We are currently making our way through the Miami Dolphins' 90-man offseason roster, breaking down last season for each player, as well as what could happen this year. Today, we continue today with a look at wide receiver Rishard Matthews.
(Photo courtesy Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)
Previous Roster Breakdowns: Chad Bumphis Marcus Thigpen Aaron Corp Jonathan Freeny Jordan Kovacs Dion Jordan Chris Burnette Josh Samuda Brian Thomas Keelan Johnson Jeff Fuller Jamar Taylor Michael Egnew Vaughn Martin Michael Clay
Matthews was the Dolphins' seventh round pick in the 2012 Draft, and surprised everyone by actually making the 53 man roster. He was deep on the depth chart, but through hard work, good route running, and injuries to other players, Matthews worked his way up to seeing action in eight games.
Matthews is crisp in his routes, and catches the ball in stride, allowing him to continue to run at speed and pick up extra yardage. He can be jammed at the line of scrimmage, and does not play as physically as some other receivers, but he will go up and get the ball in traffic.
Why he could improve in 2013:
His second year in the league, and having already worked his way from seventh round pick to game day action, Matthews should be set to continue his growth in 2013. His route running and soft hands should keep him on the field as a fourth or fifth wide receiver, and, having already built chemistry with Ryan Tannehill last year, should see him get targeted more this year.
Why he could regress in 2013:
No matter what, Matthews is still going to be buried on the depth chart, and will likely not see as much playing time as he would like. Compound that with him now missing "several weeks" with an injury, and it is very possible he could give up the gains he made last year.
Odds he will make the 53-man roster:
Depending on the severity of his injury, Matthews will likely either make the roster, or be moved over to injured reserve. The team clearly was already concerned with his health when they released Aaron Corp so they could add wide receiver Andrell Smith. Matthews looks like a contender for the fourth wide receiver position, but it will all boil down to his health.