The Miami Dolphins have been building up their roster throughout the offseason, most recently with the 2021 NFL draft.
But four months before the start of the regular season, what does the starting lineup figure to look like and the same goes for the key backup spots.
Understanding that a lot still can happen between now and September, including the possibility of moves involving veterans, either coming or going, here's our projected depth chart after the first draft along with the backups listed in order of likely contributions and roster security.
Projected starter: Tua Tagovailoa
Remaining depth chart: Jacoby Brissett, Reid Sinnett
Outlook: Not much to discuss here. Tagovailoa will head into the season as the unquestioned starter, and the only question is whether Brian Flores will make the move to Brissett in games where Tua struggles the way Flores did last year with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Projected starter: Myles Gaskin
Remaining depth chart: Malcolm Brown, Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird, Malcolm Perry, Gerrid Doaks, Jordan Scarlett
Outlook: There was some thought that the Dolphins would use the draft to find a new starter — say, perhaps Javonte Williams — but not taking a running back before Round 7 pretty much means that Gaskin will be the starter, though it's fair to expect Brown to get his share of carries, particularly in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Projected starters: DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V, Jaylen Waddle,
Remaining depth Chart: Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr., Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, Mack Hollins, Robert Foster, Kirk Merritt, Kai Locksley
Outlook: This looks pretty clear cut when it comes to the starters, with Parker and Fuller outside and Waddle in the slot in a Tyreek Hill type of a role. But the Dolphins are going to have some tough decisions to make at this position because there are clearly more NFL-caliber wide receivers than roster spots. When looking at the depth chart here, keep in mind that Hollins and Foster both bring special teams value as gunners.
Projected starter: Durham Smythe
Remaining depth chart: Mike Gesicki, Hunter Long, Adam Shaheen, Chris Myarick, Jibri Blount
Outlook: For those immediately recoiling at seeing Smythe listed as the starter, just realize that Smythe has started more games than Gesicki each of the past two seasons even though Gesicki has played more offensive snaps. Expect a similar scenario this year when the biggest mystery at this point is how much playing time Long will get as a rookie.
Projected starters: LT Austin Jackson, LG Solomon Kindley, C Matt Skura, RG Robert Hunt, RT D.J. Fluker
Remaining depth chart: G/T Liam Eichenberg, G/T Jesse Davis, C/G Michael Deiter, C Cameron Tom, T Adam Pankey, T Larnel Coleman, T Jonathan Hubbard, G Durval Queiroz Neto, C Tyler Gauthier
Outlook: This is a really tough one to project because there's just so much versatility on this unit. For example, Kindley could play on either side, Hunt could remain at right tackle or slid inside to guard, Fluker could start at right tackle or guard or back up at either spot, Davis can start anywhere on the line but center, and the same might apply to Eichenberg. We're projecting Fluker over Eichenberg as the starting right tackle with the idea of having some kind of experience on the starting offensive line to go along with the three 2020 draft picks and Skura.
Projected starters: Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Emmanuel Ogbah
Remaining Depth Chart: Zach Sieler, Adam Butler, John Jenkins, Jason Strowbridge, Benito Jones, Tyshun Render, Nick Coe, Jonathan Ledbetter
Outlook: The Dolphins use three- and four-man fronts on defense, but we'll go with a 3-4 for our depth chart. Don't be shocked to see Jenkins end up in the starting lineup because he's the best (maybe the only?) pure nose tackle on the roster. Strowbridge was a fifth-round pick just a year ago, but he had a very quiet rookie season and probably isn't even guaranteed of a roster spot at this point.
Projected starters: Andrew Van Ginkel, Benardrick McKinney, Jerome Baker, Jaelan Phillips
Remaining depth chart: Elandon Roberts, Vince Biegel, Brennan Scarlett, Duke Riley, Sam Eguavoen, Calvin Munson, Kylan Johnson
Outlook: Going back to the official roster listings, it's here we point out the Dolphins have listed Phillips as a linebacker and not a defensive end. Regardless, it's difficult to envision him not being in the starting lineup. Van Ginkel has earned the right to start after the season he had last year. The question mark here is whether Roberts will be ready to contribute at the outset after sustaining a knee injury in Week 16 last year. He certainly appears to be a candidate to start training camp on PUP.
Projected starters: CB Xavien Howard, CB Byron Jones, S Eric Rowe, S Jevon Holland
Remaining depth chart: S Brandon Jones, CB Jason McCourty, CB Noah Igbinoghene, CB Nik Needham, CB Justin Coleman, CB Jamal Perry, S Clayton Fejedelem, S Nate Holley, CB Terrell Bonds, CB Tino Ellis, S Brian Cole, CB Javaris Davis
Outlook: As we outlined Wednesday, this was a position where a move involving a high-profile player was almost to be expected, and it came with the decision to release starting safety Bobby McCain. The move was made in large part because the Dolphins will save about $12.3 million of cap space over the next two seasons. Then came another high-profile move, that one the addition of longtime NFL cornerback Jason McCourty, Along with providing vast experience, McCourty also has the flexibility to line up at safety if that's a direction the Dolphins decide to choose, though we'd expect the two recent draft picks — Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland — to get first shot at the job. The biggest key in the secondary, though, might still be what kind of jump Igbinoghene can make in his second season.