Monday, August 9, 2010

Breaking down the Dolphins' first depth chart

In the Miami Dolphins' yearly tradition of messing with the media, the team has released their first "official" depth chart of 2010 training camp.

By head coach Tony Sparano's own admission, he just throws the thing together and advises not to read much into it.

Of course, what would we talk about if we didn't read anything into it?

Here is the Dolphins' depth chart, followed by some general comments and observations:

My comments:
  • Pat White being ahead of Chad Pennington is laughable. White's hardly ahead of the assistant that helps the receivers warm up.
  • It's a little interesting that 2009 third-rounder Patrick Turner is below undrafted rookie Marlon Moore on the depth chart, although I've heard quite a few good things about Moore this offseason. At this point, I'd still expect Turner sticks as the fifth receiver in hopes they get something out of him, while Moore is looking like a great candidate for the practice squad.
  • I'm guessing Sparano just forgot about offensive tackle Andrew Gardner, as his name is nowhere to be found and Lydon Murtha is listed as the second-team left tackle. Gardner has reportedly been working as the lone backup to Jake Long at left tackle in camp and is ahead of Murtha in stock, who is essentially the third-string right tackle.
  • After some mixing and matching at guard, these are the two guys I expected to be there, albeit at opposite spots. I think Richie Incognito and John Jerry offer the most upside and will open the season with the starters.
  • Joe Berger may have performed well in relief of Jake Grove last year, but I don't see him starting despite being listed as a first-teamer here. Grove is still better and the team has invested a lot more in him.
  • It will be interesting to see where Ikaika Alama-Francis fits into the Dolphins' defense once the regular season begins. His transition from defensive end appears to be going really well and he could provide a Matt Roth-type of run-stopper for the team. I think he will be a situational player at the very least.
  • It's pretty bad for Erik Walden that he's below seventh-round rookie Chris McCoy. Walden has been unable to crack the defense in two pro seasons, and I don't think special teams will save him again.
  • I expect Nolan Carroll to take a big leap in the next few weeks and into the top five at cornerback. I'm surprised at how high Nate Ness is right now and his versatility at safety helps, but I still don't see him on the final roster.
  • The return spots are interesting because it's a battle between guys who will make the team and contribute on offense against guys that will have to make the team just as returners. It's hard for guys like Tristan Davis and Taurus Johnson because they aren't going to be playing offense and thus cost an extra roster spot. The downside to sticking with Patrick Cobbs and Davone Bess is that they simply aren't very good as returners. Ideally, Nolan Carroll would upgrade the kickoff return job while developing at corner.

Discuss this article on the forum here!