The Miami Dolphins are heading into the 2016 season with one of the NFL’s youngest receiving corps. Unfortunately, with youth, comes uncertainty. On paper, the Dolphins’ receiving core seems to be among the most talented in the NFL. That is unless you ask Pro Football Focus, who recently ranked the Dolphins’ receiving core, 25th out of 32 NFL teams.
In 2015, Jarvis Landry recorded 110 receptions for 1,157 yards and four touchdowns. In a limited role, DeVante Parker recorded 26 catches for 494 yards and three touchdowns. These two players will play a crucial role in Miami’s success in 2016.
In addition to Parker and Landry, Kenny Stills had 27 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns last season. Finally, tight end Jordan Cameron is coming off a season in which he caught 35 receptions for 386 yards and three touchdowns. All of these numbers must be improved if the Dolphins plan to have success next season
Over the last several weeks, Pro Football Focus has ranked each team’s position groups, this time ranking each team’s receiving corps. Despite the potential, it appears PFF isn’t very high on Miami’s receiving corps.
Projected starters: WR DeVante Parker, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Kenny Stills, TE Jordan Cameron
Key depth: WR Leonte Carroo, WR Jakeem Grant, TE Dion Sims, TE Thomas Duarte
Key stat: Rookie Leonte Carroo (Rutgers) dropped just two of the 96 catchable passes thrown his way over the past two seasons.
The Dolphins’ wide receiver and tight end group has a lot of potential, it’s just that, outside of Jarvis Landry, we’ve yet to see it fulfilled. Landry is one of the NFL’s top receivers in space, forcing 28 missed tackles on 110 receptions a year ago. DeVante Parker is a player we were very high on coming into the draft last year, and we saw flashes of how good he can be in the final five weeks of the season after injury slowed him down earlier in the year. Showing he can be very dangerous with the ball in his hands, Parker forced seven missed tackles on just 26 receptions. Tight end Jordan Cameron was a disappointment in his first season in Miami, but is two seasons removed from an 80-catch campaign in Cleveland. If Cameron can replicate his impressive 2013 season, and Parker can continue the momentum of his strong 2015 finish, this is a unit much better than their current 25th ranking.
Barring injury, the Dolphins’ receiving corps should be much better than PFF’s 25th ranking. In fact, DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry could be two of the NFL’s top receivers by season’s end. With the addition of new head coach Adam Gase, Kenny Stills is primed to have a bigger role, and rookie wide receivers Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo will see plenty of opportunities.
At tight end, Jordan Cameron is destined to regain his previous form, and should have an expanded role within Miami’s new offense. During the offseason, Julius Thomas convinced Cameron to take a pay cut, convincing the tight end he "has to play" under coach Adam Gase.
Although Pro Football Focus’ 25th ranking seems a bit low for my liking, given the Dolphins’ young and unproven receiving core, their ranking makes sense. I expect Miami’s offense to take the next step under coach Gase, exceeding expectations given by PFF and experts alike.