Late in the 2023 season the Miami Dolphins were faced with injuries to their top two wide receivers. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle each missed time with nagging injuries and bumps and bruises from a long, physical season. Waddle missed the Buffalo game for the AFC East Championship, while Hill also missed valuable time late in the season.
The problem is that the Dolphins do not have sufficient depth in their wide receiver corps to suffer an injury to their two superstars. Their third and fourth outside receivers, Cedric Wilson, Jr. and Robbie Chosen did not perform up to par and really let the team down, especially in December and January when the Dolphins needed them most with Hill and Waddle on the bench.
The Dolphins finished the season with six receivers on the active roster. Aside from Hill and Waddle, and an overachieving Berrios in the slot, who also blocks well downfield, but Miami did not have much else. They rotated in Chase Claypool, Wilson, Jr., and Chosen.
Miami implements a five-receiver set at times, with Berrios in the slot. They have Waddle and Hill lining up on opposite sides, usually with one of them, Hill, in motion, and use two of the others on the outside. Chosen and Wilson were the usual suspects to round out the four receivers on the outside.
The problem is that Chosen and Wilson are diminishing in their skill sets and are not the players that they once were. Wilson has shown flashes and glimpses of the player that he was in Dallas. Chosen has been missing in action and has done very little with the plethora of playing time that he received.
Chosen caught four balls all season, while Wilson chipped in with 22. You need to get more production from outside receivers to take away the double team and the two-high safeties that the Dolphins often see with teams defending Hill and Waddle. Opponents will look to take out Hill and Waddle with nickel and dime defenders and let the other two beat them on the outside. The problem is that the production is not there and neither is trust from franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
As I said, Hill, Waddle, and Berrios are safe bets to come back and regain their starting positions. Waddle and Hill are both superstars who are capable of doing anything in coach Mike McDaniel's offense. Berrios is a tough athlete from the University of Miami who is a good route runner and makes the tough catches on third down.
Berrios finished the season with 27 receptions for 238 yards and a touchdown. He is also a threat on special teams. Berrios averaged more than 24 yards per kickoff return and 10 yards per punt return. Most importantly, he did not fumble or muff any punts that would have turned the ball over.
After the top three, the pickings are slim. Chosen, Wilson, and Claypool need to go. Claypool was traded for during the season, and the Dolphins who gave up very little to wrestle him from Chicago where he wore out his welcome in October. Miami got the raw end of the deal. He was not a factor despite being one of the fastest players on the team. McDaniel likes his speed, but he must hate his stone hands as he drops more balls than he catches. He finished 2023 with four catches for a measly 26 yards.
Miami performed with more fluidity in the first half of the season as opposed to the second half, when Hill and Waddle fought off injuries and missed time.
Look for Chosen, Wilson, and Claypool to be playing elsewhere next season, or not at all. Miami needs to move on from them and upgrade their receiving corps. After addressing the obvious needs on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield, the Dolphins must get younger in the receiver department and catch some thunder and lightning in the draft and/or free agency.