If there is something Dolfans should appreciate from the Trifecta, it is their ability to find hidden gems each year. Every year they bring in guys who we think will get cut or become backups, only to see these players step up immediately and contribute to this team. The list includes guys like Lousaka Polite, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter, Tyrone Culver, Nate Garner, Joe Berger, Joey Haynos, Kory Sperry, and Erick Walden. You have already read my columns about Ryan Grice-Mullen and Ryan Baker on how I believe both have a real good chance to make the team. Well, today I will give you four more names that have just as good a chance to make the Miami Dolphins final 53-man roster.
Kory Sheets: Sheets is a speedster running back signed by the Fins last year off of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad after Ronnie Brown suffered his lisfranc injury and was placed on injured reserve. The 49ers and head coach Mike Singletary were not very pleased when the Fins decided to pluck Kory Sheets from their practice squad. Kory is a guy believed to have a ton of potential. He played for the University of Purdue, and despite limited playing time, he finished his career with 3,341 yards, 5.1 yards a carry, and 48 rushing touchdowns (his longest touchdowns were of 80 and 88 yards). It gets better for Sheets who averaged a touchdown every 10.4 rushes and tied with Minnesota running back and current Patriot, Laurence Maroney for the lead in this category. He also displayed some real soft hands finishing his college career with 108 receptions, 814 yards, 8.0 yards a catch, and 5 touchdowns (his longest catch of 40 yards). Sheets has the ability to be a playmaker at the next level and after doing research on Kory, it does not surprise me that the Fins kept him on the active roster for as long as they have. Sheets has a big uphill battle in Miami because of the talent ahead of him in Ricky and Ronnie. Although there is no guarantee of either Ricky or Ronnie coming back next year, Miami might want to make room for this former Boilermaker who showed serious playmaking abilities in college. Sheets could really make a case for himself by showing he can play special teams and displaying his kick return abilities. If Sheets can show this Miami staff that he can do what he did in college at the pro level, I don’t see how Miami can get rid of this one time college playmaker.
J.D. Folsom: To me Folsom, is one of Miami’s biggest mystery players. If you don’t remember J.D., the linebacker was drafted by Miami last year in the seventh round. He impressed during preseason, showing good covering skills and turnover ability. He remained on the practice squad much of last year, but was called up in November and saw immediate action, only to be waived and re-signed again to the practice squad. JD was called up again for the final game of the season, after Crowder’s season ending injury, and finished the season on the active roster with one solo tackle. Folsom is an interesting prospect as he has the size this organization likes at linebacker, measuring 6’3 and weighing 230 pounds. J.D. started his college career at Snow College in Utah. While at Snow, J.D. helped his team to an 11-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in the NJCAA. He recorded 69.5 tackles, three sacks, and earned his way to First-team All-WSFL and Second-team NJCAA All-American honors. He was also a First-team NJCAA Academic All-American. J.D. decided to transfer to Weber State and played his final two seasons with the Wildcats. While some might think his numbers would decrease as a Wildcat after coming from a very small school, he was actually able to improve them. He finished his collegiate career 217.5 tackles (19.5 for a loss), five sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries, earning Big-Sky honors in his two seasons with the Wildcats. With Miami’s lack of depth at linebacker and need for good special teams player it would not surprise me to see Folsom squeeze his way on to the final roster. If he could show this preseason the turn over abilities he had in college and in last year preseason games, it would be very hard for the Fins not to give J.D. a spot over someone like Walden, Moses, McCoy or Spitler.
Taurus Johnson: After stints with both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions as a rookie UDFA, wide receiver Taurus Johns was signed to the Fins practice squad last year during the regular season. T.J. is a local product who played ball at USF and ended his career with the Bulls with 112 catches, 1,434 yards and, twelve touchdowns. He also finished second in South Florida history in kickoff returns (29) and third in kickoff return yards (784 yards). While at USF he was Grothe’s go-to receiver due to his ability to stretch the field. There is no doubt that T.J. has big play ability, and after Miami traded Ginn to the 49ers, most have asked the question of who will be Miami’s return man and big play guy. Taurus has impressed in OTAs with his ability to return kicks and make players miss. If this former Bull keeps impressing, he has just as good a chance as the other wide receivers do of making the team.
Jonathon Amaya: Amaya was signed by the Dolphins right after the draft as an UDFA rookie and has, become somewhat of an enigma after impressing in OTAs. Amaya has been quoted as saying, “I will do anything it takes to make the Miami Dolphins”. Those who know the character of the Trifecta know they have to be extremely happy to hear this from an undrafted player like Amaya. Jonathon was a former walk-on and safety at the University of Nevada. He saw time at just about every position that was not offense. Amaya played FS, SS, CB, ST and returned kicks. Amaya has the size, speed and athletic ability to play free safety, measuring 6’1, weighing 203 pounds, running a 4.43 40-time, and has a 33’ vertical jump. He is considered a big time hitter, so much so that while at Nevada the equipment team put a neck roll on his pads so he would not hurt his neck when he tackled players. Amaya is one heck of an athlete playing football and baseball in high school. As a baseball player in high school, he played centerfield and was a pitcher. He finished his career in Nevada with 37 tackles, seven interceptions and one touchdown. Obviously, the number that sticks out the most to us Dolfans is Amaya’s seven interceptions while at Nevada. It is his ability to find the ball that has flashed at OTAs. Out of all the players I written about in this column, it is Amaya who I think has the best chance to make the team and be this year’s true hidden gem. The reason is simple: Miami has a serious need at FS and with Amaya out-performing fellow rookie safety Reshad Jones at OTAs and willingness to do whatever it takes to make the team, it is going to be extremely hard for Miami to get rid of this player if he continues to impress and show ball hawking ability.