Miami Dolphins: 3 players who are on the path to more playing time

Mike McDaniel Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mike McDaniel Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Miami Dolphins
Hunter Long /

Hunter Long did diddly bupkis last year for the Miami Dolphins and who knows why? Now he has a golden opportunity to show everyone where he lives.

We live in a different world than we did at this time yesterday. Adam, Mean Machine, Shaheen has been traded to the Texans, which makes it one less mouth to feed on the tight end depth chart. You could make the argument that the progression of Hunter Long is why the team felt comfortable trading Shaheen, who was a solidish tight end.

I realize that Hunter Long is listed as the 3rd tight end on the depth chart the Miami Dolphins issued the other day, but forgive me for not really caring about that. Depth charts at the beginning of August mean nothing to me.

Even before the Shaheen trade, I thought a really good battle to wait and see unfold was going to be between Durham Smythe and Hunter Long.

Smythe is a four-year veteran, who in my opinion has been slightly underrated since getting here. He makes the catches that he needs to make and coaches, even the last ones, know what he can and can’t do. He’s predominately a blocking tight end but he can catch the ball and take it upfield. I think of him as a poor man’s Anthony Fasano.

Hunter Long was drafted in the 3rd round last year and barely played. He did have an injury but even after he was healed from it, he never really sniffed the field. Long had one catch on three targets last year in seven games.

But make no mistake, Hunter Long has the ability to be more of a playmaker than Smythe. He has the talent in him to catch a bunch of balls and rack up a good amount of yards. He was an adequate blocker at Boston College where the offensive line coach, Matt Applebaum, is now the Dolphin’s offensive line coach.

I think it’s certainly a possibility that Hunter Long can go out there and supplant Smythe as the #2 tight end behind Mike Gesicki. I know Mike McDaniel loves a tight end that can block really well and catch the ball decently but I think if you gave him truth serum he would tell you what he really likes is a tight end that can block and catch the ball equally well. That’s what I think Hunter Long offers more than Durham Smythe. Long can catch much better than Smythe can block.

Take this for what it’s worth;