Announcement Podcast Paroxysm talks NBA with SI.com's Lee Jenkins ×

Miami Dolphin Tight End Michael Egnew Impressing Many

Feb 25, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri Tigers tight end Michael Egnew participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When the Miami Dolphins selected Missouri tight end, Michael Egnew, with the 78th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, many truly believed Egnew was going to be the team’s future at the tight end position.

In his first season with the team, however, he performed quite poorly. I’m quite sure we cannot forget his performance during HBO’s hit series: Hard Knocks. But Egnew’s troubles continued into the season, nonetheless.

Egnew was active for just two games out of sixteen. He also received less than thirty total game snaps. Yikes, so much for our third round pick, huh? This led many to throw Egnew under the bus as a bust already…

Slow down, buddy.

When Miami selected the 6’5”, 255 pound tight end, the team knew what they were getting. During his tenure with the Missouri Tigers, Egnew was featured as a “joker” style tight end. This basically means Egnew would line up as a receiver rather than as an in-line blocker (beside the tackle on the line of scrimmage).

Take a look here:

Here Egnew lines up split out wide in his “joker” position. Obviously the team is not going to send Egnew on a go route or something of that nature, but utilizing his size on a linebacker in space is a clear mismatch here. Egnew uses his 4.62 40-yard dash speed to beat the linebacker on a quick slant and picks up a key first down.

Egnew’s speed is also quite an asset that can be used similar to that of the New England Patriots‘, Aaron Hernandez.

On this particular play, Egnew is lined up as a receiver. Missouri QB James Franklin then puts Egnew in motion for a reverse. Yes, a tight end reverse.

Once Egnew has the ball in his hands, he does an excellent job of reading his blocks. Here both receivers are in position to block and Egnew picks up the tailback out of the back field as his lead blocker. The tailback then must decide to take on the linebacker crashing down or to head up field towards the safety coming hard. Egnew reads the block of the tailback (whom decides to take on the linebacker) and picks up the first down.

You didn’t think that he was not a blocker, did you? Egnew is more of a bulked up wide receiver, but he also can use his big frame to help set the edge. Here Egnew is put in motion and is almost used as the lead blocker on this edge run.

Once the ball is snapped, Egnew quickly gets into position to block his assignment.

Once he is in position, Egnew engages with his man and does a good job of moving his butt to the hole as my high school coach used to say. His technique is not “perfect” – head should be on the inner shoulder of his assignment and hips should be lower while in an athletic position – which is likely a reason why he spent much of his rookie season on the bench learning.

It was a great idea by Ireland bringing Egnew aboard. Head Coach Joe Philbin loves his tight ends, especially of the athletic nature. Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman is an offensive genius, also. Sherman loves to utilize “speed” guys in space, similar to what Mizzou did with Egnew during his collegiate years.

That being said, Sherman’s offense may have been too complex for Egnew to pick up. Maybe he was not strong enough. Maybe he was not acclimated to the much faster and quicker NFL

James Walker of ESPN is reporting that Egnew has impressed many during Miami’s OTAs. According to Walker, Egnew actually had his best practice of the past three weeks Monday. The second-year tight end reeled in three touchdown catches during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

After practice when asked about his progress Egnew replied, “I’ve just been getting better every practice. I like the guys we got this year and we’re all getting better. I just went over fundamentals like everyone else. I wanted to make sure I got stronger, faster and quicker.”

It’s great to hear that this former third-round pick may finally be “getting it”. If Egnew can continue to improve and produce like he did during his tenure with the Tigers, Miami’s offense could be quite potent. Hell, the team’s tight end group could be quite dangerous.

Now, we certainly aren’t pegging him as Miami’s big-time tight end. Surely the guy will have to prove himself ten-fold to take the starting gig from Dustin Keller. But if Egnew has improved dramatically and contributes enough this season, DolphinsGM Jeff Ireland will look like a genius for signing Keller to a measly one-year deal. 

Topics: Dustin Keller, Miami Dolphins, Michael Egnew

Want more from Phin Phanatic?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • Jcartwright67

    Nice work here, I enjoy these articles. Very informative. I sure hope Egnew “gets it,” this season or at least shows some solid improvement. I’m not sure Fasano received his due credit as a pass catcher last season but I believe Keller will improve upon his numbers from a year ago. I also think Yeatman switching to OL could create some interesting scenarios as a “pass eligible” Tackle. At the end of the day; I’m just wanting to see more production from our TE’s.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Thank you for your kind words as always my man! Agree with everything you said. I’m hoping Yeatman sticks and he actually has been working with the second team so it seems like he will indeed make the 53. I for one am hoping Egnew gets it finally also. Fasano was a highly under-rated pass catcher – we all know, he just wasn’t your 4.6 40 guy to be a seam-threat. I’m not only looking for more production, but I am looking for a dominant pass catcher out of this group. Be it Egnew, Sims, Clay, Keller, Miller, whomever. Someone needs to emerge as a red-zone guy. We have been lacking that for decades! Thanks for the read and the comment, J!

  • Alex

    Our TEs are so much better,Keller is seam threat we never had,Egnew will step up this upcoming season n contribute, Sims will learn all tha in&outs of tha playbook n depending on how fast he can pick it up tha faster he’ll get on tha field,at this point he’s our best in-line n is an underrated pass catcher,Clay is a wildcard considering how versatile he is as TE/HB,Miller is another intriguing prospect that has tha skillset to make tha team,so TE is going to b exciting,competitive uphill battle in Training Camp

    • TylerMcMullen

      They are a highly over-looked and under-rated group. Sims is a great blocking talent whom is “sneaky” fast with exceptional hands. Keller is your seam-threat but he also is a much better blocker than he is given credit for. Check some recent Dolphins-Jets games and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Egnew, if he really has improved, will be the teams true seam-threat, though. Clay is more of a fullback than a tight end, but he is exceptional out of the back field which adds a whole new dimension to this offense. I’m excited if they continue to improve, Alex! Thanks for the read and the comment!!

  • tpl

    I think Miami is set at TE. With Keller, Egnew and Sims, Miami has 3 good TEs.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Kyle Miller is also impressing along with Clay. Although I like Lane, I see the team cutting Lane in favor of Clay playing more of a fullback/H-back type role. Thanks for the read and the comment!

      • tpl

        Thanks for the info. I had not heard that Miller and clay are impressing also.

        • TylerMcMullen

          Rumors are that Miller has been the most impressive so far not named Keller or Egnew. He’s been catching absolutely everything thrown to him which is great.