Rookie defensive backs Torry McTyer and Maurice Smith joined the Miami Dolphins this spring with few expectations. Neither player was drafted and joined a Miami secondary with plenty of veteran experience.
But injuries, one long suspension and overall inconsistency with pass defense have opened the door for McTyer and Smith to make a solid case for Miami’s final 53-man roster. The two also did their part on the field with solid play on defense and special teams during training camp and the preseason.
McTyer and Smith made their final push for the 53-man roster Thursday night during the Dolphins’ 30-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason finale. McTyer made several good plays at cornerback and finished with three tackles and two passes defended, while Smith, a safety, continued his strong play on special teams and had three tackles.
Both players did their part but nothing is guaranteed. Miami has to make roster cuts from 90 to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
There weren’t many open spots in the secondary to begin with. The Dolphins added depth the secondary this offseason by drafting Cordrea Tankersley in the third round and signing safeties Nate Allen and T.J. McDonald in free agency. However, a season-ended Achilles injury to 2016 interception leader Tony Lippett unexpectedly opened a spot at cornerback, and McDonald’s upcoming eight-game suspension keeps a spot open at safety.
A case also can be made that McTyer, from UNLV, has outperformed Tankersley in training camp and the preseason, which likely had to happen for McTyer to have a chance at the final roster. Tankersley will make it regardless due to his draft status.
McTyer and Smith -- a Georgia product -- also are eligible for the practice squad. However, Miami would risk losing one or both players whom the team developed in their program over the past few months.