Miami Dolphins: 5 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
The Miami Dolphins began Week 3 of OTAs and are beginning to gel. They have brought in a lot of new players and while it will take time for everyone to be on the same page, they're off to a good start.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is looking for a more explosive offense and now has the personnel to make that a reality. With a full season under his belt, second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be the most important player on offense and will have weapons to throw to.
On the defensive side, the Dolphins will look to improve after another solid season. Like the Miami offense, the Miami defense will look to become more explosive in addition to generating turnovers.
Let's take a look at some of the Dolphins' players who have stood out so far during OTAs.
Michel Egnew was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft and has yet to have any sort of impact on the team. He spent most of last season on on the inactive list and wasn't able to convince coaches that he would be able to contribute.
That seems to be changing as Egnew has really shown a lot of improvement so far this offseason where he has decided to do MMA training and it seems to have paid off.
During a seven-on-seven session in practice, Egnew caught three touchdown passes and was one of the more impressive players, tweeted ESPN's James Walker:
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.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin told Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel that he also feels Egnew has been improving.
"We feel more confident about his ability, and he's starting to understand his role a lot better," Philbin said.
Egnew still has some high expectations, but it appears that he is growing into his own and will have a more active role in the offense this season.
It's no mystery that Lamar Miller will be the starting running back to open the 2013 season and, most likely, for the next few seasons.
He was given the keys when the Dolphins decided to move on from Reggie Bush in the offseason. It appears to have paid off, not only for Miller, but for the Dolphins as well.
Miller has shown improvement during his second season and will look to be an additional dimension for this offense. Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald offered his take on what he has seen from Miller so far in OTAs:
Through May, Miller appears to have a leg up on the field, both in repetitions and in production.
He is taking the bulk of snaps with the first team, and when he does, he has been effective, showing the same explosiveness he did at the University of Miami.
Miller said he is focused on improving his blocking this offseason and expects that to show up when the competition begins in earnest come training camp.
This is Miller's job to lose and there's little doubt he won't be the starter when September rolls around. His explosiveness and pass-catching ability will be a key component to this offense and if he is able to develop his blocking skills, he will have a breakout season.
After Sean Smith decided to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs during free agency, it was clear Miami needed someone to take over as the No. 1 cornerback.
Brent Grimes is that someone.
Grimes is coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury and how he would recover was up in the air leading into OTAs. Would he have his explosion back and be able to keep up with faster receivers? What about taller receivers?
These were all questions that needed to be answered before Grimes could be considered as Miami's top cornerback for the upcoming season.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald believes Grimes could become a cornerstone of the franchise and offered what he has seen from Grimes at OTAs:
The 5-10 Grimes, less than a year clear of surgery for a torn Achilles tendon, showed no signs of rust or physical limitations during the 90-minute practice.
Playing alongside Richard Marshall with the first-string defense, Grimes was everywhere — covering Wallace on a deep route, and knocking away passes intended for Armon Binns and Rishard Matthews.
Miami will benefit from Grimes' playmaking ability. When healthy, he is an improvement over Smith and the Dolphins hope he can make plays and create turnovers.
Miami completely re-tooled its group of wide receivers during the offseason.
The Dolphins brought in Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson in addition to re-signing Brian Hartline. However, one of Miami's standout receivers during OTAs has been undrafted rookie free agent Chad Bumphis.
Bumphis was a reliable receiver during his time at Mississippi State and is looking to earn a spot in the 53-man roster. As opposed to last year, the Dolphins' receiving group is pretty deep this year and it will take a lot from Bumphis to make the squad.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly has been impressed by Bumphis so far:
Drum roll please.....top OTA performers for today were 1. Brian Hartline (consistency every session). 2. FS Chris Clemons 3. WR Chad Bumphis.
I've learned an undrafted rookie's name and number. Chad Bumphis is No. 16. He flashed all day.
Chad Bumphis catches a short pass from Pat Devlin and jets down field an extra 15 yards. He's fast.
Chad Bumphis blocked a punt in the end zone during special teams work.
Bumphis has obviously been making strides during OTAs and looks to be impressing those around him. At worst, he can be kept on the practice squad this season.
Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace
The most important headline going into OTAs was how well and how long would it take for Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace to get along.
It hasn't taken that long.
John Congemi of The Finsiders analyzed the relationships between the two:
It’s hard to hide talent and both quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace have plenty. There were flashes where it started to show on the practice field and that was terrific to see. Not only were they able to connect on the field, but it’s always a good sign to see the verbal communication after the play or in-between drills. This is a combination that can build into something great for years to come, and today was another step towards reaching their goals!
If Tannehill and Wallace are able to click early on, the Dolphins offense will be exponentially better than it was last year. They are the key to the offense and it's up to them to get everybody else going.