Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins mock 53-man roster (1.0 or whatever)

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (left) leads a linebacker group that has surprisingly thin depth.
Linebacker Kiko Alonso (left) leads a linebacker group that has surprisingly thin depth. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Miami Dolphins are agonizing, hurting over the roster cuts they will make and announce over the next two days. It is, after all, painful to have to part with so many talented players.

Yes, that’s what practically all NFL teams say this time of year. That’s probably what the New York Jets are going to say and their roster has more holes than a golf course.

Me? I look at Miami’s looming decisions and think they’re not that tough to make. Even Fake GM Mando could make these decisions.

Don’t believe me?

Fine, for the sake of accountability and to test the knowledge of yours truly, I am going to lay out what I believe will be the Dolphins roster here. Now.

And Sunday or Monday when the actual roster is complete, I will publish what the Dolphins have and compare that to what I offer here. And we’ll see how far off I am.

(Obviously I have no idea about waiver pickups so I’m not taking those into account. You don’t ask mock drafts to take trades into account. You can’t ask a mock roster to account for trades or waiver acquisitions).

I’ll add commentary wherever warranted. The number of players at the position are in parenthesis.

So let’s go ...

OFFENSE

Quarterback (2): Jay Cutler, Matt Moore.

Brandon Doughty to practice squad. David Fales, who had a great final preseason game, is not practice squad eligible and so he gets cut and cannot be brought back unless it’s onto the 53-man roster.

Running back (4): Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Kenyan Drake, Senorise Perry.

Perry was injured the last part of the preseason but is expected to be 100 percent within the next week or 10 days. The Dolphins will look for a better option as the No. 4 running back on the waiver wire or in a cheap trade.

Wide receiver (5): Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo.

Drew Morgan and Damore’ea Stringfellow to practice squad. Rashawn Scott to PUP or IR.

Offensive line (11): Mike Pouncey, Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James, Jermon Bushrod, Jesse Davis, Anthony Steen, Isaac Asiata, Sam Young, Eric Smith, Jake Brendel, Ted Larsen.

Larsen has a biceps injury and cannot play for a couple of more months. But the Dolphins believe he’ll be healthy toward the end of the season. So they will want to put him on the IR with the possibility of returning. To be eligible for that, Larsen must be on the initial 53-man roster.

Tight ends (3): Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano, MarQueis Gray.

Thomas Duarte to practice squad.

DEFENSE

Defensive line (9): Andre Branch, Cameron Wake, William Hayes, Charles Harris, Terrence Fede, Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor.

There will be practice squad candidates from the defensive line players put on waivers. Remember the names Joby Saint Fleur, Praise Martin-Oguike and Cameron Malveaux.

Linebackers (6): Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons, Rey Maualuga, Mike Hull, Deon Lacey, Chase Allen.

This is an extremely weak group beyond Alonso and Timmons. Maualuga is still trying to get in shape. Hull, Lacey and Allen are mostly special teams players at this stage. Neville Hewitt is headed to the injured reserve list and Brandon Watts could be waived injured. The injuries to rookie Raekwon McMillan (knee) and ongoing injury to Koa Misi (neck) really hurt the talent level of the group. Do not be surprised if the Dolphins add a player via waivers or trade to upgrade depth.

I’ll say this right now: If the Dolphins suffer any significant injuries to Alonso or Timmons, they’ll be in a world of trouble.

Defensive backs (10): Alterraun Verner, Byron Maxwell, Xavien Howard, Cordrea Tankersley, Michael Thomas, Bobby McCain, Reshad Jones, Nate Allen, Maurice Smith, Walt Aikens.

The Dolphins absolutely love safety T.J. McDonald but he’ll be serving an eight-game NFL suspension and will not count on the 53-man roster.

The main question here is what to do with Torry McTyer or Jordan Lucas -- not because of issues involving the secondary but because of special teams and practice squad. Lucas is a solid special teams player but very limited on defense. McTyer is much more promising on defense but not as good on special teams. Also, you keep McTyer, he’s not going to the game on the 46-man squad. I would keep McTyer anyway. The Dolphins will probably keep Lucas as an 11th DB instead and try to get McTyer to the practice squad.

Lafayette Pitts, who was on practice squad and then the 53-man roster, gets cut and possibly returns to practice squad which he’s eligible to go on.

SPECIALISTS (3): Punter Matt Haack, kicker Andrew Franks, long snapper John Denney.

Whichever punter loses the punting battle is likely going to be picked up by another team.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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