Team Need Number 3: Wide Receiver
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have several needs this year entering the NFL Draft which is now less than a week away. From the offense to the defense only QB is set as far as the roster goes and even that may take a surprise turn if the Phins decide to draft QB Pat White.
This week, the final 5 days leading up to the draft, I will look at my top 5 needs for the Miami Dolphins and rank them based on what I feel should be their top priorities. By no means do I believe that the Dolphins should draft in this order but instead should draft the players that make the most sense at that time that fill a need.
Today, I present my number 3 spot. Wide-receiver.
What the Phins have: Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, Brandon London, Ernest Wilford, Ted Ginn, Anthony Armstrong, and Todd Lowber.
The Good: Greg Camarillo has made many Miami starting to forget about Wes Welker, who was traded a year earlier. Camarillo is the tough as nails WR that isn’t afraid to go over the middle. His contract last year ensures that he has a place on this team but a season ending injury has brought his future into question. Camarillo’s recovery is on schedule and it looks as though he will return 100 percent by the start of the season.
Last year the Dolphins made a splash with potential future WR’s when they signed Brandon London and Davone Bess. Both player contributed to the offense and look to get better with another year under their belts. Bess’ rookie campaign ranked rather well with other drafted rookies and in the latter half of the season he outplayed many of the other youngsters in the league.
The Bad: Ted Ginn is entering year 3 and is already being outplayed by Bess and London. Ginn needs to step up and show more consistency in his ability. He has great hands and phenomenal speed and while his game is down-field and he is hurt by the arm of Chad Pennington, it’s in between the long and short that he comes up struggling. Ginn was supposed to be the teams legit number 1 WR and instead, the Dolphins are looking to add one.
Another issue with Ginn is his ability to get off the line when one on one coverage becomes bump and run. Ginn has tried to use his speed to get off the line, and it doesn’t work consistently. Ginn does not give defenses something to fear and his speed alone does not make other defenses double the wide-out.
The biggest bust of last years free agent period is Ernest Wilford bar-none. Wilford was guaranteed 6 million a year and spent most of his first year with the team outplayed by Bess and London landing him a spot on the inactive list.
Why this is a need:
The Dolphins lack a true number 1 WR threat. While Ted Ginn can stretch the field, teams are not afraid to let him run because the Dolphins can’t get the ball down-field. So it’s in his short game that he struggles. The Dolphins need a big strong WR in the mold of a Steve Smith or a Randy Moss but there are none in this years draft after Michael Crabtree. Still there are a few that may be comparable to an Anquan Boldin. Until the Dolphins solve their problems at the WR position and gain a legitimate attack through the air that does not rely heavily on the TE’s, then the Dolphins running game will not see a thinner front.
Who is available:
Hakeem Nicks – Probably the most talked about WR when the Dolphins are mentioned. Nicks is not the fastest WR in this pool but many believe that because of Butch Davis’ NC offense that Nicks is more ready for the NFL. Nicks runs good routes and has the body make-up to hold his own against hard hitting corners. With good hands, Nicks catches well and his ability to gain yards after the catch is something that the Dolphins desperately need. Nicks is a first round pick who will fall no later than the top of round 2.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – The fastest WR in the top of the class Bey burned up his time at the combine to make himself a first round prospect. While Bey is fast, the issue here for the Dolphins is that he shares many similarities with Ted Ginn. A straight runner with blazing speed Bey often avoids physical contact and uses his speed to try and get away from the defenders. His route running is nothing special but not horrible.
Brian Robiskie – Robiskie is an All-American Academic WR so intelligence is not an issue. Robiskie runs very polished routes and at 6’2″ holds his own in coverage. He has good hands but lacks burner speed which is why many believe he will likely be available when the Phins pick at number 44 in round 2.
Kenny Britt – Britt is a very physical WR and a very tall one. Reaching almost 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Britt has no problems going up and taking a ball away from a defender and at times he seems to love the challenge. Britt uses his body well to separate from coverage and is very good at gaining yards after the catch. If not for the fact that he plays for Rutgers and had a few minor off-field issues, Britt would be a first round pick, instead he is a top 2 pick who is slowly seeing his stock climb into the bottom of round 1.
And The Dolphins select…
The Dolphins may not use one of their 3 first day picks on WR. While many feel that they will use their first pick on NC WR Hakeem Nicks, the Phins could be content to at least wait until round 2 where they may land Brian Robiskie or Kenny Britt should he fall. Nicks and Robiskie seem to fit more with the Dolphins offense and Britt has the physicality that the Dolphins coaches love. Heyward-Bey is a solid talent but too much like Ted Ginn to seriously take at 25. Of the above mentioned WR’s only Nicks is worth the 25 slot.
In looking at the WR’s that could be day 1 talents, outside of Nicks, I see the Dolphins possibly drafting Robiskie at 44 if they don’t take a WR in round 1.