2016 proved that the Miami Dolphins have a solid group at wide-receiver and 2017 promises to show the group is getting better.
The Dolphins have a very young group at wide-receiver. Kenny Stills signed his first deal after his rookie contract this past off-season. Jarvis Landry and De’Vante Parker are both still on their rookie contracts. Miami is getting a lot of production from these guys and 2017 should see a major jump in production from Parker.
Miami does have a problem at the position. They are deep with talent but will only carry five or six receivers on the roster after camp ends in late August. Tough decisions will need to be made and it’s possible that the Dolphins could look to trade some of their depth.
Landry has emerged as the teams heart and soul on offense. He has gone over 1,000 yards receiving for the 2nd consecutive season. This year Landry jumped from 98 to 42 on the NFL’s top 100 players list.
Landry is expected to get a contract extension before the season begins and many are watching how this develops. He is one of the top young talents in the league but there is a knock on his play. For starters, Landry can be a little too emotional at the wrong time and has been flagged on occasion for unsportsmanlike conduct. The other knock is that while he is putting up big yardage totals and yards after catch, his touchdowns are way down.
Landry had four TD’s in 2016 and four in 2015. Miami needs to do a better job of getting Landry involved in the red-zone where he can use his quickness to elude linebackers.
Stills played well in his first season with the Dolphins but in his 2nd following the trade from New Orleans, Stills really improved. Emerging as a deep threat for Ryan Tannehill, Stills has not only become a top target on the field but a major player in the Miami community.
Stills needs to work on his concentration at times but for the most part he has made big strides in the Adam Gase offense and should continue to improve in 2017.
If there has been a disappointment in Miami’s WR group it has to be Parker. And Parker will tell you the same thing. He has world-class hands and catches just about anything thrown his way but he has been unable to consistently avoid the nicks and minor injuries that have kept him from taking a bigger step forward.
In his two seasons with Miami, Parker has combined for 1,238 yards on 82 receptions. He has seven total touchdowns. Parker has missed two games his rookie season and one in 2016 due to foot problems. Which have also led to conditioning problems.
Parker has been working hard to change his health habits in 2017 and he himself along with his coaches are expecting a big year in 2017.
After the top three receivers the quest for the 4th and 5th spots become a big battle. In 2016 it was Scott and not drafted rookie Leonte Carroo who was activated to play late in the season. Scott appeared in two games but did not record a reception.
Plenty of media and fans alike are already calling Carroo a bust. Drafted in round three of the 2016 draft, the Dolphins gave up a 3rd and 4th round pick in the 2017 draft to get him. Carroo posted one catch for 15 yards in 2016 and that catch went for a touchdown. Carroo has to show more in 2017 as the Dolphins had high expectations for him and frankly he hasn’t shown enough yet.
The speedy receiver has made more of an impression as a return man. Despite dropped punts, Grant is an electric player when the ball is in his hands. He has yet to improve in the passing game where he needs to work on both route running and actually catching the ball. It’s unlikely that Grant’s roster spot will be on the line this year, he is still going to face competition.
Morgan is in his first NFL season and is already drawing comparisons to former Dolphins, Bills, and now Patriot receiver Chris Hogan. During the Dolphins first two OTA sessions, Morgan stood out as a player who found ways to get open and did very well looking the ball into his hands. He is a long shot to make the roster but is someone to watch when the pads come on in late July.
Ford is considered a steal for the Dolphins. Drafted in the 7th round, many believed Ford to be a late day two pick. Miami was able to take the high end prospect much later. Ford needs to develop but there is a lot of potential. What will make this interesting is that many believe if Ford is released or stashed on the practice squad that another team will grab him as soon as possible. If Ford can show enough during camp, he will likely take up one of the roster positions.
Francis Owusu, Damore’ea Stringellow, Malcom Lewis:
The three round out the Dolphins WR group and none have a very solid chance at making the roster. The best hope is to show enough to get picked up for the practice squad.