Throughout the course of the season we will be taking a look at some of the Dolphins’ most polarizing and up-and-coming players to determine whether or not it would wise to buy or sell their metaphorical stock.
Training camp is usually the time of year where these types of players are the most prevalent. There’s 37 more on the camp roster and media and fans love to hype those who impress in practice.
Below are a few examples through one week of practice and a scrimmage:
Marvin McNutt, wide receiver
McNutt has made plays thus far in practice. There’s no disputing that. And if the Dolphins had to make cuts today, I believe he’d probably be the fourth or fifth receiver to make the team.
But I’m not buying his stock. At least not yet. It just wouldn’t be a wise business decision.
How many receivers have we seen impress at a few practices in recent years but ultimately disappoint during the games when the pressure is at its highest?
Chris Hogan, anyone?
How about Legedu Naanee?
McNutt is off to an impressive start, but he still has much to prove.
Dimitri Patterson, cornerback
Nobody expected Patterson to seriously compete for a roster spot during training camp. His $4.6 million cap hit was said to be too high.
But he’s looked more than qualified to make the team. He’s looked qualified to start.
Truth be told, this isn’t the first time he’s played well. The Browns thought he looked good in 2011. They wouldn’t have signed him to a three-year, $16 million deal the following offseason if they didn’t.
Injuries have slowed him down in the past and were a big reason why the Browns released him in December, but he’s far from incapable when healthy.
I like him as the starter opposite Brent Grimes this season, especially considering rookie corner Jamar Taylor is falling further and further behind.
Julius Pruitt, wide receiver
The Dolphins elected to sign a familiar face in Julius Pruitt on Tuesday, despite working out veterans such as Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie. That’s far from a guarantee that Pruitt will make the team this preseason, though.
In fact, he didn’t even survive the first wave of cuts last August when the Dolphins made him one of their disposals in order to reach the 75-player limit.
A similar fate is more likely for Pruitt than surviving both waves in 2013. At least until he makes some noise in the exhibition games.
Josh Samuda, guard/center
Josh Samuda was one of training camp’s surprise stories in 2012, going from undrafted free agent to member of the 53-man roster.
He’s been perhaps an even bigger surprise a week into camp this season, earning reps with the first team at both guard and center.
I like Samuda. He provides the offensive line with depth and versatility. But I have doubts that he’s ready to be a quality starter.
I wouldn’t necessarily be shocked if he eventually becomes one, but I’m not willing to bet on it this season.
I imagine either Lance Louis or John Jerry will be ready to go at 100 percent by the regular season. I’m guessing one of the two will be in the starting lineup come Week 1.
Olivier Vernon, defensive end
Has Vernon’s strong start to training camp been attributed to his improvement or the poor play of left tackle Jonathan Martin? Answers to such questions usually lie somewhere in between, but we won’t know for sure until we see both players square off against other teams.
Vernon has always had the potential to develop into a high-impact player, though. He was a high-reward pick in the third-round of the 2012 draft.
Vernon is an explosive athlete who spent time rushing the passer and dropping back into coverage as a rookie.
Whether or not he’ll hold off promising first-round pick Dion Jordan is uncertain, but my money is on Vernon having a much larger role and impact in 2013 regardless.
Dion Jordan, defensive end
Jordan missed most of the team’s offseason training program while he finished up classes at Oregon. He was also placed on the non-football injury list on the first day of training camp as he wrapped up the final stages of rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery.
He’s 100 percent now, though. Playing like the first defensive player drafted too.
During Monday night’s scrimmage, Jordan got to the quarterback on two would-be sacks, showcasing phenomenal burst from the same four-point stance All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake uses.
The guy is going to be a force to reckoned with as a pass rusher this season and for years into the foreseeable future.
Can he beat out Olivier Vernon for the first-team right end job? Stay tuned.