In my opinion, I believe the most competitive position this offseason is at wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins. There are currently 12 receivers fighting for a spot on the 53 man roster. Unfortunately, the Dolphins will only keep at most six of them. Since the start of OTAs and minicamp, WR Legedu Naanee has capitalized on his opportunities, while slowly separating himself from the rest of the pack. He has been impressive this entire offseason.
The Dolphins signed free agent Naanee this past April to a one year deal. He started his career playing four mediocre seasons with the San Diego Chargers. During that span, he caught a total of 63 passes for 746 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, he started to show signs of potential, while playing with the Carolina Panthers. He caught 44 passes for 467 yards before getting placed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury.
When Naanee first joined the Dolphins, many fans and the local media had low expectations and considered him just another body in camp to push the “starters.” In such a short amount of time, Naanee has changed his image to already be considered a starting wide receiver on this team.
At 6’2” and 215 lbs, Naanee is the second biggest WR behind Roberto Wallace and has all of the physical traits needed to be a number one receiver. According to the local media who has covered the OTAs, minicamp, and training camp thus far, he is the best blocking WR on the roster, with excellent route running skills. Additionally, he has already developed great chemistry with QBs Matt Moore and David Garrard. Naanee also appears to have deep threat capabilities, beating CB Vontae Davis in coverage on some deep plays downfield, including a long TD in training camp.
Most importantly, Coach Joe Philbin has been very impressed with his work ethic and performance. In return, the coaching staff has given him several opportunities with the starters. According to Philbin, this is something Naanee has earned this offseason. Now that WRs Brian Hartline and Clyde Gates are watching on the sidelines rehabilitating their injuries, Naanee will continue to receive a lot of reps and playing time with the first team to showcase his skills.
If he continues to impress the coaching staff and perform at this current pace, he will be on his way to locking down a starting spot. He appears to be hungry and grateful for this opportunity to compete. So start practicing to say the name Legedu Naanee (Leg-a-do Nuh-nay) because I have a feeling we will be cheering his name a lot this season.