Saturday, September 4, 2010

David Martin, Donald Thomas headline Dolphins' 20 cuts

The Miami Dolphins trimmed down from 73 players to just 53 in the final cuts before the regular season, and while many of the roster moves were predictable, there were a few surprising or notable names involved.

The biggest surprise was veteran tight end David Martin, who had re-signed in early August after a year out of football and had been running consistently with the first team in two-tight end sets since his arrival.

Other notable players let go were quarterback Pat White, wide receiver Patrick Turner, and guard Donald Thomas. Drafted in the first three rounds a year ago, White and Turner mark two significant draft failures for Bill Parcells in Miami.

Thomas' cut also comes as a surprise to many fans, as he'd come out of nowhere to win the team's starting right guard job as a rookie sixth-round pick in 2008.

He'd done little since, however, missing 15 games with a foot injury his rookie season and getting benched in favor of Nate Garner midway through the 2009 season.

The complete list of cuts were as follows:
  • SS Jonathon Amaya*
  • DE Ryan Baker*
  • DE Lionel Dotson*
  • OG Ray Feinga*
  • ILB J. D. Folsom*
  • OT Andrew Gardner*
  • C Andrew Hartline*
  • CB Kevin Hobbs
  • FB Rolly Lumbala*
  • TE David Martin
  • OLB Chris McCoy*
  • CB Nate Ness*
  • WR Julius Pruitt*
  • ILB Austin Spitler*
  • NT Montavious Stanley
  • OG Donald Thomas
  • WR Patrick Turner*
  • OLB Erik Walden
  • CB Ross Weaver*
  • QB Pat White
Players with asterisks beside their name are eligible for the practice squad if they clear waivers. A player must have less than two years on the practice squad and have less than nine games active in any pro season to be eligible for the practice squad.

All except Martin and Stanley will be subject to waivers and could possibly be claimed by another team. Stanley and Hobbs had their contracts terminated and can sign with another team immediately.

SS Jonathon Amaya — A solid prospect with some upside, Amaya was unable to crack the final roster due to Tyrone Culver's value on special teams. He's an ideal candidate for the practice squad, though, if someone doesn't snatch him up.

DE Ryan Baker — A versatile guy that can play both defensive end and nose tackle, Baker loses out to Tony McDaniel primarily because Baker is the only one of the two still eligible for the practice squad. He could appeal to other teams, including all of the Dolphins' division rivals, so hopefully he makes it to Miami's practice squad.

DE Lionel Dotson — Drafted in the seventh round out of Arizona in 2008, Dotson has seen sparse playing time in two pro seasons and has done little to impress in preseason. It was time to move on and look for another young defensive end that might have more potential.

OG Ray Feinga — Released at the beginning of training camp due to a minor car crash, Feinga was re-signed and then subsequently broke his finger in the preseason. It's possible he was waived/injured and could end up getting an injury settlement shortly.

ILB J. D. Folsom — The Dolphins' seventh-round pick in 2009, Folsom was a solid special-teamer and saw action in one game last season. He was outplayed by undrafted rookie Micah Johnson, and was made expendable largely by the fact that he wasn't a good fit for Miami's 3-4 defensive scheme.

OT Andrew Gardner — A sixth-round pick in 2009, Gardner would be on my short list of Dolphins that had the worst training camp/preseason this year. Gardner does not look ready to be an NFL tackle and the Dolphins couldn't afford to carry him as a primary backup.

C Andrew Hartline — A somewhat versatile guy as a college tackle that has worked at both center and guard as a pro, the odds were stacked against Hartline playing behind two starting-caliber centers. With the Dolphins opting to keep both Berger and Grove, there was no room for Hartline.

CB Kevin Hobbs — Signed for veteran depth after the injury and subsequent release of Evan Oglesby, Hobbs profiled as nothing more than a backup anyway. His fate was sealed when the team traded Greg Camarillo for Benny Sapp.

FB Rolly Lumbala — Perhaps no player on the team's offseason roster had as little a chance to make the Dolphins as Lumbala. The Dolphins practically always carry only one fullback, and Lumbala has nothing on the Pro Bowl-caliber starter in Lousaka Polite. With Lumbala failing to stand out on special teams either, his fate was sealed.

TE David Martin — It was pretty surprising to see Martin cut, as he was so good for the team in 2008 and John Nalbone hasn't shown us anything yet. It is possible that Martin was only let go temporarily, as the team can re-sign him after Week One to avoid guaranteeing his entire 2010 salary.

OLB Chris McCoy — A rookie seventh-round pick from Middle Tennessee State, McCoy did little in the preseason and simply isn't ready for the Big Show. As a drafted rookie that didn't make the active roster, he's a prime candidate for the practice squad.

CB Nate Ness — Ness drew rave reviews from fans and the media alike for a great performance against Tampa Bay in the preseason, but he hasn't done much against tough competition and his play tailed off a bit as the exhibition season wore on. With Jason Allen so good on special teams and Nolan Carroll penciled in as the kick returner, there simply wasn't room for Ness.

WR Julius Pruitt — Signed after the preseason in 2009, Pruitt has been unable to translate his good size and speed to the NFL. He was outplayed by undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace in camp, though will be under consideration for the practice squad.

ILB Austin Spitler — Spitler lost ground after beginning training camp with salmonella and was unable to recover and outplay Micah Johnson. He has more upside than Folsom and should be on the practice squad as a drafted rookie.

NT Montavious Stanley — A journeyman that has had nine stints with seven teams from two pro leagues in four years, Stanley had no chance to win the backup job to Randy Starks after Paul Soliai posted some great games in the preseason.

OG Donald Thomas — I was railed by fans this preseason for proposing that Thomas would be cut, but it was a pretty obvious choice given his regression. Although I didn't project him to be cut in yesterday's final prediction due to the injury to Nate Garner and the fact that my article preceded the Pat McQuistan acquisition, I knew Thomas was on the bubble by the fact that he'd played only with the third team all preseason. Thomas was exciting for us because he won a starting job as a late-round rookie, but he hasn't proven anything. It was time to move on.

WR Patrick Turner — I thought Turner would have a chance to make the team given lack of position and the big investment made in him in the draft, but the Dolphins admitted an obvious mistake by cutting him. He's got the physical tools, but he's an otherwise poor receiver. He's practice squad eligible, but his potential may get someone to claim him—possibly his former college coach in Seattle, Pete Carroll.

OLB Erik Walden — Walden is another guy I had making the roster. While he hasn't shown anything on defense and hasn't even really played it in the pros, he's an excellent special teams player. Combine that with the fact that Moses and McCoy didn't do anything in the preseason either and I thought Walden had a shot.

CB Ross Weaver — Absolutely buried on the depth chart at cornerback, Weaver was never given a realistic chance to make the roster and was an obvious cut choice. He's a borderline pro prospect.

QB Pat White — An obvious mistake since the day the Dolphins drafted him, White lacks the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback and the ability to worth using in the spread-option in the NFL. The Dolphins were wise to cut him here, but it would have been even wiser to not waste a second-round pick on him a year ago. He's better suited at wide receiver in the NFL, or maybe quarterback in a lower pro league.

While the team now has 53 players, it's important to remember that this is not likely to be the roster the team goes into Buffalo with on Sept. 12.

Like all teams after final cuts, the Dolphins will be scouring the waiver wires for additional depth and hidden talent.

The Dolphins routinely added at least two or three players off waivers following final cuts, so some of the players on the bottom of the depth chart can't rest easy just yet.

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