The Miami Dolphins are heading into one of the most pivotal off-seasons in quite some time. 2022 was a step in the right direction, but going into what is likely year two of Miami’s three-year Super Bowl window, the time is now to fill their remaining needs.
Throughout last season, the needs were obvious: linebacker, offensive line, tight end, and some secondary depth.
While each of those will need to be filled this spring to reach the next level, there is another position that could use some help: Wide receiver.
At first glance, that idea makes no sense. Miami has arguably the best receiving duo in the league in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. They also spent capital on Cedrick Wilson, Erik Ezukanma, and Trent Sherfield. The group looks deep, but there’s a role that must be filled. That role being the versatile possession receiver who can be used in either the slot or in contested catch situations downfield.
Sure, Sherfield did a fine job there in spurts, but it was clear that he was never the long-term solution. Miami went out of their way to draft Erik Ezukanma, whose skillset was acquired to complement Waddle and Hill.
On The Roster
Ezukanma is clearly the wild card here. He only appeared in one game all season, which is a bit concerning for someone who looks to step into a big role. It was clear in college that his tape matched what Miami was looking for. However, they opted not to play him until Week 18.
If he can elevate his game into someone who is not only a contributor, but a plus player, then this conversation goes out the window. However, if he doesn’t, Miami maintains this need for a versatile receiver with a knack for contested catch situations.
This need is even more prevalent if Miami loses Mike Gesicki. Miami’s number one tight end and jump ball threat has likely played his last snap as a Dolphin after posting some of the lowest numbers of his career. This leaves little to no options for jump ball opportunities, as well as a void as a big slot. When you really look at it, it becomes obvious this has to be on the Miami Dolphins’ list of roster needs heading into the offseason.
Miami will have options when it comes to filling this void, although they may be limited. The free agency pool is barren at receiver, and with Miami already spending big money last year, they may opt out this time around.
The first is staying pat. Miami clearly had faith in the aforementioned Ezukanma when he was drafted, and the athletic profile is there.
The Rookie Route
However, if they feel they need another draft pick to fill the role, there are several intriguing options. Xavier Hutchinson of Iowa State was at the Senior Bowl, and combines the size and technique needed to play both outside and inside as a big slot.
Purdue’s Charlie Jones is also intriguing. Another natural fit in the slot, who also has hands made of glue. On top of that, he is expected to run in the 4.3 second range in the 40-yard dash. This would be an added bonus to Miami’s already fast offense.
Even later on in the NFL draft, Puka Nacua from BYU is certainly intriguing. His 6’1″ 210 pound frame is certainly big enough for the slot and his knack for finding soft spots in zones could be crucial in this offense.
The bottom line is this isn’t the Miami Dolphins’ number one need. If you were to list them out by position, it may not even be top five. Despite this, it’s needs like these that Super Bowl teams iron out. The future of the big slot may already be on the roster, or it may be filled this off-season. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Miami addresses it.