Miami Dolphins: Full Position Breakdown & Depth Chart Analysis at Wide Receiver
The Miami Dolphins' wide receiver depth chart has a long list of names, and the competition for roster spots will be fierce once training camp begins.
Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline will remain the two constants at the top of the depth chart, but there is plenty of uncertainty on where everyone else will slot in after them.
Jarvis Landry is the biggest new face on the team after getting drafted in the second round, and he will likely be competing with Brandon Gibson for the role of slot receiver.
However, that won't be the only battle going on, as Rishard Matthews, Armon Binns, Matt Hazel, Stephen Williams and Damian Williams will all be fighting for just a couple of spots on the 53-man roster.
Let's take a look at each of these players, going through how they all fit in with the team and analyzing where they stand on the depth chart with training camp right around the corner.
9. Damian Williams
The Dolphins signed Williams to a one-year, $800,000 contract early in free agency to bring him in for depth at the position.
The 26-year-old was drafted in the third round by the Tennessee Titans in 2010 and is coming off one of the worst seasons in his career.
In 10 games, Williams caught a career-low 15 passes for 178 yards and no touchdowns.
Despite having some size at 6'1" and 190 pounds, Williams likely won't serve much of a role with the Dolphins other than being depth during training camp.
Although he is capable of being a solid weapon—as he showed in 2011 when he hauled in 45 passes for 592 yards and five scores—he simply isn't explosive or reliable enough to win a spot on the active roster.
8. Stephen Williams
Despite playing in just 19 games in his four-year career, Stephen Williams has one intriguing quality about him: size.
At 6'5" and 208 pounds, Williams towers over every other Dolphins receiver and has the potential to possibly develop into a dangerous red-zone weapon.
The problem is that he has simply never done it before.
In that time, he has caught a grand total of nine passes for 101 yards, all of which came as a rookie with the Cardinals.
It's certainly possible that Williams can somehow find a way to use some of his untapped potential and win a slot on the 53-man roster.
However, the much more likely scenario is that he ends up getting cut prior to the start of the season.
7. Matt Hazel
The No. 190 overall pick for the Dolphins, Matt Hazel appears destined for a redshirt year in 2014.
Much like some of the other receivers they have, Hazel is a sure-handed weapon who runs very solid routes.
At 6'1" and 198 pounds, he has the potential to develop into a reliable possession receiver, but he isn't very fast or explosive and likely won't be thrust into action early on.
He also needs to get stronger, as he currently plays with too much finesse in his game, which will likely translate to him getting muscled at the line of scrimmage at the next level.
If a player were to go down with an injury during training camp, it's possible Hazel can sneak on as the No. 6 receiver.
However, in all likelihood, he will be spending the majority of this season on the practice squad.
6. Armon Binns
At 6'3" and 211 pounds, Armon Binns may have the highest potential out of any Dolphins receiver.
The 24-year-old was playing very well during training camp last season and appeared destined to not only make the roster, but earn a significant role with the team as well.
However, those plans came to a crashing end when Binns tore his ACL and MCL, forcing him to spend his entire 2013 season on injured reserve.
Despite being cleared to practice with the team, Binns is at a disadvantage, as he's still trying to work off his rust and get his knee back to 100 percent.
With that said, there is just far too much upside to ignore.
Providing he can show improvements and prove that he's fully recovered in training camp, expect Binns to make the 53-man roster.
After all, the Dolphins already have a number of reliable options in Jarvis Landry, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, so it would make sense for the team to give Binns the final roster spot and hope he can develop and flourish.
5. Rishard Matthews
Aside from a breakout performance against Tampa Bay in Week 10, it was a relatively quiet 2013 season for Rishard Matthews.
The second-year player caught a total of 41 passes for 448 yards and two touchdowns, although he improved greatly from the season he had in 2012.
However, it was the game against the Buccaneers that made most fans excited about the potential of the former seventh-round pick.
In that game, Matthews caught 11 of 14 passes thrown his way for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Overall, the 6'0", 212-pound receiver took a nice step forward last season, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue that development this year.
Unless he gets injured, it's tough to imagine him not making the team.
However, unless he can really impress and show improvement, it's also tough to imagine him getting much playing time with four receivers clearly ahead of him on the depth chart.
4. Brandon Gibson
Prior to going down with a knee injury against the Patriots in Week 8 last year, Brandon Gibson proved to be a very dependable wide receiver for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Gibson hauled in 30 of his 43 targets (69.8 percent) for 326 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came in the two games before his injury.
He also led the team in touchdowns and was second in both receptions and yards before tearing his patella tendon and being placed on injured reserve.
The injury not only derailed his 2013 season, but it's already affecting him in 2014 as well.
Seven months after his injury, Gibson has still not fully recovered and has yet to be cleared to work with the team in practice, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
While his spot on the team appears to be secure, he is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to his slot receiver battle with Jarvis Landry.
Unless the rookie struggles in training camp or Gibson can shake off any rust with a strong showing, he will likely enter the season as the team's No. 4 receiver.
3. Jarvis Landry
It shouldn't take very long for Jarvis Landry to become a favorite target of Tannehill.
The 6'0", 205-pound rookie out of LSU is an extremely sure-handed weapon that is capable of playing both inside and outside.
Last season, Landry hauled in 73 percent of the passes thrown his way from quarterback Zach Mettenberger, dropping just one while catching 77, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
As mentioned in the last slide, he will likely have the leg up on Gibson in the battle to be the full-time slot receiver, and there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to hang on to the role all season.
2. Brian Hartline
The steady Hartline continued to be a very reliable weapon for Tannehill in 2013.
Hartline caught 76 passes and went over 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight year while also scoring four touchdowns.
He led the team in targets for the second straight year as well, getting 127 passes thrown his way.
While he likely won't get that many targets in 2014 with the team going with a more spread-out offense, there's no question that Hartline will continue to be one of Tannehill's go-to options.
1. Mike Wallace
It seems clear early on that new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has big plans for Mike Wallace in 2014.
After recording just 73 catches, 930 yards and a career-low five touchdowns last year, Wallace is expected to be a focus of the team's offense this time around.
Mike Sherman was woefully uncreative with Wallace last season, lining him up on the right side the majority of the time while very rarely putting him in motion.
That should change in 2014 with Lazor expected to move Wallace all over the field, hoping to put him in the best position to get the ball in open space.
Wallace is the clear top weapon on this offense, and it's safe to say that a big season could be on the horizon for him.
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