Cover 3: Fins | Football | Pop Culture

Posted Aug 30, 2017

Dolphins: Which undrafted rookie free agent or first-year player has the best chance of earning a roster spot?

Andy Cohen: This is always tough to project since a lot can change in the final preseason game. But I feel comfortable going with offensive guard Jesse Davis, a first-year player who spent time on the team’s practice squad last season and clearly benefitted from the experience. Davis is challenging for a major role at left guard and, while he is far from a finished product, he has shown the intelligence and skill set necessary to make it in this league.

John Congemi: The Dolphins left guard position has a vacancy with veteran lineman Ted Larsen going down during training camp. First-year player Jesse Davis looks to be the next man up at the position. Davis has shown good strength as a run blocker and has above average movement getting to the second level. He uses his arms and feet well in pass protection and if he continues get the repetitions, could emerge as the player this team has been searching for over the last three seasons.

Alain Poupart: You usually can count on two to four UDFAs making the 53-man roster every year, though it’s usually not easy to figure out which one. That’s certainly the case this year, although among first-year players offensive lineman Jesse Davis appears a strong candidate to earn a roster spot considering he started the first two preseason games and came into the game early in the third. There are a couple of intriguing candidates on defense, but the one player who has kind of stood out to me a little bit is linebacker Chase Allen. He’s a rookie free agent from Southern Illinois and he’s made enough plays to get himself noticed. Allen leads the Dolphins with 20 tackles in the preseason and he also broke up a third-down pass.

NFL: Which has been the most impactful NFL trade that occurred during training camp?

Cohen: No team was busier in training camp than the Buffalo Bills and clearly their most significant move, and potentially the most impactful in the league, was trading wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a sixth-rounder to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-rounder. Three years ago, the Bills gave up a lot to put themselves in position to draft Watkins. Now he has gone after just 37 games.

Congemi: I'm not so sure that it's been impactful, but the Buffalo Bills are dealing players for the future of their franchise. Wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, linebacker Reggie Ragland, defensive back Ronald Darby have been casted aside for future picks that the Bills believe will help stabilize their franchise.

Poupart: The most talented player to change teams via trade during training camp clearly was wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who went from the Buffalo Bills to the L.A. Rams. Watkins has battled injuries since being a fourth overall pick, but he also showed he could be dynamic when healthy. The Dolphins certainly saw first-hand his ability and they didn’t shed any tears when he left the AFC East. Whether Watkins can produce big numbers with a Rams offense that has a bit of a question mark at quarterback is a legitimate question, but there is no doubt he could make a huge difference for Los Angeles.

POP: How many home runs do you think Giancarlo Stanton will finish with?

Cohen: Roger Maris, move over. It’s time to make room for Stanton. At the remarkable pace he is on and with the enormous power he has, I believe Stanton will finish with 62 home runs, one more than Maris. Sure, he could go absolutely wild and hit 65 or 66, but I see teams pitching him much more conservatively down the stretch. I think, though, he’ll gladly take 62.

Congemi: I believe Stanton will finish with 61 home runs, which is a very significant number for round trippers in the MLB. Stanton is on a tear and has put the Marlins in position for a wild card slot, but his production will slow because opposing pitching will throw around him and force others to produce down the stretch.

Poupart: Stanton, quite simply, is having a season for the ages with his second-half home-run surge and he’s a big reason the Marlins have put themselves in playoff contention. With 30-some games left, Stanton easily could reach 60 home runs, though it’s difficult to envision him keeping the pace he’s been on. At some point, you also think that opponents are going to start pitching around him a little more, particularly when the games have playoff implications for both teams. All those factors considered, let’s go with 58 as a final number for Stanton.