Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Projection: The Most Concerning Part of Defense’s Depth Chart

Bring a roster to your first training camp practice, Miami Dolphins. There are a lot of new names in our first Dolphins 53-man roster projection of 2024.

The Miami Dolphins made major changes to their defense this offseason, beginning with the decision to replace coordinator Vic Fangio with Anthony Weaver.

Weaver, of course, wanted players who fit his system, so there’s a good chance there are names you don’t recognize on our first Dolphins defensive 53-man projection of 2024.

Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Projection

Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel took a sledgehammer to their defensive roster this offseason, saying goodbye to big-time vets Christian Wilkins, Andrew Van Ginkel, Jerome Baker, and Xavien Howard, to name a few.

Will the Dolphins be a worse defense in 2024 because of it? Hard to say at this point. But they’ll definitely be a different one.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Starters: Zach Sieler, Teair Tart, Benito Jones

Backups: Neville Gallimore, Jonathan Harris

We admittedly made these picks without the benefit of seeing a single snap of practice. And while we think Tart and Gallimore (if no one else) are locks to join Zach Sieler on the Dolphins’ Week 1 roster, even that isn’t certain.

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There is going to be a seven-way battle for at most four roster spots, and it’s far too early to make any firm predictions on who will emerge.

Edge (4)

Starters: Jaelan Phillips, Shaq Barrett

Backups: Chop Robinson, Mohamed Kamara

There’s a name missing from this list so significant that even the casuals should catch it.

Where’s Bradley Chubb? The answer: probably on the physically unable to perform list for at least the first six weeks.

Our sense is that Jaelan Phillips is more likely than Chubb to start the season on the active roster. But if Chubb makes big strides in the next four months, the Dolphins will carry five EDGEs — including their two draft picks (Robinson and Kamara).

Linebacker (5)

Starters: David Long Jr., Jordyn Brooks

Backups: Duke Riley, Anthony Walker Jr., Cam Brown

More off-ball linebackers than pass rushers on our first 53? Yes — because special teams is an important consideration.

Brown and Riley are expected to be core specialists in 2024, while Walker should see considerable snaps on defense.

Cornerback (6)

Starters: Jalen Ramsey, Kendall Fuller

Backups: Cam Smith, Kader Kohou, Siran Neal, Ethan Bonner

Smith and Kohou will battle for the CB3 job all summer. Neal, like Brown and Riley, makes the cut because of his work in the kicking game.

And the idea of Bonner contributing from scrimmage shouldn’t be discounted. Including the team’s playoff loss to the Chiefs, Bonner played more snaps on defense last year than Smith, the team’s 2023 second-round pick.

Safety (5)

Starters: Jevon Holland, Jordan Poyer

Backups: Elijah Campbell, Nik Needham, Patrick McMorris

This position group perhaps more than others should make the Dolphins nervous. Their plan right now is to pair Holland with the 33-year-old Poyer, who allowed 10.2 yards per completion in his final year in Buffalo.

KEEP READING: Dolphins’ 53-Man Projection on Offense

And if Poyer were to get hurt, the Dolphins would have to rely on three players who were on the field for a combined 193 NFL defensive snaps in 2023. We’re not even sure at this point that the Dolphins consider Needham a safety and not a corner.

Spend money here, Grier.

Specialist (3)

Kicker: Jason Sanders

Punter: Jake Bailey

Long Snapper: Blake Ferguson

Nothing to see here.

The Dolphins are running back the same battery that last year was successful on 24 of 28 field goal attempts and 58 of 59 PATs.

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