Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dolphins waive running back Richard Medlin

The Miami Dolphins came out of the 2012 NFL Draft and undrafted free agent signings with eight running backs on their roster, which is why it should come as no surprise the team has decided to trim the spot a bit.

The Dolphins waived second-year running back Richard Medlin on Monday, reducing the Dolphins' roster total to 79, which doesn't include the nine unsigned draft picks. The team still has two additional roster spots available on their 90-man offseason roster.

A standout at Division II Fayetteville State, Medlin was his conference's special teams player of the year as a senior in 2010. He was originally signed by the New England Patriots after going undrafted in 2011 and totaled two touchdowns in the preseason before being waived during final cuts.

The Dolphins signed Medlin to their practice squad on Sept. 21 to provide practice depth at running back after the short-lived stint of veteran rusher Larry Johnson in Miami. Medlin was signed to the active roster on a three-year deal in Week 17 after offensive tackle Jake Long went on injured reserve, although he was inactive for the season finale.

It's not surprising to see Medlin cut here, as the Dolphins had a bevvy of running backs on the roster and Medlin offers little more than potential special teams value. The small school project lacked elite athleticism and didn't really have an upside on offense.

Even with Medlin's departure, the Dolphins still have six tailbacks under contract, as well as rookie fourth-rounder Lamar Miller still to be signed. Along with Miller, starter Reggie Bush and 2011 second-rounder Daniel Thomas should be considered locks to make the final roster in 2012.

My initial guess is that veteran Steve Slaton, whose career has taken a lackluster turn since his impressive rookie season with the Texans in 2008, will not make the final roster with the arrival of Miller. Slaton obviously had some talent once upon a time, but there is no reason to keep a player who has had multiple chance to perform as your fourth running back.

Then you have the fresh blood in the form of CFL imports Jerome Messam and Marcus Thigpen and undrafted rookie Jonas Gray. A highly-touted prep prospect before arriving at Notre Dame, Gray is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered as a senior and as a result he seems unlikely to vie for more than a practice squad spot.

Messam is the intriguing prospect of this bunch, as the 6-foot-3, 245-pound bruiser excelled with the Edmonton Eskimos and has the ability to play in the NFL in the right situation. It will be interesting to see if he stays at tailback given the logjam at the position or if he'll be worked at fullback to have a better chance at making the final roster.

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