Byron Maxwell is back at the top of the pyramid. Xavien Howard seems destined to join him there. Monday marked the release of the first official depth chart for the Miami Dolphins this season. There were not a lot of surprises, based on the work that had been put in during training camp to this point. The starting cornerback battle is one that has been a source of intrigue since the end of last season, though.

Maxwell and Howard charge forward

The two beat out the likes of Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett on the first depth chart. Alterraun Verner and Lafayette Pitts are the next two up.

Finally, Walt Aikens and Codrea Tankersley close out the cornerback portion of the depth chart for the Dolphins. Miami had an average pass defense last season; Maxwell and Howard both played a part in that in a division that counts Tom Brady among the quarterbacks teams are forced to face twice.

Maxwell was dealt to the Dolphins prior to the 2016 season in a deal that sent a first round draft pick back to the Philadelphia Eagles. He recorded 53 combined tackles and two interceptions in 13 games. He also found a way to force four fumbles, a career high. Meanwhile, Howard was a second round pick out of Baylor. He wound up starting six games, forcing a fumble, recording 40 tackles, and breaking up six passes.

He's still looking for his first NFL interception, though - maybe it'll come off Brady.

Other Dolphins depth chart notes

The biggest name missing from the Dolphins depth chart is Jay Cutler. The quarterback signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the team to come out of retirement this weekend. His absence, however, is more of an issue of formalities than anything else at this point.

Once everything becomes official and Cutler joins the team, there should be little doubt that he'll get the starting nod over Miami backup Matt Moore.

Another interesting note involved rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan. According to the depth chart, he'll be the team's starting inside linebacker. Brandon Doughty is listed ahead of David Fales in the fight to be third-string quarterback.

Jordan Phillips is also surprisingly ahead of Davon Godchaux at defensive tackle. There are still four weeks of preseason play left, however. Players like Maxwell and Howard should feel good about where they stand right now, but an injury or inconsistent performance against weakened competition can hurt their standing in Miami.