Miami Dolphins: 5 Things We Learned from OTAs
Today, the Miami Dolphins had their third open OTA practice. The obvious difference from last year is the influx of talent. There is also less uncertainty for the franchise.
The Dolphins know Ryan Tannehill will be their starting quarterback. There will be coaching consistency with Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman, and Kevin Coyle.
While Miami has no major hole on their roster, there are question marks.
Can Jonathan Martin succeed as an NFL left tackle?
Can Lamar Miller take the reigns as Miami's featured tailback?
Can Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler take the place of Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett?
While three practices have not answered these questions, what have they shown us?
1. Receivers: From Worst to First
Last year, during the first open practices, Brian Hartline was not present due to a recent appendectomy according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Davone Bess was the star of the Dolphins' receiving corps.
Miami fans were forced to place their hopes on an old Chad Johnson and a young pass-catcher named Wallace, Roberto that is. Neither player made the final roster.
Those that were really desperate, clung onto a star of the HBO Hard Knocks documentary, Chris "7-Eleven" Hogan, who like the food mart was, allegedly, always open. The truth is Hogan may have excelled against third-stringers and players who did not make the team but had almost no chance of earning a roster spot. Hogan was cut less than two weeks after being signed.
This year, Miami's first four-wide set featured Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and Dustin Keller.
No underdogs here. No questions either.
The Miami Dolphins have, arguably, the best group of receivers in the NFL.
2. Brent Grimes Will Be No.1 Cornerback
Newly-acquired Brent Grimes is healthy and drawing rave reviews.
Grimes was signed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason but the Dolphins may be negotiating a long-term deal with him before the end of the season.
Grimes has the talent but after an Achilles-tear, it was his health that did not permit him to land a multi-year contract. Despite his injury, Grimes was a hot commodity in this year's free-agent market and the Dolphins were fortunate to land him.
So far, Grimes has shown tremendous athleticism and has covered everyone with success, including Mike Wallace.
3. Michael Egnew Has Drastically Improved
Miami fans remember Mike Sherman yelling at Michael Egnew last year during HBO's Hard Knocks documentary, "I will cut you."
Egnew proceeded to suit up for only two regular-season games and made zero receptions in 2012.
During the offseason, Egnew trained in mixed martial arts and vowed to enter the 2013 season in phenomenal shape.
So far so good, as Egnew has been a standout in OTAs.
By my count, #Dolphins TE Michael Egnew had three TD catches in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Best practice I've seen from Egnew in OTAs.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerESPN) June 3, 2013
Even before his breakout performance, Egnew was lining up with the first team as Philbin claimed that he had earned that right.
4. Chad Bumphis on the Rise
Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel loves Chad Bumphis and placed him in his top three as far as performance during the June 3rd OTA.
Bumphis is an undrafted rookie from Mississippi State, who is 5'10", weighs 196 pounds, and ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the Bulldogs' pro day.
There is nothing spectacular about Bumphis' size and speed but he has been very productive so far for the Dolphins. Bleacher Report's Thomas Galicia compared him to Davone Bess just after he signed with Miami and to date, Bumphis has exhibited good quickness.
While it is still unlikely that Bumphis makes the team, it would be great to find another undrafted gem.
5. Ryan Tannehill Is Showing Progression
The Miami Dolphins and their fan base have huge expectations for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
So far, in OTAs, Tannehill is exhibiting maturity according to ESPN's James Walker.
I'm noticing #Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is being more patient this yr. He's not hesitating to throw it away when nothing is there.
— James Walker (@JamesWalkerESPN) June 3, 2013
Tannehill is the key to the Miami Dolphins' progress and his stock is trending upward, big time.