Can Tommy Heatherly push for the Miami Dolphins punter job?

NFL Shield logo Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Shield logo Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins were fortunate to land Thomas Morstead this off-season but they still added undrafted free agent Tommy Heatherly.

Heatherly, a former FIU punter joins the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. Many felt that the Dolphins would draft a punter during the draft but the addition of Thomas Morstead changed that. Morstead signed with Miami in April before the draft but the Dolphins still wanted some camp competition or at the very least someone to give the 14-year veteran Morstead some rest.

Heatherly is a good punter and could show enough in camp to latch on with another team or maybe a return to Miami down the road. It is highly unlikely that he wins the Dolphins’ job during camp but we all know that stranger things have happened.

Over his career at FIU, Heatherly has been a Semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2020 the same season he was on the Honorable Mention All-Conference team and 2nd team Phil Steele AC.

Heatherly can also kick, something that Morstead can do as well. In 2019, he averaged 43 yards per punt and increased that average to 44.3 in 2020.

Heatherly’s road to the NFL has been long. A JUCO prospect in 2017 and 2018, Heatherly battled not being recruited to finding a home with FIU. Now, he is battling for an NFL job against one of the longest-tenured NFL players.

For Heatherly, camp is going to provide experience and practice. The exhibition games will give him a chance to show other teams that he can be a punter in this league. He will need to take full advantage of every opportunity because they may come few and far between. What does work in his favor is that Morstead will likely not be asked to do too much given his time in the league so Heatherly should at least get a chance.