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Miami Dolphins 2023: What's next at wide receiver?

This look at receivers is part of a series from our Dolphins beat writers.

It’s the most productive pro day in the Dolphins' history.

General manager Chris Grier and offensive coordinator Frank Smith were attending Ohio State’s pro day last year when they hit pay dirt.

Just not for anything involving the Buckeyes. It was the day the Dolphins traded for Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill.

“We kind of fist-bumped and then a bunch of coaches were around us,” Grier said. “And they cursed.”

Make that they started cursing. Many more expletives were to come in the fall.

The process began with the Dolphins contacting the Chiefs seemingly on a lark.

“There’s no way we can do this,” Grier said of the consensus within Dolphins HQ.

Soon, that pessimism started to wane.

“We can find a way to make this work,” he said.

Funny how a $120 million contract — the most in NFL history for a receiver — can move mountains.

The Dolphins had their man. Now it was just a matter of figuring out how to get the most out of him while pairing him with reigning team MVP Jaylen Waddle.

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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) flips while celebrating after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) flips while celebrating after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

How they did in 2022

Paul Warfield. Mark Clayton. Mark Duper. Nat Moore.

The best way to begin a conversation on what Hill and Waddle managed in their first season together is to bring up names of the best wide receivers in Dolphins' history.

Hill and Waddle outdid them all.

When Grier swung the Hill trade, he had to have visions of what Hill and Waddle could do together. But could even he have thought it would turn out like this?

Hill finished with 119 receptions for 1,710 yards, breaking Jarvis Landry’s team record of 112 receptions and Clayton’s record of 1,389 yards. As great as that was, what made it even better is that it did not mean diminished returns for Waddle. He had 1,356 yards and led the NFL with an average of 18.1 yards per catch. It was only a year ago that Waddle finished his rookie season with an average of 9.8.

No other team had two receivers with more than 1,200 yards.

After all these years, the Marks Brothers had a tandem worth mentioning in the same breath.

Free agents of interest 

The Dolphins don’t figure to spend much time shopping for free-agent receivers.

Obviously, their top two are set for the foreseeable future.

Trent Sherfield was a pleasant addition in 2022, producing 417 receiving yards in addition to special teams duty. He also is a talented downfield blocker, helping turn big plays into even bigger plays for Waddle and Hill.

Cedrick Wilson’s production dipped in half in his first season with the Dolphins, and he had little impact as a return man. But Miami would save only $2 million against the cap by parting with him.

Like Sherfield, River Cracraft is unsigned for 2023 but he, too, doesn’t carry a steep price tag, so the Dolphins might bring both back if the dollars work out for everybody involved.

That leaves Erik Ezukanma, the fourth-round pick a year ago who made a splash in training camp but never could get on the field. He played one game and had one catch for 3 yards.

The task for receivers coach Wes Welker and Ezukanma is to get him back on the track he appeared to be on last summer.

Draft prospects to watch

The Dolphins have five picks — only one in the first 77 selections — so it’s possible they won’t draft any receivers or take one on Day 3.

Dolphins reporter Hal Habib can be reached at hhabib@pbpost.com and followed on Twitter @gunnerhal.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins 2023: What's next at wide receiver for Hill, Waddle?