2011 NFL Draft: How WR Edmond Gates Fits into Miami Dolphins' Future

Carlos SandovalAnalyst IIIMay 5, 2011

WR Edmond Gates
WR Edmond Gates

So previously, I broke down how center Mike Pouncey and running back Daniel Thomas would be relevant to the Miami Dolphins' future. 

Of course, the selection of those two sound picks made the Dolphins' draft not too shabby overall. They added some key offensive weapons following a season of offensive futility. 

But there's one pick the Dolphins made that could make the difference between Miami having a "good" draft day, and a "spectacular" one. That, of course, is wide-out Edmond Gates from Abilene Christian University, selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft. 

It shows that there's a general consensus as to the weaknesses the Dolphins have—any major problem they had last season, had to do with their inability to put six points on the board, as they seriously couldn't find the end zone, pissing off millions of DolFans in the process. 

Part of that has to do with the Dolphins' lack of real depth at receiver. Sure, Davone Bess and Brandon Marshall are both viable options at wide-out. But neither is going to scare the opposing defenses into covering deep throws to the right of the field, and the opposing secondary can start to shrink in and key in on the running game. 

If Edmond Gates' ridiculous speed is utilized correctly? Problem solved. 

Because, no joke, this kid can freaking run.

I've never seen this kid play extensively—he's from little-known Abilene Christian, so he isn't exactly a household name. But from what I've seen, the Wildcats used Gates' speed off a bunch of screens, relying on his freakish acceleration and straight-line velocity to beat defenders, and break-through for huge yardage. However, dude can play the deep ball and definitely has the hands for it.

That makes for a damn versatile pick.

Because if the Dolphins want to get better offensively, they want to keep the defense on its toes—every team pretty much knew the Dolphins planned to pound the ball down the middle, and the secondary vacuums in anticipation. It worked because, well, the Fins' passing game just sucked.

But if Gates can be used to scare the secondary a bit, he can also get free for some occasional screens and catch the defense expecting big-yardage plays, failing to cover the short-gain pass.

Oh, and if Gates can become a deep-ball threat? Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess can continue to do what they do best—torch the opposition on under-20-yard pass plays, giving Chad Henne a hell of a lot of freedom, something many DolFans felt like he should have been given a long time ago; if those fans are right, then Henne could be hooking up a lot with Gates, thanks to his arm.

Of course, this can go the other way—Gates' speed may not translate to "viable" status in the NFL, where the degree of difficulty shoots up. If Gates can't run NFL routes as well as he should, then his speed won't mean much. Additionally, if head coach Tony Sparano decides to consistently use Gates as a mid-range check-down threat, things could get bad, and Gates may not be a solid pick in the fourth round, after all. 

I really, really like this pick, conditionally, depending on how Gates is utilized. What say you?

Carlos Sandoval is co-host of weekly NFL podcast, The Pigeon Toe. You can check out their latest episode here, or follow him on Twitter @CarloshSandoval.