What The First Depth Chart Tells Us

The Fins released their first depth chart of the season yesterday. If you haven't seen it yet CLICK HERE. There are some interesting things (aside from the QB's) that really jump off the page so lets look at them.
Clyde Gates

Ireland's Third Round Failure- As we sit today it seems like the 2010 and 2011 Dolphins draft picks in Round 3 will not be making this roster. Jon Jerry is running 3rd string at guard and Clyde Gates, who has been hurt, is a long-shot to make this roster with the log-jam at WR. While the Jerry news is not surprising at all because he is fat, lazy, and has never shown much promise since entering the league, Clyde Gates being off Miami's roster just one year into his NFL career is a tough pill to swallow. Gates has legit 4.3 speed and as we all know that is something that can't be taught. When he was drafted the comparisons to Steelers WR Mike Wallace were often thrown his way and while he was considered a project nobody thought he would be gone in just one year. And that seems like a reality now for Gates. Ochocinco, Hartline, Bess, Naanee are locks to make this team. Meaning you have at most 1, possibly 2 open spots at WR. Pruitt is a special teams beast on coverage units which gives him a big edge. So, Gates first has to hope Philbin/Sherman carry six WR's then he has to beat out Marlon Moore, Roberto Wallace, and Jeff Fuller. And oh yeah, if one of the other 31 teams cut a quality WR or if Miami trades someone (ie Matt Moore) for a WR then Gates can kiss all hope of making this team good-bye! When you draft a guy in Round 3 you hope he lasts more than a year or two and you hope they can become contributors if not starters. Ireland has failed miserably in Round 3 the past couple years.
Marcus Thigpen

The OTHER CFL Guy Has a Shot to Make the Team-All offseason we heard about the great Jerome Messham and how he is this CFL superstar. I warned everyone and tempered expectations and warned you all that he was a training camp body. And being listed as the 3rd string fullback proved me right. When a guy signs at the league minimum and gets NO signing bonus and no other team was looking at him...well lets just say the signs were there. With that said the "other" CFL player Miami signed, Marcus Thigpen, has a shot to stick. He is listed as the Fins starting Kick Returner and back-up Punt Returner and is listed as 5th on the depth chart at running back. Now being 5th on the depth chart at RB isn't anything to write home about, but if he is returning kicks with Lamar Miller it will be force Miami to cut Slaton (as you realistically will only carry 4 RB's) and keep Thigpen. And if Clyde Gates isn't going to make this team, then they will need to keep a kick returner to go alongside Miller. So, Thigpen has a shot!

Out with the Old Marshall in with the New Marshall-Richard Marshall is making a name for himself in Miami but I don't see his "training camp battle" with Vontae Davis as huge news. This is the NFL in the year 2012 and you have 3 CB's on the field at almost all times. It's a pass-happy league! Teams throw it and throw it and only run it when they must. For most teams the "BIG NICKEL" is the base defense they play even if it isn't what is announced as their "starting defense.". Who is listed on a piece of paper as a starter "technically" isn't important as all 3 of them will be on the field a lot.

So, as we enter into preseason game number one the most interesting position battle seem to be at wide receiver (no shocker there.)  The person who is key to watch and his play effects the most people; Steve Slaton. If Slaton plays well he might force the Fins to keep him which would mean Thigpen is cut. Meaning Clyde Gates has a chance to stick (as Miami would need a kick returner to go alone with Lamar Miller). If Slaton doesn't show much in the preseason games, then Thigpen is a lock to make this team and it pushes Clyde Gates out the door letting Miami keep a more polished WR.