Dolphins Countdown: The Most Valuable Players

With the start of training camp 2009 fast approaching, we set the stage by ranking the 82 players on the roster (the roster limit is 80 players under contract, so unsigned draft picks don't count). The countdown is based as much on value to the team as it is on ability. In this installment, we take a look at numbers 61 to 70.

70. ILB J.D. FOLSOM — The seventh-round pick from Weber State already has been accepted at veterinary school, and we get the feeling that's where he might be come September. Folsom is a smart player with some toughness, but he's not likely to make the 53-man roster.

69. TE JOHN NALBONE — This might be a little low for a fifth-round pick, but Nalbone didn't show much in the offseason practices that were open to the media, dropping way too many passes. In fact, in terms of pure ability, we'd rank Nalbone below fellow tight end Jared Bronson, but we put Nalbone higher because of his draft status.

68. S COURTNEY BRYAN — Bryan was brought back midway through last season to help out on special teams, and he has some value in that area. But he doesn't look ready to contribute on defense, and that ultimately will become a problem for him.

67. S ETHAN KILMER — Kilmer, who was signed in the offseason, has two years of experience with the Bengals, which may or may not be a good thing. Like Bryan, he's a guy who will be a special teams player first.

66. NT LOUIS ELLIS — A rookie free agent, Ellis was a dominant player in college, but that was in Division II. Coach Tony Sparano said in the offseason that Ellis had a long way to go in his technique. The Dolphins clearly are in the market for reliable backup nose tackle, but Ellis probably is too raw to be that guy.

65. NT JOE COHEN — A fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2007, Cohen spent a good part of last season on the Dolphins practice squad. Maybe he's that guy who can become Jason Ferguson's backup, but he'll have to show more than he has so far.

64. G SHAWN MURPHY — As a rookie fourth-round pick, Murphy spent the entire 2008 season on the inactive list and it was clear he needed to get a lot stronger to be able to play in the NFL. Murphy will be hard-pressed just to make the team because the Dolphins have a lot of guards/centers on the roster.

63. T NATE GARNER — Like Murphy, Garner spent every game last season on the inactive list, and it didn't help his cause when the Dolphins spent a sixth-round pick this year on another tackle, Andrew Gardner. The Dolphins obviously saw something in Garner last year to keep him the whole year; now it's time to see it.

62. LB WILLIAM KERSHAW — The Dolphins have a lot of young linebackers on their roster with special teams ability, and Kershaw is part of that group. He needs to do something to separate himself in training camp.

61. OLB TEARRIUS GEORGE — Like the more heralded Cameron Wake, George is a former CFL player. He spent time with the New Orleans Saints last year, and the Dolphins thought enough of his potential that they claimed him off waivers after he was let go by the Saints. George has a lot of linebackers to beat out to make the roster, though.

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