You’d think that a year after dropping $100 million on receivers, the Dolphins would be set for awhile at the position, but in the 2014 NFL draft, they added two receivers to an already solid group.
But was it really a solid group?
Looking deeper at the individuals that former general manager Jeff Ireland splurged on, we can see the flaws of the 2013 major contributors.
Star Mike Wallace showed that he isn’t a dominant No. 1 receiver, as he doesn’t like to fight for jump balls.
Brian Hartline continues to be the model of consistency, but is a receiver who wins with precise underneath routes really worth around $6 million per year?
And Brandon Gibson, who ended the season on injured reserve, looked solid in his first season with the team. But is he healthy, or is the recent talk of him being ahead of schedule just agent talk?
The real truth is that the 2013 receiving group was solid, but inconsistent, and it wasn’t entirely its fault for being average.
With an offensive line that allowed just 2.62 seconds, per PFF (subscription required), for its quarterback to throw the ball, the receivers didn’t have much ability to get open.
Wallace, after an offseason dedicated to improving his chemistry with Tannehill, should play much better in 2014.
Hartline will be pushed by incoming rookie Jarvis Landry, from LSU, but will continue to be a solid receiver serving as a safety net.
Oh, and Landry, don’t be surprised if he takes Gibson’s slot position in training camp. With excellent hands and toughness, Landry is poised to become a favorite of fans, coaches and his quarterback.
Also, don’t sleep on fellow rookie Matt Hazel, or returning receiver Rishard Matthews. They’re similar players, but they're able to make a difference in 2014 with their polished games.
As for Gibson, he could be the odd man out if his knee isn’t fully healed. Miami can cut him anytime and rely on a cheaper, healthier rookie.
This offseason has shown that head coach Joe Philbin wants to build his receiver core like Green Bay, who has a number of similar skill set players who have good hands and run precise routes. With a timing-based offense, having such players is critical to success.
Overall, receiver is a deep position for Miami that should benefit from a better running game and offensive line play in 2014.