Monday, August 27, 2012

Dolphin waive Julius Pruitt, get down to 75 players

Nearly three years after signing  as an undrafted free agent out of Division II Ouachita Baptist, wide receiver Julius Pruitt's tenure with the Miami Dolphins is likely at an end.

Needing to make one roster move to get down to 75 players by today's deadline, the Dolphins chose to waive Pruitt while trimming their much-discussed wide receiver battle to a 10-man race.

Compared to Saturday's wave of cuts, It's a surprising move to be sure, as Pruitt had worked as a second-team receiver for all of training camp and looked to have an edge on the competition for one of the final spots at the position. He was also a good special-teamer as one of coordinator Darren Rizzi's best gunners.

However, it seems his special teams prowess just wasn't enough and the Dolphins felt more comfortable moving on with younger talent. Pruitt is ineligible for the practice squad heading into the 2012 season and although he'd certainly refined his technique over the years in Miami, he likely just didn't offer enough upside.

The Dolphins head into the final week of the preseason with only two real locks at the receiver position in Davone Bess and Brian Hartline, although Hartline has been unable to get on the field all month with a calf injury.

Beyond that it's a true mess, as free-agent addition and camp starter Legedu Naanee has not had a good preseason and has five sub-par seasons with the Chargers and Panthers on his resume. Marlon Moore seems to be one of the safer receivers, while Roberto Wallace gets a little help from Pruitt's release as well. Both Moore and Wallace are excellent special-teamers.

Then you have disappointing 2010 fourth-rounder Clyde Gates, drafted rookies Rishard Matthews and B. J. Cunningham, undrafted rookie Jeff Fuller and former college lacrosse player Chris Hogan. While none is a lock to make the roster, all have cases that can be made. Gates has blazing speed and return ability; Matthews has had a great preseason; Cunningham had the best collegiate career; Fuller has upside and a history with Ryan Tannehill; Hogan seems to have a knack for route-running and getting open.

If I had to guess right now, I'd put Naanee, Hartline, Bess, Moore, Wallace and Matthews on the active roster and Cunningham, Fuller, plus maybe Hogan on the practice squad. It will certainly be an interesting week with the preseason finale Wednesday and the final cut-down looming at 9 p.m. ET this Friday.

Hopefully this coming week provides Pruitt with a new opportunity in the NFL and the Dolphins some clarity on the wideout position.

Check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.