Deep, talented defensive line the strength of Dolphins' 53-man roster

Here's a player-by-player look at the Miami Dolphins' 53-man roster.


Ryan Tannehill: Big things are expected in Year 4 for Tannehill, especially after he got a $96 million extension. He lit up the preseason with 303 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and an 80.4 completion percentage.

Matt Moore: He's a reliable backup with starting experience. Moore was shaky in the preseason, but the Dolphins don't appear concerned.

Logan Thomas: Miami claimed Thomas off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins want to see if he can be a good, developmental option.


Lamar Miller: He is coming off a career season with 1,099 yards. Miller put on about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason in an effort to get more carries.

Damien Williams: The second-year player looked more consistent this preseason. He's the first option off the bench to give Miller a breather.

LaMichael James: He was one of the surprises of training camp and won the Dolphins' duties as a kick and punt returner.


Jarvis Landry: He led the Dolphins in receiving last season and appears poised to do the same in 2015. Landry is Miami's best route runner and has the best hands on the team, which is a good combination.

Greg Jennings: The veteran reunites with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. The pair had great years together in Green Bay.

Kenny Stills: A calf injury slowed Stills in training camp. But the Dolphins expect big things out of the former New Orleans Saints receiver.

DeVante Parker: Miami's first-round pick is just returning from foot surgery. He may not make an immediate contribution, but Parker is part of Miami's long-term plans.

Rishard Matthews: He had the best training camp of his career, but it's still unclear what his role will be. Will Miami's coaches play Matthews over Stills and Parker once all the receivers are healthy?

Matt Hazel: The 2014 draft pick worked hard to make the 53-man roster. Hazel spent most of last season on the practice squad.


Jordan Cameron: The former Pro Bowler must stay healthy to return to his 2013 form.

Dion Sims: He is versatile and can run block, and he's better as a receiving tight end than most give him credit for.


Mike Pouncey: Miami's center keeps this unit together. He is extremely tough and has developed into one of the team's leaders.

Branden Albert: The Dolphins' starting left tackle may not be ready for Week 1 because of knee surgery. Miami needs Albert healthy for the long haul.

Ja'Wuan James: The 2014 first-round pick has quietly solidified Miami's right tackle position. He started all 16 games as a rookie.

Dallas Thomas: He won the starting job at left guard but remains a question mark. He has yet to master one position in three seasons.

Jamil Douglas: The rookie fourth-round pick has promise and beat out Billy Turner for the starting job. But Douglas will make his share of rookie mistakes.

Billy Turner: He had a disappointing training camp and preseason. Turner will be a backup to begin the regular season.

Jason Fox: He held his own at left tackle this summer while Albert was sidelined. Fox may have to start in Week 1.

Jeff Linkenbach: The Dolphins like his versatility to play both guard and tackle. He has value as a backup with starting experience.

Jacques McClendon: He's the backup for Pouncey at center.


Ndamukong Suh: He's a game-changer for Miami's defense and a top-10 player in the NFL. Suh is a dominant force in the middle with the ability to make other players around him better.

Earl Mitchell: The defensive tackle will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the "Suh effect." Mitchell will see a lot of one-on-ones this season and is expected to win many of those battles.

Cameron Wake: The Pro Bowl defensive end is coming off an 11.5-sack season. That number is expected to increase as he plays next to Suh on the right side of the line.

Olivier Vernon: He's had 18 sacks combined the past two seasons and will be motivated in a contract year.

Terrence Fede: The 2014 seventh-round pick made the biggest Year 2 jump of any Dolphins player. He should give Miami quality snaps off the bench at defensive end behind Vernon and Wake.

Derrick Shelby: Miami's coaching staff likes Shelby's steady play and the fact that he always knows his assignments. He isn't flashy but plays hard and smart.

Jordan Phillips: This year's second-round pick worked out with Suh during the offseason. Motor, not talent, was a question in college.

C.J. Mosley: An 11-year veteran who will provide depth and experience behind the starters at defensive tackle.

A.J. Francis: He's best-known for driving an Uber in the offseason. But Francis also has good size and athleticism and is solid on special teams.


Kelvin Sheppard: He has provided a boost at middle linebacker and allowed Koa Misi to move to his natural position of outside linebacker. However, Sheppard's pass coverage was shaky at times this summer.

Koa Misi: A veteran who is happy to move back to outside linebacker, which is his natural home. Misi is one of Miami's biggest hitters.

Jelani Jenkins: He led the team in tackles in 2014 and is poised for another solid season. Jenkins usually stays around the football.

Chris McCain: The second-year player had a shot to earn a starting job but didn't show enough. McCain still will get plenty of playing time and opportunities to rush the passer.

Zach Vigil: The undrafted rookie was the biggest surprise of training camp. Vigil plays fast and will contribute immediately on special teams.

Spencer Paysinger: The veteran provides depth as a backup and will help on special teams.

Neville Hewitt: He was a surprise choice for the 53-man roster. Hewitt had a quiet training camp and preseason compared to other linebackers.


Brent Grimes: Miami's Pro Bowl cornerback is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. The Dolphins have the luxury of putting Grimes on the opponent's best receiver.

Brice McCain: He is favored to start early because of an injury to Jamar Taylor. McCain is a veteran who will get tested early and often opposite Grimes.

Jamar Taylor: Injuries have slowed Taylor his first three seasons. He was on his way to winning a starting job until a recent quad injury, but the Dolphins hope he can contribute as the nickelback in Week 1 and work his way back to form.

Will Davis: Trade rumors surrounded Davis, but his two interceptions in the preseason finale earned him a roster spot.

Bobby McCain: Miami's fifth-round pick is feisty and is working on his development. Right now, McCain's primary focus is on special teams.

Tony Lippett: A college receiver, Lippett is raw and is still learning how to play cornerback at the NFL level. The Dolphins like his potential and ball skills.

Zack Bowman: The eight-year veteran didn't show much in training camp and the preseason. But Miami is young at corner and needed another veteran.


Reshad Jones: He's coming off his best season despite playing in just 12 games in 2014. Jones is excellent inside the box and arguably Miami's surest tackler.

Walt Aikens: The second-year safety is a converted cornerback who can cover a lot of ground. Aikens will be asked to replace the injured Louis Delmas, who is out for the year with a knee injury.

Michael Thomas: Versatility is Thomas' biggest strength. He can play both safety positions, the nickel and special teams.

Jordan Kovacs: He barely made the 53-man roster thanks to his special-teams value.


Andrew Franks: The rookie beat out former Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis in the preseason with three made field goals. Can Franks continue to stay accurate in the regular season?

Matt Darr: The rookie ousted former Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields in a somewhat surprising move. Darr put three punts inside the 20 in the preseason finale.

John Denney: The Dolphins' long-snapper is the team's longest-tenured player, with 11 seasons in Miami.