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The Defensive Side Of The Miami Dolphins 53 Man Roster

What does the final 53-Man roster for the Miami Dolphins look like on the defensive side of the ball after all of the cuts?

We examined the offensive side of the ball, which should tremendously improve after last year’s showing. Will the defense remain the strong presence they were the second half of the season, or take a step back? Take a look at the defensive players who earned a spot on the Miami Dolphins initial 53-man roster, and there’s a lot of familiar faces.

Miami Dolphins Defense On The 53-Man Roster

Defensive Line

Christian Wilkins -LDE1- Christian Wilkins showed us last year that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL and was no doubt making the roster after that strong showing. He posted an 83.3 PFF grade versus the run in 2021.

Zach Sieler -LDE2- Sieler is another Miami Dolphin fan favorite. He has an 84.9 PFF run grade himself which was third in the entire NFL behind only Aaron Donald and Cameron Hayward. That’s pretty good company to be in. This preseason alone we saw Sieler manhandle offensive line and even put a quick swim move on a defender for a sack.

Raekwon Davis -NT1- Raekwon Davis struggled to stay healthy last year after a strong showing in his rookie campaign in 2020. The Dolphins are hoping he can stay healthy this year and become the force he showed he could be when playing for Nick Saban at the University of Alabama.

John Jenkins -NT2- John Jenkins is another player who had a strong showing in the preseason and can bring a veteran presence to a young Dolphins locker room. Jenkins has moved around the NFL. In fact, this is his second stint with the Dolphins. He at least provides depth should Davis miss time again this season.

Emmanuel Ogbah -RDE1- A big priority this offseason for the Dolphins front office was resigning Emmanuel Ogbah, and Dolphin fans rejoiced once the deal was done. Ogbah has been a fierce presence on the edge and has given quarterbacks fits whether it’s by getting a sack, or swatting the ball down at the line of scrimmage. He’s an elite part of a defense that should be elite all around this season.

Linebackers

Melvin Ingram -WLB1- He played six games in Pittsburgh before being traded to Kansas City. It’s been four years since Ingram has put up pro bowl caliber numbers, but if he can harness even just a sliver of what he once was, he will only improve on an already fierce pass rush.

Andrew Van Ginkel -WLB2- Van Ginkel is another Dolphin developed player who has shown improvement each year since entering the league. He seems to always find the holes to blitz the quarterback and he rips right through running backs turned blockers. He’ll still get plenty of snaps as the aging Ingram will need a breather more often.

Elandon Roberts -LILB1- Roberts had a good preseason and appears to be better at getting into pass coverage. He was a solid run stopper last year but struggled covering running backs because he lacked speed. He looked healthier and quicker in his limited preseason action which is promising as he enters into his sixth year.

Sam Eguavoen -LILB2- The preseason animal once again displayed exactly why the Dolphins kept him on the roster. He didn’t have four sacks in one game like he did last preseason, but he had a strong sack against the eagles and always seemed to be around the ball. Look for him to get more playing time this year if Roberts deals with injuries again.

Jerome Baker -RILB1- Baker didn’t have quite the season in 2021 that he had in 2020 but he’s still the best linebacker on the roster. He does a good job against the run but really excels in middle of the field pass coverage.

Duke Riley -RILB2- Another big special teams guy that is worth keeping is Duke Riley who, had a very good preseason at linebacker. Baker only played a few series, so we saw a lot of Duke Riley and I liked what I saw. He has the speed that it takes to play coverage on running backs and tight ends and has a knack being around the ball.

Jaelan Phillips -SLB1- I’ll try to be objective but I’m a huge Jaelan Phillips believer and think he has what it takes to be a top three defender at his position. I’m glad to see him at the top of the depth chart and think we’ll see him out on the field a lot more this season.

Trey Flowers -SLB2- Trey Flowers is another player that’s on the back half of their career but if he still has a little gas in the tank and can stay healthy, he has no problem getting to the quarterback.

Cornerbacks

Xavien Howard -LCB1- The number 56 on the NFL’s top 100 needs no introduction. The best man to man corner in the NFL will feast week one and hopefully gets another pick six on Mac Jones.

Keion Crossen -LCB2- Crossen had a decent preseason and should be a serviceable slot corner. It’s not a secret the Dolphins need help at cornerback, but I think Crossen has proved himself enough to keep his spot.

Kader Kohou -LCB3- Kohou probably doesn’t make the roster if Trill Williams doesn’t go down in the preseason. It’s harsh, but him and another soon to be mentioned are fortunate Mackensie Alexander and Trill can’t go.

Byron Jones -RCB1- Jones being out for the first four games of the season due to being placed on the IR earlier this week, it has everyone saying the Miami Dolphins will get a free agent or someone a team just cut to come in to help the secondary. Week five, our secondary takes a huge step if he’s ready for action.

Nik Needham -RCB2- It was terrifying to see Needham go down in preseason, but Coach Mike McDaniel said he should be ready to go by week one. Needham has made a name for himself in the Dolphins secondary, but mostly at slot corner with Jones and Howard on the outside. It’ll be a big ask to have him on the outside the first four weeks, but I believe he can handle it.

Noah Igbinoghene -RCB3- Igbinoghene probably would have been cut if we didn’t have injuries all over the secondary. He had a terrible preseason outing and hasn’t developed to anything resembling a first-round talent.

Safeties

Brandon Jones -SS1- Jones played decent last year and could take the next step this year and form one of the best safety duos in the league. He can deliver hard hits, but his pass coverage will need to be better this year to make up for our rotation at corners early in the year.

Eric Rowe -SS2- Eric Rowe has played well for the Dolphins since coming to the team in 2019. He’s a better coverage safety than run stopper but we will need that this year so no complaints from me.

Clayton Fejedelem -SS3- Always surprised to see he doesn’t get cut but he is a special teams contributor and you never let the good ones go. I wouldn’t expect to see him in many defensive sets, unless we’re returning a punt.

Jevon Holland -FS1- The Snowman has been the talk of the town all of training camp. After have an incredible rookie season, it’s being said whenever the ball is in the air, Jevon Holland isn’t far away. Whether he’s dealing out a big hit or high pointing the football, he’s a special player and will have a huge season.

Elijah Campbell -FS2- Didn’t have a preseason to write home about but hopefully playing behind Jevon Holland he can get the game to slow down for him and be a solid backup.

Special Teams

Jason Sanders -K1- Minus missing the game winning field goal versus the Raiders, Sanders looked to be back to his 2020 self. Hopefully that carries over into the regular season.

Thomas Morstead -P/H– Morstead will definitely be better than Michael Palardy in the punting game, but his value as an experienced place holder should not be overlooked.

Blake Ferguson -LS– I have to give some love to the long snapper. They make a difficult task look simple and get paid NFL money to do it.

As it stand right now, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill will be the primary punt returners with Jevon Holland listed as number three.

Raheem Mostert, Jaylen Waddle, and Chase Edmunds will be doing the kick return duties to start the season.

Outlook for 2022 season

The Miami Dolphins will take a step forward this year if the secondary can hold up long enough for our star-studded defensive line to get to the quarterback. Our front seven should be able to stuff the run and once the secondary is healthy, a top ten defense is an easy call.

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