Many of us were a bit surprised when the Miami Dolphins drafted a wide receiver in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, I know I was. But after watching his tape at Texas Tech and seeing what he can do in the preseason, you get a sense of precisely what Mike McDaniel, Chris Grier, AND Wes Welker envisioned when they selected Ezukanma 125th-overall.
Ezukanma is a slot wide receiver, but don’t let that fool you. He’s got the size (6’2) to out wrestle defensive backs, and his ability to go up and get the football is impressive in its own right. Additionally, he’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands and rarely gets tackled by the first defender. He’s got the dawg in him.
On Saturday, Ezukanma showcased a little bit of everything catching 6/9 targets for 114 yards (19 YPC) in Miami’s 13-15 loss to the Raiders. His most impressive play, however, was on a Skylar Thompson underthrow. Ezukanma made a beautiful adjustment — and an even more impressive one-handed grab to secure the 34-yard reception.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s every target vs. the Las Vegas Raiders.
After the game, Ezukanma talked about the contested catch, his chemistry with rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson, and his mindset when the ball is in the air.
“(McDaniel) called the play, and I made a release on the guy. Skylar (Thompson) told me the ball was a little – I mean, he got hit on the play, and the ball was a little short, and I was able to adjust accordingly while the guy was face-guarding me and made a play on the ball.”
“Ever since rookie minicamp, I would come in and just felt like it’s a connection there. I don’t know if it’s a Big 12 connection or anything like that, but just me and Skylar (Thompson), it’s just natural I feel like when I’m out there. We’re able to communicate and talk through things, and when the ball is in the air, I just go up there and make plays.”
As of now, Ezukanma is penciled in as the team’s #4 WR behind slot wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. But if preseason and training camp is any indication, it’s going to be hard for Miami’s coaching staff to keep Easy-E off the field. After all, he’s here to take a grown man’s job.
Coach (Wes Welker) preaches that you have never arrived. You always have to go to work every day. In the middle of the game actually, I was kind of messing up a little bit early on, and he told us, ‘You’re here to take a grown man’s job.’ That really resonated with me. I went back out there and just did everything I could to make plays when the ball came my way.
TLDR: Erik Ezukanma has arrived. There, I said it.
What are your thoughts on Miami Dolphins rookie wide receiver Erik Ezukanma? How do you think he fits in the Dolphins' offense in 2022? Is he the next great Miami Dolphins wide receiver? Let us know in the comments section below!