With the days and hours and minutes until the Dolphins report to training camp ticking down, we continue our series of positional previews with the wide receivers.
While there are a lot of spots up for grabs, there are definitely a couple that seem to be locked in. In early June I attempted a premature evaluation of the depth chart at this position and decided that there were 10 guys fighting for three or four spots on the roster.
Since then, Chad Johnson has signed and some other things have come into focus, as well.
While there’s no guarantee that Johnson makes the team, I’ve gotten to a point where I’d be very surprised not to see #85 line up for the Dolphins Week 1.
Brian Hartline and Davone Bess will assuredly be here as well, meaning that there are now nine guys battling it out for three spots on the 53-man roster–assuming the Fins carry six wide receivers, as they did in 2011.
If we’re to assume that Johnson, Hartline and Bess will be there Week 1, here is a quick breakdown of the nine guys who are fighting be there with them:
-Clyde Gates: A fourth-round pick in 2011, he caught only two passes last year but was the primary kick returner. He is probably the fastest guy on the team.
-Legedu Naanee: A fifth-round pick by the Chargers in 2007, Naanee played for the Panthers in 2011 and caught 44 balls for more than 400 yards and one touchdown. Signed as a free agent the week before the Draft, he’s a veteran presence in the meeting room. Without a doubt, one of the standouts during OTAs and mini-camp.
-Marlon Moore: Limited to just six games last year because of injury, Moore did not record a regular-season catch. In 2010, though, 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. With his height he could be the guy to try and fill the role as the big “outside” receiver in this offense.
-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. Hartline recently praised him as someone to watch out for in 2012.
-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): Cunningham (sixth round) and Matthews (seventh) were both drafted by the Dolphins this year, while Fuller was signed as an undrafted free agent. 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.
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