Dissecting the Depth Chart

Coach Nick Saban made it clear Monday that the only reason the Dolphins released their first depth chart of the season is because they're required to and he also was quick to say, "It doesn't mean anything." But it's interesting nonetheless because -- as Saban said last summer -- it provides a snapshot in time. So what to make of this first depth chart?

Let's start by giving you the depth chart.

OFFENSE

Wide receiver -- Marty Booker, Derek Hagan, Kelly Campbell, Cliff Russell, Frank Murphy, Jamall Broussard

Left tackle -- L.J. Shelton, Damion McIntosh, Orrin Thompson

Left guard -- Jeno James, Joe Toledo, C.J. Brooks, Emmanuel Akah

Center -- Rex Hadnot, Wade Smith, Joe Berger

Right guard -- Seth McKinney, Bennie Anderson, Tony Pape

Right tackle -- Vernon Carey, Anthony Alabi, Mike Pearson

Tight end -- Randy McMichael, Justin Peelle, Jason Rader, Teyo Johnson, Keith Heinrich

Wide receiver -- Chris Chambers, Wes Welker, Fred Gibson, Marcus Vick, Devin Aromashodu

Quarterback -- Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Brock Berlin

Running back -- Ronnie Brown, Sammy Morris, Travis Minor, Kay-Jay Harris, Gerald Riggs Jr.

Fullback -- Fred Beasley, Darian Barnes

DEFENSE

Left end -- Kevin Carter, Matt Roth, Josh Shaw

Nose tackle -- Keith Traylor, Frederick Evans, Howard Green, Steve Fifita

Defensive tackle -- Vonnie Holliday, Jeff Zgonina, Manuel Wright, Kevin Vickerson

Open end -- Jason Taylor, David Bowens, Ben Ishola

Weakside linebacker -- Channing Crowder, Derrick Pope, Trent Bray, Travis Harris

Middle linebacker -- Zach Thomas, Mike Labinjo, Sam McGrew

Strongside linebacker -- Donnie Spragan, Sedrick Hodge, Keith Newman, Matt Sinclair

Left cornerback -- Will Allen, Michael Lehan, Shirdonya Mitchell, Will Poole

Right cornerback -- Travis Daniels, Andre Goodman, Eddie Jackson, Art Thomas

Strong safety -- Travares Tillman, Yeremiah Bell, Deke Cooper, Norman LeJeune

Free safety -- Renaldo Hill, Jack Hunt, Siddeeq Shabazz

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter -- Donnie Jones, Thomas Olmsted

Kicker -- Olindo Mare, Ola Kimrin

Punt center -- John Denney, Jeff Zgonina, Keith Heinrich

Kick center -- John Denney, Jeff Zgonina, Keith Heinrch

Holder -- Donnie Jones, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon

Punt returner -- Wes Welker, Frank Murphy, Jamall Broussard, Marcus Vick

Kickoff returner -- Wes Welker, Travis Minor, Frank Murphy, Cliff Russell, Jamall Broussard

* * *

OK, now time for some observations:

-- First-round pick Jason Allen is absent from the depth chart because he remained unsigned as of Monday afternoon.

-- Interesting to see Derek Hagan on the second team, although not totally surprising considering his potential and the way he performed during the first week of camp. It's certainly interesting to see him ahead of Kelly Campbell at this point.

-- Everything else is pretty much as expected on offense.

-- On defense, don't look at the depth chart and imagine a player automatically moving up in case of an injury. For example, it's very impressive that rookie Frederick Evans is listed second team at nose tackle, but it's difficult to envision him starting in the event of a Keith Traylor injury. The same goes at middle linebacker, where Mike Labinjo is listed second behind Zach Thomas. If Thomas gets injured, then Channing Crowder slides over from weakside linebacker and Derrick Pope probably replaces Crowder on the weak side.

In the secondary, the one thing that stands out is how low Will Poole is on the depth chart. The reality is that Poole is struggling to come back from last year's knee injury and he hasn't practice in several days.

-- Finally, we're also not expecting veteran Keith Newman to remain third team for very long.

It's like Saban said, there's a lot of competition in this training camp, so things might change.


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