With the 78th pick in the third round of last week’s draft, the Miami Dolphins surprising selected a tight end from Missouri, Michael Egnew. For the past few days, I have spent hours watching film from his junior and senior year. Needless to say, I was very impressed. For the last two years he has been a very productive seam threat, catching 140 balls for 1,285 yards and eight touchdowns. He is a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. With his physique it is clear why the Dolphins drafted him. Standing just a hair under 6’6” and 252 pounds, the Dolphins now have a new redzone threat in Egnew.
Most scouting reports on Egnew have the same comments: He is very athletic and is a great target for a quarterback to attack the middle of the field. He has great body control who can line up in the slot and works well in open space. For his size, he has good speed and does an excellent job using his body to block out defenders. Among the TEs at this year’s NFL combine, he was third in the forty yard dash with a 4.62, tied for first in the vertical jump with 36 inches, and had the best broad jump at 10’11”.
His athleticism, fluid body control, and tall frame create mismatches in the secondary making him very difficult to cover. Since the Dolphins will be operating out of a West Coast Offense, a tall and athletic TE as Egnew is icing on the cake. In my opinion, he is exactly what the doctor ordered to help the Dolphins improve their 24th ranked redzone offense from last year. Not to mention the Dolphins were 20th in the league in points scored. Simply put, Miami struggled to score touchdowns.
Last season, I was campaigning for the Dolphins to get a play-making TE after watching guys like Rob Gronkowski (6’6”), Jimmy Graham (6’6”), and Jason Witten (6’6”) completely dominate smaller defensive backs. In redzone situations, these guys outmatched defenders with their size and were virtually unstoppable. Having a tall, athletic TE is the direction teams are taking and I’m happy to see our Dolphins are finally on board.
Egnew will most likely be sharing his playing time with Anthony Fasano (6’4”) and hybrid TE Charles Clay (6’3”). Last year, both guys played well. Fasano had some fantastic one-handed catches to go along with his 32 receptions for 451 yards and five touchdowns. Fasano is also considered one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. For the past few seasons, Miami had him working overtime in blocking schemes. Clay was a rookie last year and he showed signs of promise with his hands, body control, and overall quickness. Playing in just 14 games, he had 16 catches for 233 yards and three touchdowns.
Fasano and Clay were both productive last year between the twenty yard lines. Although Fasano has good size and hands, he lacked the speed and quickness that was often demonstrated by Clay. On the other hand, Clay lacks the ideal size a quarterback would like to target in redzone situations. When it’s third and goal from the seven yard line, it would be nice to toss it up high and allow your big tight end to make a play on the ball. If you watch any Saints’ games, Drew Brees does this frequently with his big target Graham, who by the way had 99 catches and eleven touchdowns last year.
It’s no secret that I support the Dolphins third round decision to draft Egnew. I love his size, speed, and athletic ability to make a play on the ball. So get excited Phin Phans! It’s time for our offense to score more touchdowns instead of settling for fist pumping field goals. Hopefully those days are over now that our Dolphins have a shiny new toy to play with in the redzone.
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