There is no doubt that the Miami Dolphins search for a receiver has not exactly come up roses the past few years. In fact, looking for a speedster, deep threat has been all but difficult considering the lack of production gained from players such as Clyde Gates and every other receiver who has not exactly panned out after camp tryouts.
While productive speed has largely eluded the Dolphins at the receiver position, it seems that this year, the Dolphins have many options with 5 draft picks in the first three rounds. Day one could be an awesome draft scene in the war room in Davie as the Dolphins use their first pick to select they ultimate go-to threat for Ryan Tannehill entering his second season.
Here is a look at some draft prospects that deserve a look-see and could certainly wind up donning the aqua and orange with the new logo:
1. Tavon Austin: There is not a doubt in my mind, that this guy is dynamic. When he touches the ball he flies, especially on turf. This statistic is important since the Dolphins have the only grass surface in the division. Everyone else has turf. If the Dolphins want to be road warriors, then find a burner who will take it to the house in space. Grant it, Austin’s measurables are not ideal for a passer like Tannehill who sometimes has trouble throwing to his targets. Austin’s combine numbers were spectacular in that he ran a 4.34 40 official time, caught the ball well in the gauntlet drill, and showed that he was the best guy at the combine with a 4.01 20 yard shuttle run. However, Austin might be a reach at this point, but his pro-day is upcoming and he could be moving up the draft board with another big showing in Morgantown. If there was a can’t miss guy, this is a guy that some draft pundits feel might be better and faster than DeSean Jackson. Afterall, he has Omar Kelly's endorsement and that is a rareity for Omar Kelly.
2. Ryan Swope: A Texas A&M Aggie like Tannehill, Swope could be one of those guys that moves up the boards maybe into the third or second round. His run time in the 40 was impressive again at a sub 4.4 40 yard dash and claimed to have a great rapport with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Swope in college caught 72 passes for 913 yards in a new “Air Raid” offense under coach Kevin Sumlin. Swope could be a possible fit given his comfort with Ryan Tannehill and quite possibly with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. His height at 6 feet, make him acandidate for a deep threat if a team chooses to use him that way.
3. Kenny Stills: At Oklahoma last season, Stills had kind of a down year, but still posted similar numbers to Swope. Running a 4.38 is still lighting quick and surely deserves mention. Stills stands at exactly 6 feet tall and has bigger hands for his size at 9 inches. He could be a deep threat that teams like the Dolphins might be after late in the draft. Could be a fourth round or even a third round pick. His pro day at Oklahoma will reveal plenty and I would expect the Dolphins to look at him as a possibility.
4. Cordarelle Patterson: While only playing one season at Tennesee, Patterson boasted decent numbers, but has the size and speed to compete in the NFL. Is he worthy of a top 10 or top 15 pick, only time will tell and it will be dependent on any character issues (JUCO player) and his raw ability appearing something that will develop into that big receiver mold. Patterson ran a 4.42 which is great for a receiver when the industry standard is a 4.5. However, Patterson’s lack of experience and numbers in college may not seem explosive enough for some GMs with only 46 catches and 778 yards and 5 TDs. If the Dolphins are looking for a big receiver that can make red-zone catches he might be their guy…unless Buffalo and the Jets pounce on him first.
Other receivers to consider based on speed alone:
5. Josh Boyce: TCU 4.38 40 yard dash, more of a last round possibility.
6. Keenan Allen: Did not participate due to an injury, but will be ready for Cal’s pro-day and may be a reach in the first round, but some team will draft him. He could move to the top fifteen with a sensational workout for scouts and therefore shoot up the draft boards! Could be on the Dolphins draft boards as well.
7. Dennard Robinson, Michigan: Could be a hidden gem as a slot receiver after playing quarterback at Michigan. I am not saying go the Pat White route, but he definitely has more experience as skill player at wide-out. Might be more of a Brad Smith skill set or Antwaan Randle El. A homecoming to South Florida could be possible since Robinson is from Deerfield Beach.
As far as the draft goes, the Dolphins have to hit on a big time-big play-fast receiver to give Ryan Tannehill one more weapon and one more threat that the other division foes do not have. If free-agency comes up dry, then the Dolphins must draft for speed, agility, and play-making ability. Personally if I had the pick, I'd take two receivers in the first two rounds. I am a big fan of not only finding talent in the draft, but developing that talent into a force on Sundays.