The Miami Dolphins have revamped their tight-end situation as OUT is longtime ‘Phin Anthony Fasano (now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs) and IN are free-agent Dustin Keller and fourth-round NFL draft pick Dion Sims (no. 106 overall). Keller has me very excited as he has always been a threat in the passing game, and he says we have not seen anything yet so he is anticipating a big season (he needs one, especially considering he inked just a one-year deal with the Dolphins so he is playing for a contract). Keller does not excel as a blocker, so it was thought the team would look to draft a tight end that could run-block (plus help with pass-blocking occasionally). Enter Sims out of Michigan State.
The 6’5 270-pounder is a very good athlete who was a football and basketball star growing up. In football, he was even a terrific linebacker, but he chose to become a pro tight end and ‘Phins phans will reap the benefits of that from here on in.
At just 22 years young, this guy already has legit strength (especially upper body) and has shown an ability in the past to be a Joe Philbin kind of player as he has played through broken bones and brings toughness to the table. Sims is already the best blocking TE on the roster which is sure to earn him more playing time than a rookie tight end may normally get.
As a pass-catcher, Sims has good instincts in-route. He is able to make adjustments to what the defense is doing, and his athletic ability allows for completion on passes that are not perfectly on-target. I do think that Keller has more receiving skills than Sims, but the rookie can/will produce in the passing game (especially as a guy who is a bulldog after the catch – tough to bring down).
Miami has a second-season quarterback, (Ryan Tannehill) and a second-year running back (Lamar Miller) plus a rookie RB (Mike Gillislee … article on Gillislee is HERE) so the offensive-line (plus of course the TE spot) has to be very effective in protection and in opening holes for big plays. This is where Sims can really shine. He is a guy who is not only good at blocking, but he also seems to enjoy it. Sims is a guy who wants to initiate contact, who wants to be physical and who wants to finish his (solid) block.
With Keller on a one-year deal, it is easy for me to think that Sims is the guy being looked at as the TE going forward. I do think Keller will earn a ton of playing time, but Sims will see his fair share too. Tight end coach Dan Campbell has had issues developing guys like Charles Clay and Michael Egnew at the TE position, but I think Sims provides significantly more talent to work with.