In all honesty, probably too early.
But with Chad Ochocinco becoming available after the Patriots cut him yesterday, there has been a ton of discussion among fans and media about if he would be a fit or not here in his hometown.
I’m not going to try and answer that question today, but I do think it provides us with a good opportunity to look at the team’s wide receiving corps.
Last season, the Dolphins surprised some people when they opted to take six wide receivers to the 53-man roster and into the regular season. For much of training camp and preseason, many of us figured that in addition to Brandon Marshall, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and then-rookie Clyde Gates, the Fins would keep either Roberto Wallace OR Marlon Moore. Both played and practiced well and both were kept.
This year, things are even cloudier. By my math, there are 10 guys fighting for three or four spots on the roster. Hartline and Bess will be here. Then it gets more difficult. Here are the remaining WRs on the roster:
-Clyde Gates: A fourth round pick in 2011, he caught only two passes last year but was the primary kick returner. Probably the fastest guy on the team.
-Legedu Naanee: A fifth round pick by the Chargers in 2007, Naanee played for the Panthers last year and caught 44 balls for over 400 yards and one touchdown. Signed as a free agent the week before the Draft, he’s a veteran presence in the meeting room.
-Marlon Moore: Limited to just six games last year because of injury, Moore did not record a regular-season catch. In 2010, he had a 57-yard touchdown catch at Oakland and also returned a couple of kicks.
-Roberto Wallace: Also limited by injury in 2011, he appeared in just two games and also was held without a catch. In ’10, though, the 6’4 Wallace appeared in 12 games and caught six passes.
-Julius Pruitt: A practice squad guy for much of 2010 and ’11, Pruitt was moved to the active roster in the wake of the injuries. While he didn’t catch a pass, he was a highly-visible member of the kick-coverage team and really seemed to prove his worth as a special teamer.
-Chris Hogan: Another practice squad guy, Hogan will get his chance this Summer to show the new coaches that he deserves his opportunity.
-The Rookies (BJ Cunningham, Rishard Matthews, Jeff Fuller, Derek Moye): Cunningham (sixth round) and Matthews (seventh) were both drafted by the Dolphins this year, while Fuller and Moye were signed as undrafted free agents. Have to figure one or two of these guys is headed for the practice squad but it’s anybody’s guess as to how this all shakes out.
Finally, here are some factors that may very well have an impact on which of these guys make the roster:
-Special Teams: If a guy can show value on special teams, that is a big, big help. As a returner or a coverage guy or an anything. This is huge.
-Tight Ends: The 2011 Packers, with Joe Philbin as their offensive coordinator, carried five tight ends into Week 1. The number of TEs that end up on this roster will certainly have an effect on the number of WRs that are kept.
-The RBs: There have been plenty of hints that we can expect the RBs to be more involved in the passing game this year; does that mean there could be one less spot for a WR?
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