3 toughest wide receiver corps Miami will face in 2016

Sep 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Davis (29) lines up to defend New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) in the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Davis (29) lines up to defend New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) in the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports /

Wide receivers are more important now than they’ve ever been.  And the Miami Dolphins are set to face a lot of great groups this upcoming 2016 NFL season.

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This list solely revolves around wide receivers with no influence whatsoever of who’s throwing them the ball, running backs coming out of the backfield or any tight ends on the team.  I’m aware that the quarterback makes a difference and tight ends are apart of the passing attack but they’ll be highlighted in other articles.

The men chosen to cover some of the best talented players in the league include Byron Maxwell, rookie Xavien Howard, and 2nd year pro’s Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett.  This group of cornerbacks is extremely inexperienced but if anyone can groom them into a solid core it’s defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

3.  New England Patriots: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Nate Washington, Malcolm Mitchell

Like our very own Jarvis Landry, this group of wide receivers are all grinders.  They’re not scared to go over the middle and catch the tough pass.  They’re quick and decisive enough to put any corner on his heels.  And they’re not scared of putting the pads down to fight for the extra yard.

They are, however, injury prone.  Only Chris “7/11” Hogan was able to play in all 16 games this past as a Buffalo Bill season as Julian Edelman played in nine and Danny Amendola in 14.

Washington – now 32 years old – is the wild card in this group.  He’s never been a true #1 wide receiver but he’s always fairly consistent when his number is called upon.  He didn’t appear in 16 games for the first time in his career since his rookie season in 2005.

Miami faces New England, as we all know, twice a year.  Shutting down Tom Brady’s weapons is key to getting a pass rush and winning the game.  And they’ll need to do this if they have any hopes in taking over the AFC East.

2.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Demarcus Ayers

All-pro wide receiver Antonio Brown makes this group great.  Martavis Bryant would possibly make it 1st on this list had he not been suspended for the entire 2016 NFL season.

We know what Brown is going to do.  But what about Markus Wheaton and 2nd year pro Sammie Coates?  Wheaton made a lot of plays down the field last season averaging 17 yards per reception but is yet to really “break-out”.

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The real question with this group revolves around Coates.  With his size I’m ultimately expecting Coates to take over Bryant’s spot on the outside but he spent all of his rookie season on and off of the practice squad, catching just one pass for 11 yards and appearing in only six games.

We may never really know what Darrius Heyward-Beyis is truly capable of.  He’s as inconsistent as they come but will make a play deep down the field in a blink of an eye.  And rookie Demarcus Ayers will have to work hard to become a trustworthy target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

1.  Arizona Cardinals:  Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Michael Floyd, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson

This group was rated the second best group of receivers by PFF.  In a rating that has the tight end influence of aged veteran Daniel Fells as the starter, that’s saying something about who they have at the wide receiver position.

Larry Fitzgerald isn’t getting any younger but the team is continuously getting closer to giving him a Super Bowl he deserves.  After head coach Bruce Arians chose to give him more work inside the numbers he had his best season statistically in over five years, proving he’s not just one of the best but one of the most versatile receivers to ever play the game.

John Brown and Michael Floyd are perfect compliments in Arians’ offensive attack, combining for 107 catches, 1,852 yards and 13 touchdowns between the two.

December is Miami’s achilles heal and welcome Arizona to town on the 11th of the month.  By week 14 we’ll have a much better idea of the cornerback situation in South Florida and if they’ll be able to contain a group hungry to get Fitzgerald his ring.

Wild Card

Tennessee Titans: Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Harry Douglas, Justin Hunter

Yes.  I know.  This group doesn’t scare a lot of people but I think with time it can be a great arsenal for quarterback Marcus Mariota.  Time to improve and time to get over whatever injury bug that seems to hit each and every one of them every season.

The leading man from this would actually be newcomer and former Dolphin wide receiver Rishard Matthews.  He was a bright spot in Miami’s offense until getting getting hurt late in the season.  His 44 receptions, 662 yards and four touchdowns all equal or best every receiver in Titan blue last season.

No Tennessee wide receiver accumulated more than 40 receptions last year after they all – aside from Green-Beckham – struggled with injuries.  Kendall Wright started nine games and played in 10, Harry Douglas started 12 and played 14, and Justin Hunter started just five games and played in nine.

If this group is healthy, and we can at least assume they will be in week five when they travel to Miami, they could give Miami fits.