The Dolphins drafted LSU receiver Jarvis Landry with a second-round draft pick and would later select Coastal Carolina receiver Matt Hazel with a sixth-round draft pick.
At the current moment, the Dolphins have 11 wide receivers on the roster. Six of those receivers are NFL veterans with playing experience.
Entering the offseason, Miami had five receivers with veteran experience on the roster. This included Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews and Armon Binns. The Dolphins added a sixth veteran receiver to that group with the free agent signing of former Tennessee Titans receiver Damian Williams.
Following the high draft selection of Landry and the late pick of Hazel, the Dolphins’ brass illustrated that they weren’t confident in the current set of receivers at all.
Despite the fact that Wallace, Hartline and Gibson all signed contracts with the franchise for a collective total of nearly $100 million during the 2013 offseason, the franchise felt the need to upgrade what was previously thought to be a strong position on the roster.
Entering minicamp it is an toss-up as to how the Dolphins’ receiving situation will develop as the NFL season draws near. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill won’t have a shortage of targets to throw to in 2014, as the organization hopes Tannehill takes that next step into becoming a true franchise quarterback.
There won’t be any excuses for Tannehill during the 2014 season, as the organization has stockpiled more than a handful of trustworthy targets for the third-year quarterback.
Landry looks like a prototypical slot receiver. At 5’11” and 205 pounds, Landry provides Miami with physicality and reliability. The question becomes, what happens to Gibson and Matthews if Landry is to emerge as Miami’s slot receiver in 2014? Both Gibson and Matthews proved to be reliable targets in the slot role, but with Landry being drafted in the second round, he’s a definite lock to make the roster.
Hazel is a developmental prospect who will push both Matthews and Binns for a roster spot in 2014. He possesses the ability to play both in the slot and on the outside. Whether or not he makes the roster will likely come down to how Hazel contributes on special teams.
The Dolphins did address several other positions through the 2014 NFL Draft including offensive line, but the biggest and most unexpected surprise were the additions of Landry and Hazel.
The franchise illustrated that they weren’t confident in their current set of receivers over the weekend by selecting Landry and Hazel. As training camp and the preseason develops, we’ll find out how the depth chart looks at wide receiver and just which receivers end up emerging as the organization’s favorites.