Before the 2012 season started for the Miami Dolphins, almost nobody knew who KR/PR Marcus Thigpen was. Now, I think it’s safe to say everyone in Miami knows who “Thiggy” is. After bouncing around both the NFL and CFL after going undrafted out of Indiana in 2009, Thigpen has finally found his niche in Miami. He has brought life to a formerly lackluster Miami Special Teams unit, and has filled the gaping hole that Ted Ginn Jr. left when he went to San Francisco.
This year for the Fins, Thigpen returned 26 punts for 316 yards (12.2 yd avg), and 72 of these yards came on a beautiful touchdown on opening day against the Houston Texans. His punt return stats earned him the 11th spot in the rankings in the NFL, so Thigpen was in the upper half of the league; not bad for an undrafted free agent in his first complete NFL season.
“Thiggy” also gave the Fins a huge spark with his explosive kick returns. He totaled 38 kickoff returns for 1,040 yards (27.4 yd avg), including a 98 yard kickoff return TD that kept Miami in the game against the Buffalo Bills during their first meeting. Thigpen scored for the Fins when the offensive struggled to do so. Thigpen’s kickoff stats were good enough to earn him the 6th spot in the league in this category, but his play was much more important than his stats entail. He would frequently provide an explosive return that gave Miami great field position or a much needed momentum shift, and gave this team passion and soul. Granted, Thigpen had his fair share of mistakes (including a couple costly fumbles and muffed punts), but these mistakes are expected in an inexperienced player.
Overall, Marcus Thigpen was an exciting player to watch all year long. Every time he touched the ball, he had the capability to spring a huge return and take it to the house, and often gave the Miami offense a spark when they needed it most. Hopefully, Miami will keep Thigpen as their return man, and I’d like to see him get a few more touches in offense, whether has a sweep back or a wide receiver. Hopefully, Thiggy is here to stay!
Marcus Thigpen’s 2012 Grade: A-