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Miami Dolphins Depth Chart Projections: Wide Receiver

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Which wide receivers will be on the Miami Dolphins’ roster when the Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season comes around, and where will they place on the depth chart?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is a magical time in the NFL. All players are “in the best shape of their lives” and every single coach is going to “create a winning culture.” All teams are “poised to make a playoff run,” and perennial losing teams are “finally ready to turn things around.”

That being said, the offseason is also a time when coaches need to make the tough decisions about who is going to make their team’s roster. No matter how much talent a team brings in through free agency and the draft, cuts are inevitable. An offseason roster of 90 players will eventually have to be cut down to the best 53, and outside of the team’s top players, there are never guarantees as to who will make the team.

This offseason, I will be running a series of depth chart projections, breaking down Miami’s roster by position, and predicting who will make it to Week 1 of the 2017 season. Today, we start with the wide receivers.

Roster:

Jarvis Landry

DeVante Parker

Kenny Stills

Leonte Carroo

Jakeem Grant

Rashawn Scott

Isaiah Ford (R)

Drew Morgan (UDFA)

Malcolm Lewis (UDFA)

Damore’ea Stringfellow (UDFA)

Francis Owusu (UDFA)

Roster Locks

Jarvis Landry

There is no player more valuable to Miami’s offense and team culture than Jarvis Landry. Landry is the heart and soul of the Miami Dolphins, and he embodies exactly what Adam Gase wants from his players. He is never shy about showing his passion for his team and his game, and that passion translates to the field every time he touches the ball. Whether the Dolphins need a key third down conversion or a game winning touchdown, they look Landry’s way. Every person in the stadium knows that Landry will find a way to make a play. Obviously, this one’s not even a question.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 100%

DeVante Parker

Parker is the epitome of a player who is ready to make the leap. After high expectations were followed up by two seasons of hot and cold production, this feels like the year where Parker puts his immense talent and his developing work ethic together. Gase was not shy about making it clear that the team needs to see more from the former first round draft pick, and it appears that Parker has responded well. The wideout has received nothing but praise from the offensive coaches for the work that he’s put in this offseason, and the entire coaching staff is expecting big things from him this year. The hope around the organization is that he becomes the true number one wide receiver that he was drafted to be.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 100%

Kenny Stills

Stills should maintain his status as the team’s primary deep threat this season. He will continue to take the top off of defenses and outrun cornerbacks on the outside as long as Ryan Tannehill continues to connect on the deep ball. Oh and by the way… his four-year $32 million contract means that he’s not leaving the Dolphins anytime soon.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 100%

Probable Backups

Leonte Carroo

This is where depth chart positioning no longer becomes guaranteed. Carroo struggled to contribute to the offense last season. His three catches for 29 yards and one touchdown severely disappointed, especially considering the fact that the Dolphins traded up in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft to select him. Adam Gase has professed a desire to get Carroo more involved, but the trio of receivers in front of him limits his ceiling. While I expect Carroo to make the roster considering the draft capital that Miami invested in him just one year ago, he will need to make an impact during training camp and the preseason if he wants to see significant playing time. If he fails to impress, there are other intriguing options behind Carroo on the roster who can climb past him.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 90%

Jakeem Grant

Grant has an edge over other receivers attempting to hang onto a roster spot due to his ability to contribute to the special teams unit in addition to the offense. While his talent as a returner is undeniable, Grant will have to correct his propensity for letting the ball hit the turf if he wants to solidify his spot on the depth chart. With that in mind, Grant has made a concerted effort to fix that problem, flying Dolphins punter Matt Darr out to Texas to practice fielding punts. Grant has the kind of speed and quickness that gives defenders nightmares, but his tiny frame (5’6”, 161 lbs) limits his ability to stay on the field as a receiver. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has said that he hopes to involve Grant on offense more often, especially in the slot, but Grant will first have to show that he’s fixed his fumbling issues and dedicated himself to learning the offensive playbook if he wants a chance to play regular season football in Miami.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 75%

Must Impress

Rashawn Scott

Scott joined the Dolphins alongside Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant as a rookie last season, albeit as an undrafted free agent who worked his way onto the roster. Scott was released during September roster cuts last year, but was then signed to Miami’s practice squad. After injuries to the receiver corps late in the season, he was promoted to the active roster and played three games, but logged zero receptions. Scott will have to battle to make the roster again in 2017, but has an upper hand over the incoming rookies due to his knowledge of Gase’s offense. His size (6’2”, 204 lbs) makes him a good candidate to hold onto a back-end roster spot as a project receiver, but a strong training camp by any newcomer has the potential to push him off the depth chart.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 50%

Isaiah Ford (R)

The Dolphins took a shot at Ford with a seventh round pick during this year’s draft with the hopes of him making a strong impression this offseason, and Ford will need to follow through if he wants to make the 53. Many analysts pegged him as a fourth or fifth round draft pick, so the Dolphins definitely got value in the seventh round; however, that fact will not help Ford once training camp rolls around. His height and athleticism should aid him during workouts, and his highlights display good hands and the ability to high-point a catch, but he’s going to have to show that he can handle NFL level defenses and that he has the ability to create separation if he wants to be anything more than a practice squad player.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 50%

Training Camp Bodies

Drew Morgan (UDFA)

Undrafted free agents often have a very difficult time making the 53 man roster, and Morgan will be no exception to that rule. He is quick off the line and has solid hands, but his lack of top end speed and low yards-per-catch average limit his ability to be a threat on the perimeter. That should lead the Miami coaching staff to want to try Morgan inside at slot receiver, but that position is already crowded with Landry and Grant occupying the top two spots (should Grant make the team). With a strong training camp showing, Morgan could push for the last spot on the wide receiver depth chart, but he’s going to have to move his way past a multitude of other players to make that happen.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 25%

Malcolm Lewis (UDFA)

Lewis suffered a harsh leg injury back in 2012 that limited his speed and quickness during his college career, but he worked his way back to become a contributor for the Miami Hurricanes over the past four years. He’s a willing special teamer and his coaches have commended him for having a strong work ethic and good attitude. However, not much else stands out for this roster hopeful. Lewis will need to wow the coaching staff for any shot at the 53.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 20%

Damore’ea Stringfellow (UDFA)

Stringfellow is a big player who is aggressive when high pointing a catch, but he lacks the quickness to separate from cornerbacks at the breaks in his routes, as well as the speed to beat cornerbacks on the outside. Stringfellow also hasn’t shown that he’s willing to give extra help in run blocking, and when an undrafted free agent is attempting to make an NFL roster, they’ll have a tough time succeeding if they’re not willing to give their all on every play. What helps Stringfellow even less is that he’s had some off the field troubles, forcing him to transfer to Mississippi half way through his college career. I don’t see him has a strong candidate to push through a crowded wide receiver depth chart, as there are many other receivers on the roster with fewer detracting factors and just as much talent.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 20%

Francis Owusu (UDFA)

Owusu is best known for his 2015 highlight reel catch in which he pinned a hail mary touchdown reception to the back of a defender. While the play was truly extraordinary, and I recommend you look it up, it won’t have any bearing on Owusu’s chances of playing for the Dolphins in 2017. What will have an impact is the fact that Owusu is a very big target (6’3”, 209 lbs) with coveted speed as an outside receiver. Unfortunately, he’s had sub-par production over his college career, coming down with just 34 catches while playing at Stanford. He is strictly a project player in his first year at the NFL level.

Chance of making the 53 man roster: 20%

Projected 2017 Wide Receiver Depth Chart

  1. Jarvis Landry
  2. DeVante Parker
  3. Kenny Stills
  4. Leonte Carroo
  5. Jakeem Grant
  6. Isaiah Ford (R)