For undrafted rookies like Dolphins wide receiver Chad Bumphis, preseason serves as an opportunity to prove they belong in the league and are capable of producing at the levels demanded of them in order to hold a roster spot.
“I look at it like this,” Bumphis explained in an interview with The Finsiders, “they gave me the opportunity to come in and make plays, so that got me here, and I put it on myself to keep me here.”
A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Bumphis attended Mississippi State. His 2,273 career receiving yards as a Bulldog marked a new high in program history.
Now with the Dolphins, the slot receiver is using his skill-set to try to make a niche for himself on this roster with the likes of Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson.
“Yeah, I definitely do because not everyone can play in the slot,” Bumphis said. “I wouldn’t say it’s really, really difficult, because I’ve done it so much, but it takes something special to be able to read those defenses and understand what people are trying to do to you before they do it.”
And the aforementioned veteran receivers, especially Gibson, have aided Bumphis in growing as a professional and working at his craft.
“[Brian] Hartline comes to work every day,” Bumphis said. “He’s a true professional. Every day he comes in and he’s here to get better.”
“And Brandon Gibson, him playing in the slot, I’ve even asked him if there’s a way I can get his cutup films, because everything he does is like a technician. Everything is so perfect, and watching him has helped me become a better slot receiver.”
Along with working on the mental aspect of the game, Bumphis has been working hard on the field. The results have been tangible, as the undrafted rookie leads all Dolphins’ receivers this preseason with seven receptions for 111 yards.
“I’ve always been taught and coached that if you practice hard, it will show up in the game,” Bumphis said. “And that’s what I try to do every day—go out and get better at, at least one thing. I feel I’ve done that so far and it’s showing up on the field.”
While the statistics are impressive, perhaps the most important factor for Bumphis in the long term is his comfort with the offense, which he says improves each day.
“Day-by-day I’m getting more comfortable,” Bumphis said. “At first, it seemed like the field was a box. It seemed so small and I was just lost out there. But now, the more I play, the more comfortable I get.”
Even though he’s had a nice preseason, Bumphis isn’t satisfied with his work and commented on his personal expectations of constantly improving.
“I always am, that’s just how I carry myself,” he said. “I expect to go out and play my best every time I’m on the field, so whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’m there to make the play.”
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