According to a report, the Miami Dolphins signed wide receiver Legedu Naanee on Tuesday. The Dolphins had been looking to add a wide receiver after trading away Brandon Marshall for two third round draft picks earlier in the offseason.
While I think Marshall is overrated, I do admit that he is seemingly always a threat and opened up the field as he would garner double teams. His presence (on the field) will obviously be missed.
I know that some fans will jump to conclusions and think Naanee is here to replace Marshall. Naanee will not duplicate Marshall's production. No one in their right mind believes that. He is, however, a solid wide receiver and his addition will provide depth to the wide receiving corps. There is simply no such thing as too much depth in the NFL.
With all of that said, the Miami Dolphins are still thin at wide receiver. If they go into the season with their current wide receivers then Brian Hartline and Davone Bess figure to be the starters. Hartline has had high yards per reception averages throughout his three year career but his highest season stat total is just 43 receptions for 615 yards in 2010. Davone Bess, one of the game's underrated players, is arguably a top three slot receiver in the NFL. After having more than 75 receptions in 2009 and 2010, however, Bess had his lowest production in 2011 as he did not develop any chemistry with quarterback Matt Moore.
Coach Joe Philbin, Green Bay's former offensive coordinator, is bringing the West Coast offense with him. Typically, this style of offense does not necessarily rely on just one wide receiver as the football tends to get spread around. For example, the Packers had five receivers with more than 30 receptions on last year's squad. That is a good sign for the Dolphins as they do not have a number one wide receiver, as previously mentioned. I do think that Brian Hartline could excel in this offense because he has the ability to make big plays as shown through his career average of 15.3 yards per reception. Another player who may have a big role is tight end Charles Clay. Clay displayed good hands in his rookie season with the Dolphins and had three touchdowns in a backup role. I think that he is one player to watch out for on Miami.
Still, just because the West Coast offense does not rely on one receiver does not mean that the Miami Dolphins should not be looking to add one in the upcoming NFL draft. It seems very unlikely but if Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon manages to fall to the Dolphins at the #8 pick in the draft, I would take him in a heartbeat. You would be foolish not to. It is almost guaranteed that he will not be there, though. As a result, the Dolphins cannot afford to take a receiver like Notre Dame's Michael Floyd at that pick because that would probably be a reach at that spot. The Miami Dolphins would instead be better served adding a wide receiver in the second or third round.
Again, Legedu Naanee will not replace Brandon Marshall's production. No one on this current roster will. All the Miami Dolphins will want from Legedu Naanee is for him to duplicate last season's stats with the Panthers (44 receptions, 467 yards). I would be happy with that, too.
Source: Player statistics found at http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/stats
Michael Pellegrini is a lifelong fan of the Miami Dolphins. His first real memory is actually of Joe Montana throwing an interception at the goal line in Miami's win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1994 Wild Card round.
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