Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dolphins lose rookie safety Kelcie McCray to fractured foot

One of the more promising undrafted rookies added by the Miami Dolphins this offseason and someone that I recently predicted would make the team's 53-man roster to open the season, Kelcie McCray will likely miss his entire rookie season after suffering a fractured foot in training camp Monday.

The news was revealed by McCray himself on Twitter Tuesday night, while also indicating that he is to undergo surgery to repair the injury Wednesday morning.

A ball-hawking safety at Arkansas State, McCray led the Red Wolves with 70 tackles and notched four interceptions as a senior, earning first-team All-Sun Belt honors. He was regarded by some draft experts as a potential mid-round draft pick, making him a priority undrafted free agent for the Dolphins and someone that had a legitimate chance to make the team.

McCray's injury opens the door a bit wider for a few of the Dolphins' other safeties, including McCray's former college teammate in Tyrell Johnson. A former second-round pick and starter with the Minnesota Vikings, Johnson has failed to stand out in offseason work thus far and is vying for a fifth safety/special teams spot with former practice-squadder Anderson Russell.

The Dolphins' starting safeties appear set in Chris Clemons (if he can stay healthy) and Reshad Jones, while the top backups will almost certainly be veteran Tyrone Culver and second-year man Jimmy Wilson. A fifth safety is no guarantee to be kept at all and McCray probably had the best chance of the bunch given his upside.

As for the ensuing roster move(s), the Dolphins will likely either place McCray on injured reserve for the entire season or work out an injury settlement with him and release him in the near future. What they decide to do depends on how much they like him as a prospect and if they are willing to pay him a full salary while he sits out the 2012 season on IR.

Should they decide to keep him on IR, he will still count against the 90-man offseason roster until the cut down to 75 on Aug. 27. To clear a spot on the roster immediately, the Dolphins would have to put him on waivers first and risk another team claiming him for the purposes of stashing him, like the Patriots did to the Giants with tight end Jake Ballard in June.

While McCray is injured, unproven and unable to offer any team an immediate impact, it's possible another team might be willing to carry him on their expanded roster for the next month before placing him on IR if the Dolphins do decide to expose him to waivers.

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