The fifth and final installment of this multi-part series on minicamps around the AFC East. Check the archives for more on this series and the rest of our coverage.
Which returning veteran(s) is on the bubble heading into this season?
Alain Poupart (Dolphin Digest): The aforementioned (see part 4) Paul Soliai certainly would fit into that category, as would wide receiver Ernest Wilford and defensive back Jason Allen. Wilford was such a bust as a free agent last year the Dolphins worked him at tight end, along with wide receiver, this spring in the hope of finding a role for him. The Dolphins will have to take a significant cap hit if they let him go, so that might be his saving grace, but he's no lock to make the roster by any stretch. As for Allen, the 2006 first-round pick has bounced between safety and cornerback since joining the Dolphins without ever making a mark at either position. Coach Tony Sparano raved all spring about Allen's effectiveness on special teams, but Allen needs to become more consistent as a cornerback if he wants to have any impact on defense. The drafting of Davis and Smith, coupled with the free agent signing of Green, has given the Dolphins a lot of bodies at cornerback, and the Dolphins decide to keep only five at the position, Allen might find himself out of luck.
Tyler Dunne (BuffaloFootballReport.com): John McCargo is probably on his last leg at defensive tackle. The former first-round pick has been a major bust. It's looking more and more like he simply benefited from playing next to Mario Williams and Manny Lawson on N.C. State's defensive line. Because that cat-like quickness sure has not transferred to the pro level. The Bills are fine at the position with Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams. McCargo's best shot is to crack the team as a rotational player. Don't count on it, though. Barring a sudden surge of improvement, the team may cut their losses and drop the underachieving McCargo.
Dan Leberfeld (Jets Confidential): CB Drew Coleman. He was a little inconsistent in the spring, and that has also been the case over his first few years in the league. If he doesnt become more consistent this summer, he could be a camp casualty. He has great speed and athletic ability, but needs to put it all together now. But if he is cut, he probably would be picked up by Eric Mangini in Cleveland, who drafted him.
Jon Scott (Patriots Insider): There are three (Sammy Morris, Billy Yates, and David Thomas), but the obvious choice is Thomas. New England may keep three tight ends, but theyre not going to keep four. While Ben Watson may not be living up to expectations, hes more athletic and talented than Thomas, plus hes a former first round pick in his contract year. The ability Thomas brought to the table was to block and catch. He has been replaced by an offensive tackle on blocking situations, and a RB or WR can fill his shoes in passing downs. Chris Baker is going to push both Watson and Thomas, while Alex Smith is in direct competition for that roster spot. If Smith shows promise, Thomas could be squeezed out of a job.
Dan Leberfeld covers the New York Jets for Jets Confidential Magazine
Alain Poupart covers the Miami Dolphins as the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest
Tyler Dunne covers the Buffalo Bills for the Buffalo Football Report
Jon Scott covers the New England Patriots for Patriots Insider