There were a lot of impressive performances in Miami’s blowout win. So in my latest “Stock Watch,” I’m only going to focus on whose stock is up this week.
Here is a look at whose stock is on the rise:
1. Caleb Sturgis, kicker: Sturgis had a stellar preseason debut against Jacksonville with two made field goals of 58 and 36 yards, three successful extra points and four touchbacks. The rookie fifth-round pick displayed all the skills that made him the first kicker taken in the April draft. He was the favorite to beat out Dan Carpenter entering the game due to his modest salary. His performance Friday night will make it extremely tough for Carpenter to make up ground. Sturgis also celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday, which made his NFL debut that much sweeter.
2. Will Davis, cornerback: I don’t know if there is a Dolphins player who improved more from the start of training camp to now than Davis. The rookie third-round pick was getting torched in camp through the 10 days. But suddenly, the light has come on in the past week and Davis is making many plays. Davis got an athletic, leaping interception in the third quarter against Jacksonville. He also got two picks off Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill in practice last week. After a slow start, Miami’s third-round pick is making a name for himself and is closer to carving out a role on the team.
3. Nolan Carroll, cornerback: Perhaps no bubble player needed a good game this weekend more than Carroll. He’s had a decent, but not spectacular, training camp. And the number’s game at cornerback will make it tough for Carroll to make the 53-man roster. Carroll got a lot of playing time Friday and led Miami with four tackles and an interception that led to the team’s second touchdown. Carroll caught a dropped pass by the receiver and returned it 22 yards. Carroll also got into the heads of the Jacksonville sideline. Reportedly, a jawing match on the sideline between Carroll and suspended Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon led to Blackmon being forced to go into the locker room by Jacksonville’s coaches.
4. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: It was not the most impressive preseason performance. But Tannehill finished his day strong with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Tannehill completed three passes on that drive for 52 yards, which included a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller. Tannehill has been up and down in training camp and the preseason, there is plenty of time left to work out the kinks. Tannehill showed some flashes for the first time Friday in the preseason game.
5. Jonas Gray, running back: It wasn’t a great night statistically, but backup tailback Jonas Gray showed some versatility and toughness by getting into the end zone twice against Jacksonville on goal-line situations. Gray finished with 32 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 14 carries. The week before he showed some burst in the open field with 76 total yards rushing and receiving. Gray is making a strong push for a roster spot as the backup tailback. Daniel Thomas currently holds that position but has been underwhelming thus far. Keep an eye on Miami’s young running backs like Gray and rookie Mike Gillislee in the coming weeks.