Sleep for those on the Dolphins’ roster bubble will be hard to come by tonight, as they anxiously await their fate. 22 current members of the 75-man roster will be let go before Saturday’s 6 pm deadline.
We’ve already discussed those who sit directly on the roster’s fringe, but here are five names who could surprisingly avoid cuts. All are long shots and I don’t have any on my 53-man roster prediction, but it wouldn’t be the first time a player or players came from seemingly nowhere and snagged a roster spot.
1. Tristan Okpalaugo, DE: 3.0 sacks and a fumble recovery. Those are four impact plays from the undrafted rookie out of Fresno State this preseason that cannot be overlooked. A defense can never have enough pass rushers, but the Dolphins are already stacked on the defensive line.
2. Antwan Applewhite, DE: As another defensive end who has an outside shot, Antwan Applewhite started Thursday night’s game opposite Derrick Shelby. Unlike most of his competition for a roster spot, Applewhite is an experienced veteran with 17 starts and 6.5 sacks already under his belt. But the Dolphins would likely have to keep five defensive ends, as Derrick Shelby appears to be a shoo-in as their fourth option.
3. Jeff Adams, OT/OG: The Columbia product spent a large portion of training camp backing up Jonathan Martin at left tackle. He’s been replaced by Will Yeatman and Nate Garner at the second-team left tackle spot since, but both struggled attempting to lock up that role. Adams, meanwhile, relieved starting right guard John Jerry in the second quarter of the preseason finale.
4. Sam Brenner, OG/C: Got the start last night at left guard, and has also spent time at center during the preseason. If the Dolphins surprisingly decide to part ways with Josh Samuda, who is also a guard/center hybrid, Brenner could potentially survive cuts. Samuda did struggle mightily in exhibition action, but got some valuable work with the starting offense.
5. De’Andre Presley, CB: Gave up some big plays in coverage vs. the Saints, but sealed the win for the Dolphins with a beautiful diving interception. One pick certainly doesn’t warrant a roster spot, but Will Davis (ankle) and Nolan Carroll (back) missed practice time this week and last night’s game, so the Dolphins could decide to keep an extra corner. Presley also has experience as a punt returner.