Miami Dolphins: Training Camp Surprises

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins have started training camp as many players look to make a name for themselves. As always there are players who are standing out and others not so much. Even though the team has only had full pads on for a couple of days, some players have stood out. Here are five players who have been training camp surprises for the Miami Dolphins.

Brennan Scarlett

Scarlett has been the biggest training camp surprises for the Dolphins. He was brought in this past offseason to help bolster our edge playing. With the injuries to Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel, Scarlett has been playing on the first team. On the first team, Scarlett has turned quite a few heads. On the first day of padded practice Scarlett did a nice job of setting the edge. The following day, Scarlett had a whopping three sacks. with this being his first year with the team, Scarlett is defiantly making the most of his opportunities this offseason. It will be interesting to see if he can carve out a role for himself during the season.

Scarlett was one of Omar Kelly’s top performers for day two of padded practice.

Albert Wilson

Would this list even be accurate without Wilson? Wilson has undoubtedly been the biggest training camp surprise for the Dolphins. This is not because of how well he has played, but how consistently well he as played. It seems like almost every practice Wilson is making a huge play. Dolphins beat writer, Omar Kelly, said that he has never seen a player practice this well for this long.

Tua throws a dot to Wilson who takes it all the way to the house.

Wilson is coming off of an opt out year due to COVID-19. During that time off he rehabbed his hip injury that occurred in 2019. He is now back to his 2018 form and is giving all of our corners a tough time. Wilson’s and Tua Tagovailoa’s already is very impressive. If Wilson can keep this up, expect Wilson to have a career year.

Nik Needham

Signed by Miami as a 2019 UDFA, Needham has shown flashes of his potential. His rookie year was better than expected but unfortunately took a step back in 2020. With Xavien Howard currently out with an ankle injury, Needham has taken a majority of the starting snaps. So far in camp, Needham has been one on one with Miami’s fastest players: Jaylan Waddle and Jakeem Grant. And to Needham’s credit he is holding his own.

Needham makes a good play against rookie Jaylan Waddle and Travis Wingfield praises him.

If Howard is still absent from practice expect Needham to show coaches that he deserves to at least get playing time and hold down that starting spot (at least until X is back). Expect Needham to keep showing out during camp and preseason.

Kirk Merritt

Merritt was an UDFA last season and immediately became a fan favorite. This is because of his insane athletic ability. During his pro day Merritt ran a 4.33 forty yard dash and in a video Merritt had a standing jump of 62″. During his one season at Arkansas State, Merritt was one of the top receivers in the nation and had 83 catches for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns. Due to off the field concerns, he was an UDFA and due to COVID-19 he had little to no offseason practice. This causes an uphill battle to make the team and eventually made the practice squad.

This year Merritt is taking advantage of the offseason and showing off. He has became quarterback Reid Sinnett’s favorite target. Merritt has worked with the second and first team as well and is moving up the depth chart rather quickly. With receivers Devante Parker, Preston Williams, and Will Fuller all out, Merritt is making a name for himself. If Merritt has a strong preseason expect the Dolphins to find a spot on the roster for him.

Merritt makes a leaping catch for a touchdown during training camp.

Tua Tagovailoa

Out of all the Dolphins training camp surprises, Tua has to be the most enjoyable. From having five interceptions in one day during OTA’s to only throwing two within the first seven practices, Tua is finally showing his swagger. Last year Tua was rehabbing from his hip injury which made it hard to fully concentrate on the team. Like Merritt, Tua also had very little off-season practice which made it harder to build chemistry with his teammates. Now a healthy and confident Tua seems to be blowing away everyone’s expectations.

So far in training camp Tua has been throwing the ball deep regularly and accurately, something we saw very little of last year. Not only is he receiving rave reviews from the beat writers, but his fellow teammates as well. His teammates are impressed with how Tua’s leadership skills have improved. If Tua keeps playing out of his mind, expect the Dolphins to be a very successful this season and beyond.

Baker explains the difference of Tua from last year to this year.

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