Intriguing Roster Questions

The Dolphins and the other NFL teams are less than a week away from having to make their first mass roster cuts, as they must get to a limit of 75 players by next Tuesday and then the final 53 by a week from Saturday. As we head into the Dolphins' fourth preseason game, there are some intriguing roster dilemmas the team is facing.

Will the Dolphins carry two or three quarterbacks?

Coach Joe Philbin was asked that very question on Wednesday and he wouldn't commit one way or the other. As Philbin pointed out, some teams keep two and other keep three. The basic thought comes down to whether a team would be comfortable putting its third quarterback into a regular season game and whether a team can afford to expose a QB to waivers. For the Dolphins, the decision centers around Pat Devlin, who the team carried on the roster all of last season. The Dolphins have been high on his potential, and Philbin said Wednesday that Devlin had made progress since last year. That said, keeping Devlin if he's not going to play a down knocks another potential player off the team. The Dolphins have to decide how much they like Devlin's long-term potential again this summer.

Will all the young running backs make the roster?

The focus at running back has been on the starting position, where Daniel Thomas seems to be giving Lamar Miller a run for the job even though Miller remains the overwhelming favorite. But what about the other guys, specifically rookie Mike Gillislee and Jonas Gray. Gillislee figures to make the team because of his status as a fifth-round pick in 2013, while Gray has been impressive all summer and is the team's best short-yardage back. Still, can the Dolphins really afford to keep four halfbacks when kick returner Marcus Thigpen also can fill in there?

Which backup linebackers have the edge?

The Dolphins seem set among their starters with Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler and Koa Misi, and Jason Trusnik is solid as the first backup linebacker. But how much difference is there among the young backups — Jelani Jenkins, Alonzo Highsmith, David Hinds, Michael Clay, Austin Spitler, Jonathan Freeny, Josh Kaddu and Lee Robinson. From this vantage point, Robinson has been the most impressive of the young guys, but he's a CFL signing. Philbin has talked more than once about really liking Kaddu's potential and Jenkins is a rookie fourth-round pick, which would seem to indicate they'll both make the team. The other question here is whether the Dolphins wind up keeping six or seven linebackers.

How many safeties will make the 53-man roster?

Beyong starters Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson appears the only sure thing. But keeping three safeties is pretty rare. But none of the other young safeties have distinguished themselves, whether it be Kelcie McCray, Keelan Johnson, Jordan Kovacs or rookie seventh-round pick Don Jones. What could come into play here is the Dolphins have a good amount of cornerbacks.

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