Which veterans benefit most from Miami Dolphins draft decisions?

Dolphins coach Adam Gase has some faith in David Fales. (AP)

Almost no player has a safe spot on the Miami Dolphins roster, or any NFL roster, really.

Younger players who fail to live up to expectations can easily be cut. Veterans who’ve been productive but are scheduled to make too much can be cut.

If Ndamukong Suh and Mike Pouncey can be cut — well, that should send a message to the Dolphins preparing for organized team activities.

But every player also somewhat secretly monitors the NFL Draft, wondering if their team will select a player who will suddenly be favored to push them off the roster. Teams keep in mind who may be pushed off the roster when drafting, or not drafting, at a specific position.

Miami spent high draft choices on: S, TE and LB.

Miami spent lower-round draft choices on: TE, RB, CB, LB and K.

The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick puts the role of starting safety T.J. McDonald into immediate question. Will Miami often use three safeties? Will Miami at times utilize McDonald as a hybrid linebacker?

The addition of two tight ends, pass-catching Mike Gesicki and strong-blocking Durham Smith, put MarQuies Gray, Gavin Escobar and Thomas Duarte in position to battle for a potential roster spot.

And the addition of athletic, coverage linebacker Jerome Baker leads to questions about how defensive coordinator Matt Burke will line up Baker and Kiko Alonso, assuming Raekwon McMillan is the full-time starting middle linebacker.

But Miami also did not draft a quarterback, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, guard, center or wide receiver.

This is potentially beneficial to a handful of current Dolphins, notably:

  1. David Fales, QB, 27 years old, 3rd year —  Coach Adam Gase likes Fales, who played well in the season finale against Buffalo. “Letting him move on was not going to be an option for us,” Gase said at the end of March. Fales played well in the preseason last year and while he doesn’t have the ideal experience for a backup and doesn’t have a powerful arm, Gase likes his composure.
  2. Brock Osweiler, QB, 27 years old, 6th year — Nobody is disputing the Osweiler has been lousy the last two seasons in Houston and Denver (20 touchdowns, 21 interceptions). The Dolphins took a flier on the idea that reuniting with Adam Gase (they worked together in Denver) will help Osweiler re-establish his confidence and mechanics. If not? It will cost them almost nothing.
  3. Eric Smith, OT, 22 years old, 2nd year — The Dolphins could have found some value with a mid-round selection on an offensive tackle, but passed. Mostly it’s because Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James (a free agent after this season) should be above-average starters. Sam Young is a very solid swing tackle and Jesse Davis can play there in a pinch. But don’t forget Smith, a promising, athletic, undrafted free agent last season. “We’re excited about him,” executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum said of Smith on Saturday.
  4. Isaac Asiata, OG, 25 years old, 2nd year — Asiata must show quickly in training camp that he’s much improved from last season, deemed almost immediately by coaches as a redshirt season. He must move his feet faster and make faster decisions. But at least he won’t be competing with a draft choice. “We’ll see,” Gase said of Asiata of the end of last season.
  5. Jake Brendel, C/OG, 25 years old, 3rd year — Brendel is a capable backup at center and guard, though Ted Larsen can do both too, and may be the first in line for that role this season. But at least Miami didn’t draft another center.
  6. Gabe Wright, DT, 26 years old, 3rd year — There is a decent chance Miami will eventually add a veteran defensive tackle. And there will be at least one undrafted free agent competing for one of the last roster spots. But why not Wright? Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor are all key cogs and defensive end/tackle William Hayes are the top guys inside for Miami.
  7. Isaiah Ford, WR, 22 years old, 2nd year — It would have been surprising if Miami had selected a wide receiver, as they are loaded at the position. Assuming DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant are all on the roster, Ford will be competing with players like Leonte Carroo and Rashawn Scott for a spot. Miami currently has six receivers who are six feet or shorter on the roster. Ford is 6-foot-2, which is helpful, as well as his ability to track deep balls.

Did the Miami Dolphins really, really need to draft a quarterback?

Miami Dolphins drafting physical freaks and workout warriors

Will Miami Dolphins second rounder Mike Gesicki do Jimmy Graham-like things?

For Miami Dolphins, addition of DB weapon Minkah Fitzpatrick a stunning coup

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