Hello out there in Phinsider Land,
I know, I have been MIA (pun intended). The football off season is a busy time here in Orlando filled with all the lovely summer tourists. Regardless I have been following along this week and was lurking during OTA's. There are a couple of guys on our roster that if they keep improving are bound to breakout this year. At least on the level that the average Dolphins fan will know their name.
First up on my list is Julius Pruitt, WR. This guys name has been everywhere this off season. He had a good showing at OTA's and his training camp thus far has featured multiple touchdown receptions. And at least one TD from every QB. These are all good signs. But the thing that I have keyed into is the fact that the other players are talking about him. The D-backs are talking about him, the other wideouts are talking about him, and even the QB's, when they aren't being asked about the QB battle for the nine-millionth time. My hope is to see him in on more 4 receiver sets. I think Julius has elite speed and dependable hands and if he can excel in a fast paced mentally cerebral offense he is a diamond in the rough about to shine through.
Switching sides of the ball real quick to my second player is defensive end Jared Odrick. DE in 3-4 and different than a DE in a 4-3. And I know Odrick played DT at Penn State, weighing in currently at 304 he is larger than the prototype 4-3 Defensive End. But what do we know about Jared Odrick, so far we know he can penetrate the backfield and stuff the run, he can create pressure from the interior. On a line that features guys like Big Paul Soliali and Cameron Wake not to mention Randy Starks who is no slouch himself, who do you double team? I see a great opportunity here for Odrick to break out in his 3rd year which is typical of when players start to light it up, especially first round draft picks.
The third player I really have my eye on for this upcoming season is Safety Reshad Jones. Another of Ireland's 2010 draft class is poised to breakout this year. Reshad got to start last year and it is a position he intends to keep. He is the play making ball hawk type of safety that should explode in Kevin Coyle's defensive scheme feature dual free safeties. One of those FS's is out there to be the ball hawk and one has got to be your solid over the top coverage man. Reshad we know which one of those you intend to be, let us hope to find the second type and quickly. If we can find anything decent out of the other safeties Reshad Jones should have a star-powered 3rd year.
Back on Offense for my fourth break out player prediction Charles Clay. Already nicknamed here on The Phinsider as "The Clay-maker" Charles Clay is undoubtedly one of the most versatile players on our offense. Last year he was labeled a Full Back. This year, who knows? Philbin has mentioned Clay more than once and I see that as a great sign because the thing Philbin prizes most in his players is versatility. Line him up at TE, FB, split him out wide in the back field. Clay is capable of doing it, and now is his time to shine as long as he can master the play book and know exactly where he needs to be at all times.
And last but not least is RB Daniel Thomas. He put up some decent numbers last year coupled with a Hamstring injury that is now worked out, 585 Yards on 165 attempts. Having a full training camp this year should do wonders for Thomas even though critics would say that Running Back is the easiest skill position to transition into the NFL. However, playing in South Florida heat is a special type of conditioning (We need to bring back the September 1 pm games). Thomas has the talent to be the downhill rumble and breakthrough back, we just need to stop waiting for the reincarnation of Ricky Williams. Thomas is a talented back and will be very good for our team, I just see too many people who want him to be Ricky. He is however an extremely talented complimentary back.
Again, this isn't a list of who I think our best players are but more of a "who is going to take the next step" list. I can say relative certainty we will see good years from WR's Devon Bess and Brian Heartline, RB Reggie Bush, whomever the Quarterback is...(My money is on Garrard). Defensively, the front seven is very solid and could be the the strongest part of our unit, Wake Soliai, Starks, Odrick, Burnett, Dansby, Misi. Our CB's should do well, it is about time Davis and Smith tighten up at the same time and adding Richard Marshall as our nickle back. Who do you think is going to break out this year? Or do you think I am nuts?