The Miami Dolphins dedicated this offseason to revamping their offense, after going 10-6 behind the 4th ranked scoring defense.
Adding playmakers in Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle, they hoped to improve a receiving core that had already Red-Zone threats DeVante Parker and Preston Williams.
But with the overwhelming amount of weapons, there is one player that isn’t being mentioned enough:
Wide Receiver Mack Hollins.
After being drafted in 2017 by the Eagles, Hollins was looked at as a mix of size and athleticism. But even with his raw talent, he received very little playing time, only logging 22 targets while being behind Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, and Alshon Jeffery on the depth chart.
The following year, Hollins looked to take the next step, honing in on his technique and skills at the next level. But as he looked for an increased role, tragedy struck, as he suffered a groin injury that knocked him out for the whole 2018 season.
This would start the downward trajectory for his time with the Eagles. He only saw 22 targets in 2019 with them and was waived on December 3rd, 2019.
Picked Up Off Waivers
Following being cut, Miami claimed Mack Hollins off of waivers. Looking for someone to fill a role on special teams and offense (due to several injuries), they figured the 26 year old was their guy.
While Hollins only had 1 target in 4 games, the little things were where he shined. Crucial to the blocking and kicking game, he excelled in acting as another big body in run sets while being a highly effective gunner.
With head coach Brian Flores’ roots in special teams, his affinity for high effort players spread to Hollins, who showed the skill and willingness to move around that this team desperately needed.
Hollins’ second season with Miami is where his impact was truly recognized. He remained the an ace on special teams, making several key plays. But his role as a receiver and a blocker continued to expand.
With injuries to key contributors such as Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, and Preston Williams, Hollins elevated up the depth chart and played a few games as the number one receiver. In those games, he put up solid numbers, including a game against the Chiefs where he hauled in 5 catches for 66 yards.
He also had his fair share of big plays. Notably, the infamous Hail Mary pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to keep the Dolphins playoff hopes alive.
On top of the receiving production, he was moved around a lot on offense. One of his roles consisted of him moving in line to run block – much like a TE. He consistently played any role asked of him and became a “glue guy” both on and off of the field.
Hollins’ improvement and continued success on special teams as well as offense led to him receiving a 1 year contract extension on last March.
Training Camp and Preseason
Coming into this season, Hollins’ role on the team was in question. Having newcomers in Waddle and Fuller with Wilson returning after opting out, Hollins looked to be on the bubble. An improvement in the passing game looked necessary for his future.
But throughout camp, that’s exactly what happened. With more injuries to Miami’s starting receivers, Hollins stepped in and delivered, showing a more of the chemistry that flashed with Tua Tagovailoa last year. Tua and Mack connected on plenty of big plays throughout camp, and kept their connection strong in the preseason.
Through 2 preseason games, Hollins had 6 receptions for 69 yards, including several crucial first downs to keep drives alive. Without Parker or Fuller, Mack Hollins showed the ability to compliment Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki as an X reciever.
But his improvement wasn’t just at receiver, Hollins work on and off the field led to him being the only captain on the field for coin tosses against the Falcons and Bengals.
Flores and Tagovailoa clearly are both impressed with Hollins, leading to his promotion and continued success on the field. His role should grow this season. In his limited opportunity, he has continued to show high effort and character, with notable improvement as a receiver. Coming from someone who struggled to get playing time, Hollins will be hard to keep off the field in 2021.
Hollins’ story has been one of adversity, but his continued improvement and dedication will be crucial with his future in Miami. It will be exciting to watch how he performs this season and beyond as his role continues to grow.
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