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2014 Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers And Tight Ends

Posted Jul 21, 2014

The Dolphins have built up tremendous depth at the wide receiver position, meanwhile the Dolphins have a budding star at tight end.



When it comes time for Head Coach Joe Philbin and his staff to make the final roster cuts on the last Saturday of August, perhaps no position will present more difficult decisions than wide receiver.

The Dolphins have built up tremendous depth at that position by bringing in, among others, second-round pick Jarvis Landry and free agent Damian Williams to join a group that already included some established NFL veterans.

At tight end, meanwhile, the Dolphins have a budding star in Charles Clay, whose selection in the sixth round in 2011 marked the beginning of a four-year run where the team drafted a player at that position. The other three — Michael Egnew, Dion Sims and rookie Arthur Lynch — will be competing for playing time along with Kyle Miller and rookie free agent Gator Hoskins.

BREAKING DOWN DOLPHINS WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS

RETURNING VETERANS

• WR Armon Binns (6-3, 211) — Binns is starting over after sustaining a season-ending knee injury early in training camp last summer, but he looked good in the offseason practices. Binns, who joined the team in December of 2012, is an intriguing prospect because of his size.

• TE Charles Clay (6-3, 255) — Clay will be looking to build on his breakthrough 2013 season when he took over starting duties after the preseason knee injury sustained by Dustin Keller and responded with 69 catches and a team-high six touchdowns.

• TE Michael Egnew (6-5, 255) — The 2012 third-round pick has made some progress over the past two seasons and has flashed intriguing pass-catching potential at times. But he must show consistency this summer.

• WR Brandon Gibson (6-0, 205) — Gibson’s ability to take part in team drills in the spring was a welcome sight after he sustained a season-ending knee injury at New England last October. Before he was injured, Gibson was becoming a reliable third-down threat for the offense.

• WR Brian Hartline (6-2, 199) — The longest-tenured member of the receiving corps, Hartline has done nothing but produce for the Dolphins since arriving as a fourth-round pick in 2009. He led the team in receiving average each of his five seasons and led the team in receptions the last two years.

• WR Rishard Matthews (6-0, 210) — After seeing very little action as a rookie seventh-round pick in 2012, Matthews got more playing time last season and responded with 41 catches. He had a game to remember at Tampa Bay when he caught 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

• TE Kyle Miller (6-5, 262) — A former standout at Division III powerhouse Mount Union, Miller is hoping this is the year he gets an opportunity with the Dolphins. He was claimed off waivers from the Colts in 2012, but was inactive the rest of that season and spent last year on the practice squad.

• TE Dion Sims (6-4, 262) — The Dolphins are hoping for bigger things from the 2013 fourth-round pick after he finished with six catches as a rookie, although one of them produced the winning points in the comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons in the home opener.

• WR Marcus Thigpen (5-9, 195) — Thigpen spent most of the spring working at wide receiver, although he’s also listed as a running back on the roster. Thigpen’s biggest contribution in his two seasons with the Dolphins has been as a kick returner and it very well might remain that way.

• WR Mike Wallace (6-0, 195) — Wallace perhaps didn’t make the huge splash some had expected after he was signed as a free agent last offseason, but he still finished with a career-high 73 receptions and was on the receiving end of five of the team’s 11 pass plays of 40 yards or more.

VETERAN ADDITIONS

• WR Kevin Cone (6-2, 216) — Cone signed with the Dolphins this offseason after spending three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. An undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech, Cone has made his mark on special teams. His one career reception came last season against the Jets and was good for 12 yards.

• WR Damian Williams (6-1, 193) — A 2010 third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, Williams joined the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent this spring. Williams comes to Miami with 106 career catches in 54 games, including 17 starts.

• WR Stephen Williams (6-5, 208) — The tallest receiver on the roster, Williams joined the Dolphins after spending time with both Seattle and Jacksonville last season. The former University of Toledo star has nine career receptions, all of them coming with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010.

ROOKIES OR FIRST-YEAR PLAYERS

• WR Gerald Ford (6-3, 223) — The newcomer with the famous name was out of football last year, but in 2012 he earned Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors after catching 69 passes for 1,026 yards and 13 touchdowns for Valdosta State.

• WR Matt Hazel (6-1, 198) — The sixth-round pick was a two-time first-team All-Big South Conference selection for Coastal Carolina and he set a school record as a senior with 70 receptions.

• TE Gator Hoskins (6-2, 253) — Hoskins, whose given first name is Harold, was signed as a rookie free agent out of Marshall University after he led the nation among tight ends in touchdown receptions the past two seasons with 10 in 2012 and 15 last fall.

• WR Jarvis Landry (5-11, 205) — The second-round pick out of LSU wasted little time making a big impression with outstanding work during the spring practices. Landry earned LSU Most Valuable Player honors last season after leading the team in receptions (77) and receiving yards (1,193).

• TE Arthur Lynch (6-4, 258) — Lynch, the fifth-round pick out of Georgia, arrives as perhaps the most balanced tight end on the roster. A punishing blocker, Lynch earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2013 after catching 30 passes for 459 yards and five touchdowns.

• WR Ryan Spadola (6-1, 201) — Signed to the practice squad last season after he had played three games for the Jets, Spadola was activated for the Halloween game against the Bengals and saw action on special teams.

• WR Rantavious Wooten (5-9, 178) — The small but speedy Wooten was signed as a rookie free agent out of Georgia. He caught 30 passes as a senior in 2013, including five for 99 yards and a touchdown against BCS Championship Game participant Auburn.