Dolphins Mailbag: X Issues, Roster Battles, and More

Answering questions about Xavien Howard, the running back competition, Solomon Kindley's upside
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From Hugo Poteloin (@HugoPoteloin):

Which veteran(s) won't make the 53 by the end of the training camp ? Could we expect a surprise as well?

Hi Hugo, this is always a tricky question because invariably there'll be one move that nobody sees coming. So, absolutely, I would expect a surprise or two, though not sure what that might be (because then it wouldn't be a surprise, right?). Going by the current make-up of the roster, you have to look at wide receiver for high-profile veterans who could be let go. The obvious one seems to be Jakeem Grant because the Dolphins have other options for punt returners with Jaylen Waddle and Jevon Holland.

From Eduardo Mata (@lalomata10):

Who has the advantage to become the four members of the RB committee?

Hey Eduardo, I think Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and rookie Gerrid Doaks are probably locks, and at this point the fourth one figures to be Salvon Ahmed. It's certainly possible the Dolphins could add a veteran at some point, in which case he'd likely be the fourth instead of Ahmed.

From Chris Hyer, Ed.D. (@Chrishyer31):

How has the dual OC’s been working out during minicamp? Does it appear seamless or is there any confusion from players/other coaches?

Hey Chris, understanding that the four-plus practices the media were allowed to watch were mostly walk-throughs, I didn't notice anything at all that would suggest any kind of issues with the dual-OC setup.

From Mark Schoninger (@SchoningerMark):

How much patience will the league and teams have with players who test positive for COVID on and around game day? Do you think we’ll seen postponements, or games with only players who have been vaccinated?

Hey Mark, would imagine the protocols will be the same as last year for non-vaccinated players who test positive for COVID, not sure what's going to happen with vaccinated players who test positive, and absolutely don't see games played with only players who have been vaccinated, though those players will be subject to a lot more frequent tests..

From Richard Rodriguez, Ph.D. (@Richard06467410):

How much will/did Alabama's offensive system influence Miami's offense this year?

Richard, in the sense that the Dolphins absolutely, positively will want to emphasize what Tua does best, yes, there clearly should be Alabama elements in the Dolphins offense. That means, for example, a lot of RPO and quick passes, I would imagine.

From Chris Roney (@ChrisRoney0):

Let's imagine Xavien Howard is traded this summer (hope he isn't). What does the CB depth chart look like with regard to who plays boundary vs nickel, etc.?

Hey Chris, Under that scenario, I think the depth chart as Byron Jones and Noah Igbinoghene as the first-team outside CBs, followed by maybe Nik Needham and possibly Jason McCourty, though I'm thinking he'll be battling for the starting free safety job. The slot position under that scenario would have Justin Coleman on the first team followed by Jamal Perry.

RELATED: BREAKING DOWN THE POSSIBLE HOWARD SCENARIOS

From Josh Leggatt (@Joshmleggatt):

What’s your view on Solomon Kindley? I loved the way he showed in the first half of the season but that foot injury never seemed to go away. You think he will end up a serviceable guard?

Hey Josh, could not agree with you more. I also thought Kindley looked really good last year until the foot injury. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this mailbag installment, I do have concerns about his ability to manage his weight. If he does that, I do see a lot of potential in him.

From John Garcia, Jr. (@JohnGarcia_Jr):

Any chance both P. Williams and R. Foster make the team or is it an either/or scenario?

Hey John, no, it's absolutely not an either/or thing because special teams will play a role in whether Foster makes the roster and Williams doesn't play special teams. Having said that, I think both of them are 50-50 to make the roster, and they clearly are in the mix to be in the WR corps after locks like Jaylen Waddle, Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain I would like to keep Howard but if we trade him do you think we can get two first-round picks for him. Who was the last best CB traded in the NFL and what was his trade value?

Hey Jorge, the last CB traded in the NFL, based on my research, was Desmond King, who went from the Chargers to Tennessee last November for a sixth-round pick (great deal for the Titans, but that's a different story). That doesn't serve as a good gauge for Howard because he's obviously much better than King. For that purpose, Jalen Ramsey is a much better comparison, and Ramsey was traded from Jacksonville to the Rams in 2019 for two first-round picks and a fourth-round choice. But, and sorry about this, the Dolphins aren't getting two first-round picks. Howard will be 28 at the start of the 2021 season, whereas Ramsey was 24 at the time of his trade, but the age difference isn't the factor here. The problem is Howard's knee issues. He's played 16 games only twice in his five NFL seasons (in 2017 and 2020) and has had, by all accounts, three knee operations. That, combined with his contract situation, will keep the Dolphins from being able to get the kind of return the Jaguars got for Ramsey or even what the Dolphins got from Houston for Laremy Tunsil.