Dolphins' position battle at outside linebacker still open

The Miami Dolphins concluded their offseason program last week following mandatory minicamp. It was an intriguing series of practices where I learned plenty about the team.

However, several positions are still to be determined on Miami’s roster heading into training camp. Here is a look at one defensive opening in the front seven:

Position battle: Outside linebacker

Current leader: Chris McCain

Competition: Spencer Paysinger, Kelvin Sheppard, Jordan Tripp

Analysis: There are a lot of offseason questions about Miami’s linebackers. This is a group that struggled against the run – Miami was ranked 24th in run defense – and didn’t do a great job of covering tight ends and slot receivers. The Koa Misi experiment at middle linebacker also had mixed results and will remain in Year 2. The Dolphins traded former starting outside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and released veteran Philip Wheeler. However, Miami failed to make a major addition at the position. That opened the door for McCain, a 2014 undrafted rookie, to begin the offseason as a starter. McCain has done a lot to hold his post, showing good athleticism and pass-rush ability. Paysinger, Tripp and Sheppard haven’t shown enough this offseason to overtake McCain. Barring injury or a significant performance in the preseason, I expect McCain to hold his post heading into Week 1 of the regular season.

Prediction: McCain