By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on June 19, 2014
The Miami Dolphins have numerous key positional battles to track heading into the preseason, but who exactly could come out on top in those battles? Perhaps the underdog? Here are 5 surprise starters I am projecting for the Dolphins during the 2014 NFL season.
Wilson has been Miami's go-to-guy as the team's top nickel corner option in recent seasons, but with young corners Jamar Taylor and Will Davis competing with Cortland Finnegan for two positions, that spot should take care of itself leaving Wilson to battle with offseason pickup Louis Delmas for the FS spot opposite SS Reshad Jones. Delmas' injury history suggests he may not be able to play all 16 games, giving Wilson the upper hand.
I know, I know, "Lamar Miller is supposed to start this season anyways", but with the team bringing in competition for the former Miami Hurricane, Miller's job was thought to be in jeopardy. Fortunately for Miller, that has not been the case thus far this offseason as he has looked incredible during OTAs and two days of minicamp with the team. Miller may have a new life in OC Bill Lazor's offense. He has the speed to kill in the spread.
I am a huge fan of second-year CB Jamar Taylor, and I believe he can be the perfect complement to CB Brent Grimes for the Miami Dolphins. Taylor is locked into a battle with veteran Cortland Finnegan for that starting spot opposite Grimes, but I have a feeling Taylor's youth and fresh legs will earn him the job over Finnegan.
Let me state this now: Jelani Jenkins will be the starting Will linebacker for the Miami Dolphins when the team opens up the season against the New England Patriots. Jenkins is in a battle with last year's offseason disappointment Philip Wheeler, who really has struggled ever since a great game against the Indianapolis Colts. That was Week 2 of the 2013 season, and Wheeler will be pushed to the brink of extinction this season by Jenkins.
Surprise! While I am a huge Brandon Gibson fan, Matthews was able to fill in quite well last season once Gibson went down with a knee injury and was lost for the season. Gibson will be attempting to return, but he may be slowed a bit if the knee bothers him. Second-round pick Jarvis Landry also deserves consideration here, but Matthews' experience gives him the nod over the youngster. Expect a rotation of the three this season, however.
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