Welcome to the first entry in our new blog on our new site. I figure the best way to kick things off is to break down the entire training camp roster, player by player, as we learn a little bit about each of the men competing to be one of the final 53. Some names you’ll know, others you won’t. Some guys will make the team, others will not. We’ll knock out a few names per day, starting with the highest number on the roster (#98, rookie Jared Odrick) and finishing with the lowest (#2, punter Brandon Fields). Without any delay, let’s get to know the Dolphins. Up first, The 90’s:
#98 Jared Odrick: The Fins’ first round choice in this year’s draft, Odrick is a 6’5, 300lb defensive lineman who was a tackle at Penn State but is expected to play end with Miami. Odrick is the first defensive lineman that the Dolphins have drafted in the first round since they took Daryl Gardener n 1996 and was the Big 10 defensive player of the year last season with the Nittany Lions. I would not be surprised to see him earn some real playing time in his first pro season and as you would expect out of a first round pick, #98 is a man to watch during training camp.
#96 Paul Soliai: Soliai started five games at nose tackle for the Fins last season and appeared in 14, as he recorded a career-high 25 tackles and also forced a fumble. Drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins in 2007, Soliai will be under the microscope during training camp, as Jason Ferguson’s retirement has opened up competition and opportunity at the nose. Meanwhile, if you ever see a large group of people wearing Soliai jerseys, it could very well be his family–Paul is one of eight children in his family.
#94 Randy Starks: Speaking of competition at nose tackle, General Manager Jeff Ireland announced after April’s draft that Starks would be moving from defensive end to tackle to replace Jason Ferguson. Listed at 6’3 and 305lbs., Starks will be on the small side when it comes to 3-4 tackles, but had a Pro Bowl caliber season last year at defensive end, starting all 16 games, while recording 56 tackles and seven sacks. He is the definite favorite to win the starting spot, and does have experience playing on the interior of the defensive line, having done so earlier in his career with the Titans. Starks spent much of the first five years of his life living in Germany, where his father, an Army veteran of 20+ years was stationed.
#93 Quentin Moses: Time to move back a couple of yards from the defensive line, as we meet our first linebacker, Quentin Moses. Originally drafted in the third round by the Raiders in 2007, Moses made his way to Miami later that season, after being waived by both Oakland and the Cardinals. Fans from the SEC certainly remember Moses in college, as he was first-team all conference his senior year at Georgia. A native of Athens, there wasn’t much drama in the recruitment process as he decided to play for his hometown Bulldogs. During his three years in Miami, Moses has registered a pair of starts: one in 2007, the other in 2008. Last year he played in 11 games and registered a sack against the Texans. This season, he tries to crack the starting lineup in the heated competition at outside linebacker.
#92 John Denney: Easily one of the players most overlooked by the fans on any team, the long-snapper is one of the most critical pieces in the special teams puzzle. John Denney is your long-snapper. And John Denney is really good. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005, Denney was the only undrafted rookie to be on the team’s active roster for all 16 games that season. A defensive end and long-snapper during his college years at BYU, you may know his brother Ryan, as well, who once sacked Dolphins’ quarterback Daunte Culpepper three times in the first half while playing for the Bills in 2006.
#91 Cameron Wake: One of the guys to keep a very keen eye on during the pre-season, Wake, is part of a four-man scramble for the two starting spots at outside linebacker. In an ideal world, he becomes the sack machine that he was in the CFL (lead the league in sacks in both 2007 and 2008), which would add an entirely new level of danger to the Dolphins defense. Last year, he played in 14 games, made one start, and recorded 5.5 sacks. One of the most unusual stories in all of Pro Football, Wake spent 2006 as a mortgage broker after being waived by the Giants in the summer of ’05. He then went to Canada, where he starred for the BC Lions, before the Fins signed him as a free agent in January of last year.
#90 Ryan Baker: A second year defensive end out of Purdue, Baker worked his way up from the practice squad last season and made his NFL debut in late November at Buffalo. Growing up in Indiana, Baker was a big basketball guy and had several scholarship offers to play hoops at the college level, before deciding to focus on football. I think it’s fair to call Baker a smart dude, he was Academic All-Big 10 all four years at Purdue.
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we get to know some offensive players. We’ll start with #89 Taurus Johnson and work our way down to #80 Anthony Fasano.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.