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Hard Work Paying Off For Yeatman

Posted Nov 8, 2013

Dolphins tackle earns playing time with his versatility.

It has been quite a journey for Will Yeatman, from accomplished lacrosse player at Maryland and Notre Dame to NFL tight end with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins and now to offensive tackle.

Yeatman’s latest stop is yet another test of his patience, work ethic and willingness to adapt to whatever it is the coaching staff wants him to do. He is listed at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, which is the perfect height and weight for an NFL tackle, and last Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals he saw his most extensive action on the offensive line when he reported as an eligible receiver while acting as an extra protector.

“It felt great to be out there and contribute quite frankly,” said Yeatman, who is in his third season in the league. “I just want to do whatever I can to help the team and whatever the coach is asking me to do and that might sound like a generic answer but that’s the truth. Any guy who’s in my situation and not getting as many reps as he wants to or hopes to in his career obviously wants to be out there and contribute as much as he can and I was happy to do that.”

All anybody needs to understand just how strong Yeatman’s desire to play really is should no look no further than the physical changes his body has gone through. When he was being groomed as a tight end, Yeatman weighed 268 pounds and had the build of a Tony Gonzalez or a Jimmy Graham, but Head Coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman wanted him to convert to tackle when they took over the program last year, so he bulked up.

This past offseason, the Dolphins talked to Yeatman about moving to guard, so he added even more weight in order to handle the rigors of being an interior offensive lineman and approached the 350-pound range. Even though he learned how to play guard and feels comfortable lining up anywhere on the offensive line, he was relieved to make the switch back to tackle and get permission to drop his weight.

“I’m 307 pounds and I feel really comfortable with that weight,” Yeatman said. “Ever since I’ve started playing offensive line that’s where I’ve been most comfortable and I think that weight gives me versatility to be able to play every position I need to be able to play.”

Thanks to his receiving background as a tight end, Yeatman is a logical choice to be the guy that reports as a tackle eligible in certain situations and opposing defenses have to be aware of his skills as a result. He caught 13 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown as a senior at Maryland in 2010.

Of course, Yeatman prefers to be recognized for his blocking skills and as a developing tackle in the league, acknowledging that it’s been about two years since he last caught a pass. Still, he is not lacking for confidence when it comes to his receiving abilities.

“Right now I’m just playing offensive line and that’s what I need to be focusing on. I’m focusing on blocking,” Yeatman said. “But I played tight end for a long time, I played lacrosse and that’s a good sport for hand-eye coordination also, so I’m not too worried about that.”

Neither are the Dolphins.
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