The 2013 NFL regular season is upon us. Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling for the Miami Dolphins:
1. Secondary depth: Miami made some curious decisions with its secondary over the weekend, keeping reserve corner R.J. Stanford and seventh-round pick Don Jones on the 53-man roster. I didn’t think either player was impressive in training camp or the preseason. This makes you question the health of rookie corners Will Davis and Jamar Taylor, who were drafted to provide immediate depth. Davis has been out for more than a week with a leg injury, and his status for Week 1 is unknown. Taylor has returned from his double hernia and groin strain, but he still doesn’t look 100 percent heading into the regular season.
2. Kheeston Randall, defensive lineman: Randall was not a name I considered when the Dolphins had to trim their roster Saturday night. For starters, he had a solid preseason and training camp. Second, he isn't practice-squad eligible, which means the Dolphins had no chance of reclaiming him after he was cut. But Miami had a lot of depth on its defensive line, and perhaps Randall won’t be missed. Still, he was a solid rotational player who lost his job.
3. Receiver depth: Miami kept just four receivers on its 53-man roster. That’s certainly a small number entering Week 1. The Dolphins cut bubble players Marvin McNutt and Chad Bumphis, either of whom could have provided depth as the fifth receiver. But Miami runs a lot of three-receiver sets. Perhaps tailback and kick returner Marcus Thigpen could be the fifth receiver if the Dolphins fail to find another receiver this week via waivers.
1. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: It was a stellar and productive preseason for Miami’s starting quarterback. Tannehill played in four exhibition games and had a 98.6 passer rating. He threw for 377 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, and completed 60.7 percent of his passes. It’s unlikely Tannehill will keep a 98.6 passer rating throughout the course of a 16-game regular season. But the Dolphins should be pleased with what they saw from their second-year quarterback. He at least has good momentum heading into Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
2. Pat Devlin, quarterback: The Dolphins' third quarterback was the biggest name on the team’s bubble. It turns out Devlin survived the cuts on Saturday after a decent performance in the preseason finale against New Orleans, throwing for 259 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions. He has a lot to work on, but Miami’s coaching staff saw enough in Devlin to keep him around as the developmental quarterback.
3. Dion Jordan, defensive end: Jordan has been on the mend from the moment Miami drafted him No. 3 overall last April. But he seems optimistic about his shoulder recovery heading into Week 1 and could be a factor to start the regular season. Jordan re-injured his shoulder in the second preseason game against Jacksonville. He finally returned to practice last week, and is expected to have another full week of practices coming up. Barring any setbacks, Jordan could make it back in time for the games that matter. He would be another threat for Miami’s defense.