Leonte Carroo expects to play against the Falcons on Thursday after missing the Dolphins’ third preseason game with a groin injury.
It will be Carroo’s final audition for the Dolphins, yes. But more likely, it will be a last chance to prove to the NFL’s other 31 teams that he deserves to be in the league.
Carroo is arguably the biggest name seemingly on the wrong side of the roster bubble. His vulnerability is notable by virtue of when he was drafted — not what he has done in the two and a half years since.
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Carroo, the receiver the Dolphins traded three picks to take in the third round in 2016, spoke to the Miami Herald Tuesday after completing what very well might be his final practice with the Dolphins. He is one of several players vying to be the team’s sixth receiver. If he falls short, he is not eligible for the practice squad.
So it’s active roster or bust for Carroo — who has arguably been the biggest disappointment in Chris Grier’s three years leading the Dolphins’ draft room.
“I feel like I still haven’t reached my full potential,” Carroo said. “[I] just want to go out there and put a lot of good stuff on film, be a core special teams player. Go out there and play fast and physical.”
Carroo’s story is unique only because of his draft position. There will be hundreds of NFL players cut between now and 4 p.m. Saturday, the deadline for teams to pare their roster from 90 to 53 players.
Some will catch on with another team.
Others will never play football again.
If Carroo hopes to avoid those in the second category, he would be well served to play great against the Falcons.
Same goes for Brock Osweiler. And Isaac Asiata. And Kendall Langford. Not to mention Jordan Lucas and Thomas Duarte.
All appear to be in at least some danger of getting cut.
Osweiler threw yet another interception in practice Tuesday, but this one was not his fault. Malcolm Lewis had a reasonably good throw ricochet off his hands and into the grasp of Chase Allen.
Still, that brings Osweiler’s interceptions total for the summer — combining practices and games — to at least 10. And while David Fales has not been great, he has at least been more careful with the ball on balance. (Gase said point-blank Monday that his backup quarterback for the 2018 season is currently on Miami’s roster, and since Bryce Petty has no real chance, that means either Fales or Osweiler will get the job.)
“It’s not really up to me to make that decision of where I sit on the depth chart,” Osweiler said. “It’s just up to me to each day compete on the practice field, to work hard in the meeting rooms and really just be the best quarterback and teammate I can be.”
Asiata, a second-year guard who appeared in just one game as a rookie, might have seen his fortunes improve Tuesday through nothing but sheer luck.
Ted Larsen, Miami’s top backup, left practice with an undisclosed injury and did not return. If it’s anything serious, the Dolphins will likely need to keep another lineman than they had originally planned. Asiata, Eric Smith and Zach Sterup were seemingly competing for one job entering the day.
Langford, a veteran in his second stint with the Dolphins, has an advocate in Gase, but the numbers game might get him, particularly with William Hayes on track to be ready for Week 1 after sitting out most of August with a hamstring injury.
As for Lucas and Duarte, their time here might also be up after they joined the team as late-round draft picks in 2016 — the same year Miami took Carroo on Day 2.
“It’s been a journey,” Carroo said. “Going from Rutgers and playing a ton, and now it being my third season of training camp. You just have to block out the noise. Not worry about anything. Your job is to play football, not worry about if you’re going to make the team or not. I don’t worry about that stuff at all.”
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