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Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins face tough roster choices

After each draft, general manager Jeff Ireland runs through his team in his mind to see if he can project something close to a final 53-man roster.

This year, it was more difficult — which is a good sign.

“I try to cut the team two days after the draft,” Ireland said on WINZ-940 this week. “It’s great that I can’t. In years past, I can cut it down to 57, 58 players. It will be a lot deeper team. There will be position battles.”

One position that remains unresolved is offensive tackle, but it will be at some point.

Asked if the Dolphins plan to do anything contractually with any of the three right tackles that auditioned for them Wednesday ( Eric Winston, Tyson Clabo or Winston Justice), coach Joe Philbin said: “I wouldn’t rule anything out, but I wouldn’t say anything is imminent. We’re evaluating our roster.”


Among Philbin’s initial impressions about some of his draft picks:

• On cornerbacks

Jamar Taylor


Will Davis

: “I thought their communication was good. They looked like they have good knee bend, move their feet pretty well.”

• On tight end

Dion Sims

, who dropped a pass but also made a nice catch over the middle: “He looks like a tight end. I liked his bend.”

First-rounder Dion Jordan and third-round pick Dallas Thomas were limited because both are recovering from shoulder surgery.

Philbin again was noncommittal about whether Thomas would be used at guard or tackle. “I thought he had good productivity at both positions,” Philbin said. “The guys who have some versatility in the NFL — that’s a valuable tool.”


• The Dolphins signed 19 undrafted players Friday, and all are participating in this weekend’s minicamp.

The offensive additions: quarterback Clay Belton (Findlay); running back Cameron Marshall (Arizona State); fullback Ina Liaini (San Jose State); receivers Chad Bumphis (Mississippi State), Terrell Sinkfield (Northern Iowa), Taylor Stockemer (Arkansas State), Junior Collins (Mount Union); tackle Patrick Ward (Northwestern); guard Chris Barker (Nevada); and center Sam Brenner (Utah).

On defense: tackles A.J. Francis (Maryland) and Chris Burnette (Old Dominion); ends Tristan Okpalaugo (Fresno State) and Emeka Onyenekwu (Louisiana-Lafayette); linebackers Alonzo Highsmith (Arkansas), Rob McCabe (Georgetown) and Michael Clay (Oregon); and safeties Jordan Kovacs (Michigan) and Keelan Johnson (Arizona State).

Several members of last season’s practice squad also participated, including receivers Jeff Fuller and Brian Tyms.

Among 18 players who are attending this weekend’s minicamp on a tryout basis: former UM defensive tackle Darius Smith, former FIU fullback Rupert Bryan and former FAU linebacker David Hinds.

Philbin said snaps were distributed evenly among the players.

“I told the guys I don’t care how you got here — you’re here,” Philbin said. “There’s a ton of information that will be disseminated to them throughout the weekend. We want them to absorb as much as they can. It’s a little bit of throw-stuff-against-the-wall and see what sticks.”

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