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The Miami Dolphins are beginning their first training camp with new head coach Mike McDaniel at the helm, as rookies reported last week and veterans arrive on Tuesday.
Fans will have to wait until Saturday to get their first peek at the team, as that is the first session open to the public.
Until then, it’s a great time to finish assessing the roster after an offseason of moves.
We’ve talked about quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks and specialists but now it’s time to finish the final position group and discuss the safeties on the roster.
Roster locks: Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones, Eric Rowe
(AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Holland and Jones took over the starting safety jobs last season and really showed that they belong in this league. The former made a name for himself by making plays all over the field, while the latter made most of his impact rushing the passer.
They’ll continue to play the roles, and Rowe, who started 2021 as a starting safety, still can be a great matchup player. He’s solid in coverage against tight ends and brings a veteran presence to the position that can be useful to a group that’s this young.
While his contract has been a talking point this offseason, he’s valuable enough to keep around in 2022.
On the bubble: Sheldrick Redwine, Clayton Fejedelem, Quincy Wilson, Verone McKinley III
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
The bubble at safety is mostly about special teams play, as there hopefully won’t be a scenario where a fourth safety is needed too often. Redwine and Fejedelem have spent some time in Miami, so they have some knowledge of the system to give them a leg up.
However, Wilson brings positional versatility, playing cornerback in his career and working at safety this offseason.
The real wild card is McKinley, who the Dolphins signed as an undrafted free agent this year. He has experience playing alongside Holland, as they both played at Oregon, and he’s been lauded for leadership, even as a young player. Could that be enough to find him a spot on the active roster?
Unlikely to make the team: D'Angelo Ross
(AP Photo/ Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Ross was initially signed as an undrafted free agent by the New England Patriots in 2019. He missed his rookie season on injured reserve. Since then, he’s played a total of just three games, participating on defense and special teams.
Interestingly enough, Ross’ final game in 2021 was against Miami, where he played a career-high 46 defensive snaps.
Miami signed him to a reserve/future contract this offseason, but unless he really shows something to put himself above others at the position, it’s more likely that he spends another year on a practice squad.