2018 Miami Dolphins starters, 53-man roster, schedule prediction

The Miami Dolphins roster heading into the 2018 season (starters in bold):

QUARTERBACK (4) Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, David Fales, Luke Falk

A healthy Ryan Tannehill first and foremost makes this unit an upgrade over what they had to start the 2017 season. Tannehill should make this offense better. Keeping both Osweiler, Fales and Falk for now, is a little puzzling given that there are bigger needs on the roster and none inspires much confidence. Adam Gase values quarterback development, but the Dolphins are hoping they don't have to play any of their backup QBs.

RUNNING BACK (4): Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore, Kalen Ballage, Senorise Perry

This is one of the Dolphins' deepest position groups. Drake and Gore, in that order, should carry the load. Ballage flashes his long-term potential in the fourth preseason game. Perry is one of the team's best special teams players.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant, Tanner McEvoy

There is no true No. 1 receiver in this group, but the Dolphins have plenty of quality depth from players who can make an impact on the outside and in the slot. There will be a committee approach to replace Jarvis Landry’s catches, and that could be a good thing for this offense.

TIGHT END (4): Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, MarQueis Gray, A.J. Derby

Gesicki will play a huge role as a receiving tight end this season, and his fellow rookie, Smythe, could make an impact as a blocking tight end too. The Dolphins protected themselves here by keeping the veteran versions of each rookie in Derby and Gray.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Laremy Tunsil, Ja'Wuan James, Josh Sitton, Jesse Davis, Daniel Kilgore, Ted Larsen, Zach Sterup, Travis Swanson, Sam Young

The Dolphins feel confident that this unit will be better than the offensive line they fielded in 2017, particularly the left side. Miami likes Larsen as the swing guard. Swanson, the new signing, is the backup center. Sterup beat out Eric Smith for a spot.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch, Charles Harris, William Hayes, Jordan Phillips, Akeem Spence, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor

Edge is the Dolphins deepest position and their top-five (Wake, Quinn, Hayes, Branch, Harris) were set since the start of camp. There are more questions at defensive tackle, but they still had to cut rosterable players like Cameron Malveaux and Kendall Langford.

LINEBACKER (5): Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillan, Jerome Baker, Chase Allen, Stephone Anthony

This is one of the Dolphins’ two weakest positions, along with cornerback, in terms of depth and experience. McMillan and Baker are essentially both rookies as starters. Both will have flashes and growing pains. Allen is a decent backup, but they could use an upgrade from Anthony. This unit is an injury away from trouble so they could add one or two more guys to this room.

CORNERBACK (5): Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, Cordrea Tankersley, Torry McTyer, Cornell Armstrong

Howard, McCain and McTyer are the only true cornerbacks who the Dolphins can trust to play significant minutes in Week 1. Fitzpatrick, their uber impressive rookie hybrid DB, will end up playing a bunch of slot cornerback. Tankersley is worth his roster spot, but he struggled a lot this summer. Armstrong didn’t flash much this summer, but the Dolphins clearly like his potential. They could add at least one more to this group, and it could cost Armstrong his spot.

SAFETY (5): Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Walt Aikens

Jones, McDonald and Fitzpatrick make a strong safety trio even though the latter will spend plenty of time at slot cornerback. Aikens is primarily a special-teams player, so they are a little light on overall depth here..

SPECIAL TEAMS (3): Jason Sanders, Matt Haack, John Denney

Sanders fought off admirable competition from Greg Joseph to win the starting kicker job. This will be the Dolphins third opening-day kicker in as many years. It will be intriguing to see if any veteran names like Dan Bailey tempt the Dolphins. Denney will be the Dolphins’ long-snapper for the 14th consecutive season. Grant will be the returner.