spot at nose tackle in 2010.

With Stanley's signing the Dolphins now have 78 players on their 80-man offseason roster. One player will need to be released when the Dolphins ink their three unsigned players—draft picks Jared Odrick and Koai Misi and restricted free agent Ronnie Brown.

Background

Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round out of Louisville in 2006, Stanley failed to make the team's active roster out of training camp and joined the St. Louis Rams' practice squad to begin the regular season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Stanley to their active roster just eight days later. He played in three games and recorded four tackles, half a sack, and a forced fumble before being waived in November.

Stanley was signed to the Cowboys' active roster later in the 2006 season and re-signed with the team as an exclusive-rights free agent the following offseason.

Waived by Dallas during cutdowns during the 2007 preseason, Stanley was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 28.

Stanley went on to see his most extensive playing time with the Falcons, appearing in 14 games (six starts) for the team in 2007 while totaling 29 tackles.

A roster casualty prior to the 2008 regular season, Stanley signed with the New Orleans Saints in October and appeared in just one game.

Re-signed by the Jaguars in 2009, Stanley appeared in a career-high 15 games (no starts) and recorded 20 tackles, one sack, and three pass deflections.

After re-signing with the Jaguars as a restricted free agent in March, Stanley was waived on April 26. He had joined the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks before being signed by the Dolphins.

Analysis

In an amusing little turn of events, the guy who competed for the backup job to Jason Ferguson for two seasons in Dallas replaces the now-retired Ferguson on the Dolphins' roster three years later.

While listed at only 302 pounds, Stanley is strong with a solid, compact frame. Despite having what seems to be 3-4 defensive end size, he will indeed play nose tackle for the Dolphins.

As we've seen before with Bill Parcells and his staff, the team doesn't prefer those 340-350-pound nose tackles that some 3-4 teams utilize.

Instead, Parcells has opted for guys like Jason Ferguson (310), Jay Ratliff (303) and now Randy Starks (305). Stanley served as a nose tackle behind Ferguson in Dallas with many of the same staff, and should continue to play there in Miami.

The addition of Stanley gives the Dolphins five nose tackles, joining starter Starks, returning backups Paul Soliai and Ryan Baker, and undrafted rookie Travis Ivey.

Stanley obviously doesn't offer a ton of upside as a four-year journeyman in the NFL, but one advantage he'll have in competing for a backup spot is his two years of time with members of the Dolphins' staff that worked with him in Dallas.

Starks is entrenched as the starter, which means Stanley's primary competition will be Soliai and Baker. Ivey is not widely considered to be NFL-ready at this point.

Soliai has been a problem child and a bit of a disappointment since being drafted in the fourth round in 2007, never mastering the mental side of the game despite his prototypical nose tackle frame.

Baker, a converted defensive end, saw brief playing time as a rookie in 2009 after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Purdue.

The Dolphins will likely keep two nose tackles total, with three being a possibility as well. The versatility to play anywhere on the line from Baker and defensive end Tony McDaniel will help their chances.

That means Stanley will really need to separate himself from the rest of the pack, and probably win the No. 2 nose tackle job outright to earn a spot on the Dolphins' roster.

No longer eligible for the practice squad, Stanley—plucked by the Dolphins from the Omaha Nighthawks—could be back in the UFL if he can't crack the Dolphins' active roster.

As always, you can check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting the latest transactions here.


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