The Miami Dolphins lost two of their most explosive offensive weapons during the 2018 season, with wide receivers Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson both landing on injured reserve. Wilson injured his hip in October, an injury that did not require surgery but did cost him most of the season. Grant sustained a “lower leg injury” in November - with the presumption being an Achilles issue - and had surgery, missing the final six games.
Wilson finished his shortened season with 26 receptions for 391 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Grant caught 21 passes for 268 yards with two touchdowns during the season, all career highs, as well as working as the team’s primary kick- and punt-returner. The two combined for one of the great moments of the season, when Wilson broke free for a 52-yard touchdown, with Grant chasing him down and high-fiving him during the play.
The Dolphins are now into their second day of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) as they begin preparations for 2019, and the two receivers should be key parts of the Miami offense this year. However, they do not yet seem to be fully cleared to practice.
According to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad, Grant was on the field for warmups at Tuesday’s practice, but Wilson was not available.
The Dolphins will need both players this year, especially when you factor in Grant’s special teams contributions. Miami’s wide receiver corps will likely consist of Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Brice Butler, Wilson, and Grant, with speed being the primary weapon of choice. Stills ran a 4.38 40-yard dash in the NFL Scouting Combine in 2013, Parker a 4.45 in 2015, Butler a 4.37 in 2013, Wilson a 4.43 in 2014, and Grant a 4.34 in 2016. (Grant did have a 4.10 hand-timed 40 at his Pro Day.) Miami is going to be able to burn some teams at receiver this year if they can get and keep all their players healthy.
Add in a 4.45 40-yard dash from running back Kenyan Drake and a 4.46 from running back Kalen Ballage. Even tight end Mike Gesicki brings speed, running a 4.54 in the 40 last year, the fastest time for a tight end in 2018, the second fastest in the last two years, and the fifth fastest tight end in the last five years .
It appears Grant is a little closer to reaching that “healthy” mark than Wilson is at this point. The good news is, it is only the middle of May right now and there is plenty of time before training camp opens in late July and the regular season opens in September. Wilson and Grant should be fully healthy by the time the team hits the field in meaningful games.