Miami Dolphins depth at WR is better after the draft but still concerning

Trent Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Trent Sherfield Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins didn’t do too much at wide receiver during the NFL Draft but honestly, it was a bit surprising they did anything at all.

The Dolphins spent a lot of money in free agency and in the trade for Tyreek Hill and with less than a handful of picks in the draft, WR was a luxury we didn’t think they could afford. It turns out they needed to spend something because their depth was still a question mark.

Entering the 2022 season, and training camp in about a month and a half, we know that the top WRs will be Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle with Mike Gesicki likely continuing to line up in the slot but with the trade of DeVante Parker, the depth at WR became a question.

The addition of Erik Ezukanma gives Miami a little more depth even if he is unlikely to make a big impact early in his career as most rookies do.

When the Dolphins enter their training camp, the roster should look similar to what is listed below. Some changes may be made on the deeper end of the unit but overall not much should change.

During free agency, the Dolphins signed several receivers with experience, most notably Cedrick Wilson, Jr., Trent Sherfield, Cody Core, and River Cracraft.

It is likely that Miami will carry six receivers into the season, any more than that would be very surprising, and frankly, six may be too much as well. This isn’t really about a roster prediction but we have to assume that Hill, Waddle, and Wilson are the locks. That would leave three positions left and this is where the depth comes into play as does experience.

Erik Ezukanma gets a rookie pass and there are no guarantees that he will make the roster but he would be an odds on bet to do exactly that given Miami’s history of late-keeping draft picks at least a year or two. Ezukanma doesn’t provide the depth that Miami needs through veteran experience but he will provide protection given his talent and potential.

River CracraftCracraft has four years of experience and knows Mike McDaniel from his two seasons in San Francisco. He has averaged 12.7 yards per reception over his four seasons, including two years with the Broncos.

Cracraft is a contributor in situational play but he has only seven receptions over his entire career and that puts his value, less in the on-the-field experience column but instead his experience off of it and in the locker room. Cracraft has a lot of room to continue to grow and is still young but his future is a question.

Trent Sherfield – Like Cracraft, Sherfield has four years of experience with three in Arizona and last season with the McDaniel and the 49ers. Unlike Cracraft, Sherfield has more touches with 37 receptions and his average is the same, 12.7 per catch. Of the two, Sherfield offers the same veteran experience with more on-field production, if only marginal.

Cody Core – Core has four playing seasons as well, three with the Bengals and his last season with the Giants but Core spent part of the 2021 season with the Dolphins on their practice squad. While he has the experience, like the other two, he hasn’t played a game since 2019 and is a long shot to make the roster.

Miami Dolphins
Preston Williams (18) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Preston Williams – To be honest, Williams is the biggest question mark of this training camp. If he can stay healthy he provides more than just depth because he can start and be productive. The problem is that Williams can’t stay healthy. He is a favorite of many fans because he bucked the odds and made an NFL roster as an undrafted WR, then produced early.

Fans want to root for his success but this year, he will have to earn a roster spot, not with his play but with his health. If he can do that, he should provide the Dolphins with a solid depth piece that can contribute throughout games whether he is “starting” or not.

Lynn Bowden, Jr. – There is everything in the world to like about Bowden except actually seeing him play because we haven’t been able to watch him due to injury. There is a lot of hype surrounding how he will fit into the Mike McDaniel offense and of course, that comes with comparisons to Deebo Samuel. It is an unfair and untrue comparison.

Miami Dolphins
Lynn Bowden Jr Miami Dolphins (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Bowden is the 5th or 6th receiver on this roster but if he can stay healthy he can provide a boost to the offense given his talent and abilities. Bowden has not come close to his ceiling and has a lot of room to grow and that is a plus as well.

Overall the Dolphins have a lot of quality at WR but outside of the top three players, there was a lack of quality depth at the position. Preston Williams has the most on-field experience while Cody Core has the most “seasons” under his belt, technically but for the most part, the Dolphins WR unit has an average of 3.2 seasons combined per player and most of that is marginal play.

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Training camp will bring a lot of competition to the unit and the final three roster spots are likely going to be late cuts.

Miami’s depth got better with the addition of Erik Ezukanma but overall, if anyone goes down, there is a lack of experience on the bench behind the first three and Miami will be relying heavily on players like Cracraft and Sherfield if that happens. It kind of makes you wonder if keeping Parker might have been smart.