By acquiring Rutger’s star receiver Leonte Caroo in last week’s draft as well as Texas Tech’s speedster Jakeem Grant, the Dolphins have made the receiver position the deepest, talent wise, for 2016.
Despite already having their roster filled with young talent at WR coming into the off-season, the Dolphins traded up in the third round to acquire who they felt was the best player left on the board in Carroo. They went on to add more WR depth by acquiring Grant in the sixth-round. Whether or not the Dolphins should have looked into addressing the need of linebacker and offensive guard, fans should know that the Dolphins now have a talented variety of receivers that could make Miami one of the most dangerous at the position.
Aggressive/Physical receivers: Jarvis Landry, Leonte Carroo
Jarvis Landry’s talent and skills continue to gain larger recognition after being revealed that he was number 98 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2016. Landry has proven to be Ryan Tannehill’s top target – pulling in 110 receptions and 1,157 yards last season. His aggressive play also earned him a franchise record 194 receptions in just two seasons with the Dolphins. It is obvious that Landry’s previous concerns of size and speed have diminished with his strong catching and body control as well as his strong play-making ability.
Leonte Carroo put up some decent numbers during his four years at Rutgers. He pulled in a college-career total 122 receptions, 2,373 yards, 29 touchdowns and an outstanding 19.5 average yards per reception. While there were concerns with Carroo’s character and personal conduct coming into this year’s draft, his aggressive play and strong hands made him a target that Dolphins felt was worth trading up for in the third-round. Despite his upside, Carroo might find it difficult this year to be given a lot of playing time with a depth chart that already consists of Landry, Parker and Stills. If Caroo is somehow able to place himself in a starting role in the wide-receiver group this year, it will be a testament to him being able to quickly transition his skills to the professional level.
Big men/Red zone targets: DeVante Parker, Jordan Cameron
Despite only pulling in 26 receptions and 494 yards during his rookie year, there is still high hopes and expectations for former first-round pick DeVante Parker. With a skill set of size (6’3, 205 pounds) and speed (4.45 40 time) expect Parker to become a bigger target for Tannehill both down the field and in the red zone. Parker’s biggest limitation to his production last season was the foot surgery he had in June that lingered throughout the season. With a full off-season to heal and recover, fans should expect Parker to take that number 2 receiver spot beside Landry.
Jordan Cameron was signed last season to give Tannehill a big receiving target. Unfortunately, Cameron wasn’t able to make much of an impact for the offense with just 35 receptions and 386 yards. Under new head coach, Adam Gase, expect him to have a bigger role in the offense and hopefully return to his 2013 pro bowl level during his time with the Cleveland Browns. While Cameron plays at the tight end position, he is known more for his receiving skills rather than his blocking skills.
Speed/agile receivers: Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant
Stills was traded by the Saints to the Dolphins in the 2015 off-season for linebacker Danell Ellerbe and a third-round draft pick. With a performance last season of 27 receptions and 440 yards, it would seem that Stills’ numbers were less than desirable. There is still hope though, at only 24 years of age as well three seasons under his belt, Stills’ strong skills in speed (4.38 40 time) and catching ability can help him continue to develop into a talented receiver and can put him in that number 3 spot beside Landry and Parker.
A quick look at Jakeem Grant’s highlight reel and fans may wonder why Grant wasn’t drafted until the sixth-round. While Grant is definitely a fast (4.38 40 time) and explosive player, standing at 5’6 and weighing only 165 pounds will likely hinder him from becoming a starter at the professional level. Expect Grant to become Miami’s top candidate for the special team’s kick and punt returner position, but his role at receiver will likely be absent. If he is able to overcome his physical limitations and wow the coaches during training camp, Grant can definitely be used in the offense right away for special screen and run plays.
Overall, with the talented and deep group of receivers that Miami will have this year, it is fair to expect bigger and better things out of the Dolphins’ offense, especially under the new offensive-minded head coach, Adam Gase.