Many of you here didn’t really value the services of one Allen Hurns, and maybe I’m on the side of overrating him, but Hurns was on target to be the starter opposite DeVante Parker at least into training camp. If Preston Williams proved he was healthy and battle ready then it’s possible Hurns slipped down the depth chart as he was replaced by the younger, more explosive Williams. IN any case, Hurns was a veteran receiver with AFC experience and one that thrived playing opposite a very talented receiver in Allen Robinson in Jacksonville. Never as much of a big play threat as Robinson, Hurns was a steady, reliable , professional possession receiver. Albert Wilson looked like he was almost all the way back last season, especially towards the end of the season. The last 3 games he caught 17 passes which is nearly half of his season’s production of 41 receptions. He had the lowest YPC average of his career at 8.1 and only one TD but the hip injury that cut his 2019 season short really took its toll on the receiver as he finally worked his way back. I do recall seeing a couple of plays at the end of the year where his explosiveness resembled the player of 2019 where he was turning nothing into something big routinely.
Before the opt outs, I felt like we had a very strong WR room with serious depth and a nice mix of youth and veterans. Parker is 27, Wilson 28 and Allen Hurns 28, along with young up and comers like Preston Williams (23), Gary Jennings (23), Isaiah Ford (24), Malcolm Perry (23) and Jakeem Grant who is now 27. If Preston Williams is ready he takes Hurns spot on the outside opposite Parker. Which receiver or receivers get to thrive in the slot? Jakeem Grant will be in the running as will Gary Jennings and 7th RD draftee Malcolm Perry. Grant has the speed and explosiveness Wilson had but not the size, Grant (5’6 171) is about 25 lbs lighter and doesn’t have the run power to break tackles like Wilson did. Gary Jennings is a little less speedy and explosive but has good size at 6’1 216. Jennings ran a 4.42 at the combine and put up 20 reps so he has some upper body strength. Malcolm Perry is closest size wise and elusiveness to Wilson but doesn’t have the top speed that Wilson had. Perry ran 4.63 40 at the combine. If you watch Perry play though, he always looks fast enough and is a very slippery runner. The Dolphins signed Colts WR Chester Rogers to a 1YR deal which deepens the depth a little. Rogers caught 53 passes in 2018, just 16 last year playing behind WR Zach Pascal.
The biggest concern I have about our WR’s, or really any unit on our team is the depth. If we’ve learned anything by watching MLB, NBA or NHL in 2020 in the year of COVID-19 is that players drop like flies. One second they’re on the team and the next they’re on COVID-19 protocol. Add in the usual NFL injuries, especially considering this year with a huge lack of practices and no preseason games and you will likely see how important good depth will be. I’d even question whether the league will be able to play a full season. We’re going to have to count on a bunch of our deeper depth players this season and I hope we get them all ready for action. When Chan Gailey was with the Jets in 2015-2016, he utilized Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker mostly, with a decent amount of passing to the RB’s Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. In 2016 Decker was gone after 3 games and replaced by Quincy Enunwa and the offense didn’t really feature a slot WR much. Robby Anderson provided the deep threat on the outside and again, the RB’s, now Matt Forte and Bilal Powell caught a bunch of passes. Jordan Howard isn’t much of a pass catcher but Matt Breida is a good receiver out of the backfield who was stifled by playing time in a 3 headed attack in SF with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman and also CJ Beathard. Malcolm Perry may also get some use out of the backfield and Kalen Ballage was thought to be a good receiver although he didn’t get to show any of those skills here in MIA. Patrick Laird and Kenyan Drake caught the most passes at RB. In any case, one thing we’ll probably have to get used to in 2020 is NEXT MAN UP . . .