Let’s continue our look back on the season that was by ranking the top 20 Miami Dolphins of the 2013 campaign. The newest addition to the list can be seen below.
No. 20: Rishard Matthews, wide receiver
No. 19: Brandon Gibson, wide receiver
Receiving yards: 326
Pro Football Focus breakdown
Position rank: 38 of 216
Snaps played: 255
Dropped passes: 3
Why he’s No. 20
Many were skeptical of the decision to trade away Davone Bess after the team signed Gibson to play the slot. Bess was a fan favorite and historically the more productive receiver. Gibson quickly proved his doubters wrong, however, catching 30 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns before suffering a devastating knee injury in Week 8. He was able to develop a strong continuity with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and the two connected on several key third-down conversions before the injury. In fact, Gibson was on pace to produce over 850 receiving yards through the first six games before going down in Week 8, which would have been quite the impressive stat line for a slot receiver. Rishard Matthews filled in nicely in the slot after Gibson was placed on injured reserve, but the drop off in production was still noticeable.
Why he’s not higher
The injury obviously hurts. Gibson wasn’t around when the Dolphins needed him the most which wasn’t his fault but still lowers his standing on this list. When he was healthy, he wasn’t always sure-handed. Gibson dropped three passes in the six full games he played in, which was three times as many as his replacement dropped in less than half of the snaps. Speaking of Matthews, the former seventh-round pick could be deemed a more affordable long-term solution in the slot with a $570,000 price tag in 2014 compared to the $2.7 million Gibson is owed next season.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.