Miami Dolphins 2021 starting line-up projection ahead of training camp

Miami Dolphins Mandatory Minicamp
Miami Dolphins Mandatory Minicamp

With NFL training camps starting next week, the Miami Dolphins have started finalizing their starting line-up for the next season.

Rosters will be trimmed with players shuffled around the depth chart as Week 1 approaches. The Miami Dolphins have a few positions to finalize during preseason position battles, including linebacker, nickel cornerback and right tackle.

Ahead of their training camp, here are the projections for the Dolphins' starting lineup for 2021.

2021 Miami Dolphins starting line-up

Quarterback - Tua Tagovailoa

As a rookie, Tua Tagovailoa had a 6-3 record, 64 completion percentage, 1,814 passing yards, 11 TDs and five INTs.

The Miami Dolphins are placing the entire success of their rebuild on him. 2021 is crucial for the player, as the team reportedly has concerns about his future with the team. The Dolphins could be in pursuit of Deshaun Watson too.

Tagovailoa was a rookie with no preseason experience and had to battle veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. He could have a good Year 2 with the Miami Dolphins after a full training camp.

Runningback - Myles Gaskin

Philadelphia Eagles vs Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles vs Miami Dolphins

In his second year with the Miami Dolphins, Myles Gaskin had 584 rushing yards (4.1 yards per carry) and three TDs with 41 catches for 388 receiving yards and two TDs through ten games.

A sprained MCL derailed his breakout season, but he won't have much competition for carries. He's the most efficient RB on the roster and will be leaned on with Tua Tagovailoa developing.

Wide receiver - DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Jaylen Waddle

DeVante Parker had his best season in 2019 with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine TDs. It was also his first time playing a full-16 game season.

In 2020, he had 63 catches for 793 yards and four RDs with a combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa. He could be an elite WR against press coverage and is Tagovailoa's best target on the field.

Will Fuller will miss the first game finishing out his suspension from last year, allowing Preston Williams to have at least one start in 2021. Jaylen Waddle will play the slot after having 1,999 receiving yards through three years in Alabama. He possesses great speed to pair with Parker and Fuller, giving the Miami Dolphins plenty of speed at the position.

Tight end - Mike Gesicki

Mike Gesicki is PFF's eighth-best TE entering 2021, coming off a career year: 53 catches, 703 yards and six TDs. He can play the slot position with success as well, but will play more at the traditional TE spot for the Miami Dolphins, with Waddle taking over. Gesicki will see plenty of targets as a safety net for Tagovailoa.

Offensive line - LT Austin Jackson, LG Liam Eichenberg, C Matt Skura, RG Solomon KIndley, RT Robert Hunt

Miami Dolphins Training Camp
Miami Dolphins Training Camp

Austin Jackson was the 18th overall pick in 2020 and showed flashes as a rookie. He should command the LT position with ease, thanks to his athleticism, and keep his balance against some of the best edge-rushers.

Liam Eichenberg last allowed a sack in his freshman year in college at Notre Dame and that was 33 games ago, making him an elite pass protector for the Miami Dolphons.

Matt Skura was praised by the Baltimore Ravens coaches for his communication skills and direction on the OL. He has allowed five sacks over four seasons and is quite disciplined with just 11 penalties.

Solomon Kindley was drafted in the fourth round in 2020 by the Miami Dolphins and started as a rookie until injuries put him on the shelf. He can play both guard positions and is a strong competitor on the field.

DJ Fluker was signed during free agency but is versatile and will be used at several positions. Robert Hunt should be the consistent starter as PFF's sixth-best run-blocking tackle. He is the Miami Dolphins' best run-blocker and an efficient pass blocker.

Defensive ends - Christian Wilkins, Emmanuel Ogbah

Kansas City Chiefs vs Miami Dolphins
Kansas City Chiefs vs Miami Dolphins

Christian Wilkins had two sacks and 56 tackles in 2019 as a rookie but just 1.5 sacks and 47 tackles last year. He's been one of the best defensive linemen from his draft class and has the sixth-best run stop win rate, according to ESPN.

Emmanuel Ogbah had a career year in 2020, with nine sacks, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and five passes defended as an edge-rusher and interior lineman. Ogbah brings a combination of power and agility to the Miami Dolphins' DL.

Defensive tackle - Raekwon Davis

NFL Combine - Day 5
NFL Combine - Day 5

Raekwon Davis played in 16 games and has 12 starts as a rookie, totaling 40 tackles throughout the season. He can command double teams and was successful in manning his gap. The tape tells a better story than the stats do for Davis.

Linebacker - Andrew Van Ginkel, Jaelan Phillips, Jerome Baker, Benardrick McKinney

Andrew Van Ginkel had a good sophomore year after being injured as a rookie: 5.5 sacks, 48 tackles and ten QB hits. He can play as a pass-rusher, fall into coverage, and shred through blockers against the run.

Jaelan Phillips was the 18th overall selection in the 2021 draft after leading a top-rated Miami Hurricanes defense. Emmanuel Ogbah will play less OLB with Phillips starting. He had 45 tackles and eight sacks in his final year with the Hurricanes.

Jerome Baker has two INTs, 11.5 sacks (seven in 2020), 317 tackles and 14 tackles for loss through three years with the Miami Dolphins. He signed a three-year deal worth $39 million, putting him as a starter at ILB going forward.

Benardrick McKinney was acquired when the Miami Dolphins traded Shaq Lawson to the Houston Texans. The former Pro Bowler has faltered since 2018, and the team relies on him still being a threat at MLB.

Cornerback - Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Justin Coleman

It is still up in the air on what happened with Xavien Howard, but Noah Igbinoghene should take over if he's traded since he's developing well. Howard had ten INTs and 20 passes defended, and the Miami Dolphins benefit greatly in keeping him around.

Byron Jones signed a five-year, $82 million contract (highest-paid CB) but had just two INTs and 14 passes defended while battling injuries and inconsistency. Jones can still be a shut-down defender but needs to play up to the money the Miami Dolphins threw at him.

Justin Coleman starts as the nickel cornerback and as an upgrade to the position although he played just five games in 2020 due to a hamstring injury.

Safety - Eric Rowe, Jevon Holland

Philadelphia Eagles vs Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles vs Miami Dolphins

Eric Rowe is in his second year with the Miami Dolphins and has two INTs, 11 passes defended and 91 tackles in that span. He excels in covering vertical threat TEs.

Jevon Holland was a second-round pick this year and is a physical safety and great against the run. He just needs to fix his hip movement in man coverage.

Special teams - P Michael Palardy, K Jason Sanders

Miami Dolphins vs Arizona Cardinals
Miami Dolphins vs Arizona Cardinals

Michael Palardy had a career-high 75 punts for 3,452 yard, and an average of 49 yards per punt in 2019. He missed 2020 with a torn ACL.

Jason Sanders enters his third year with the Miami Dolphins and had his best season in 2020: 36/39 FGs (92.3%), 36/36 XPs and 8/9 FGs 50 yards or more. He has missed only two XPs in his three seasons.

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Edited by Bhargav
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