Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dolphins add undrafted tackle Chandler Burden

In a swap of undrafted rookie offensive tackles, the Miami Dolphins waived Portland State's Dustin Waldron on Wednesday while signing Kentucky's Chandler Burden to their training camp roster on a two-year contract.

The corresponding moves keep the Dolphins at 90 players on the active roster, although a spot could be opened up depending on what happens with safety Kelcie McCray, who is out indefinitely with a fractured foot suffered earlier this week.

Burden will wear No. 63 in practice, which Waldron had donned since July 27 after he gave veteran addition Eric Steinbach No. 65.

Updated (8/2): Waldron was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots, who also signed former Dolphins guard Derek Dennis.)


Background

A two-way player at La Salle High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Burden spent his first two seasons at Kentucky as a reserve defensive end and special teams player, recording nine tackle, a half-sack and a pass deflection as a sophomore in 2009.

In 2010, Burden shifted to the offensive side of the ball and started 11 of 12 games played at left tackle, helping the Wildcats to the No. 4 offense in the SEC. He underwent shoulder surgery that offseason and missed the team's appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh.

Burden continued to find success as a senior in 2011, starting 12 games at tackle while helping Kentucky's offense rush for 100+ yards seven time and 200+ yards three times. He also anchored an offensive line that ranked second in the conference in sacks allowed.

At Kentucky's Pro Day in March, Burden measured in at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds with 33 1/2-inch arms, 9 3/8 inch hands and 35 bench reps. After signing with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent on May 3, Burden was waived by the team three days before training camp on July 25.


Analysis

I'm a bit surprised to see Waldron released over the likes of fellow undrafted rookie Andrew McDonald and holdover Will Barker, because he seemed to be one of the undrafted players with higher upside and I thought he'd seriously contend for a practice squad spot.

Nevertheless, Waldron getting the boot now doesn't bode well for his NFL career, but the same can be said for Burden, who didn't even make it to camp with the Titans after signing in May. Of course, he's still very raw having played offense for just two seasons in college.

A smart, hard-working player, Burden doesn't have elite physical tools but held his own as an SEC offensive tackle for two seasons after working as a defensive end his first two years at UK. It's certainly impressive to transition from being a reserve end to a blind side tackle in one offseason.

At this point, Burden potentially slots in as the fourth left tackle behind Jake Long, Nate Garner and Will Barker. (I project Jonathan Martin, Lydon Murtha, Will Yeatman and Andrew McDonald on the right side.) Joining a position that's now eight men deep for the Dolphins, I suspect Burden will have a near-impossible time making the 53-man roster and is simply vying for a practice squad spot.

Follow all the Dolphins' transactions here and check up the updated projected depth chart here.


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