Positional preview: Breaking down wide receiver before Week 1

·3 min read

With the rise in importance of the passing game over the last two decades, the talent and production at wide receiver have continued to grow as well.

For the Miami Dolphins, they’ve had some strong wide receivers in their history, from Mark Duper and Mark Clayton to Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker more recently, but the current unit has a chance to be one of the best.

Before the start of the 2022 regular season, we’re going to take a look at the 53-man roster and assess the state of each position. We’ve touched on quarterback and running back already, but today, we’ll break down the wide receiver room.

Tyreek Hill

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miami’s shiniest new toy this offseason, Hill has cost them five draft picks and $30 million per year in a new contract. The six-time Pro Bowler possesses elite-level speed that can really change the dynamic of an offense, and we saw just a brief glimpse of that in the preseason finale, as Tua Tagovailoa and Hill connected on a deep ball on their first offensive play of the game.

He can stretch the field, or catch a pass underneath and run for a touchdown or set up the offense with great field position after a fantastic punt return. Hill’s impact in South Florida is immense.

Jaylen Waddle

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Waddle had an outstanding rookie campaign, setting the NFL’s record for receptions by a first-year player. In 2022, with Hill in front of him on the depth chart, he may not have the same volume, but he could be more productive in terms of yards and touchdowns.

Hill’s arrival should help take some of the pressure off of the second-year wideout, allowing him to operate more freely and use his footwork to create separation.

Cedrick Wilson Jr.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Wilson’s acquisition was glossed over, especially when Hill arrived in Miami, but he can be a very important piece in this offense. Arriving from Dallas, Wilson has the makings of an impact big-slot receiver for Tagovailoa at 6-foot-2, and that will allow Hill and Waddle to work the boundaries.

With all of the attention them, he should draw third or fourth options and be able to feast.

Erik Ezukanma

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The rookie out of Texas Tech flashed at points during training camp and the preseason, making some highlight plays like the one against the Las Vegas Raiders shown above.

With the Dolphins’ array of weapons on offense, Ezukanma may not see the field as much as he’d like, but he’ll get a great opportunity to learn and grow in his first season.

Trent Sherfield

(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Sherfield spent 2021 with the San Francisco 49ers, learning under Mike McDaniel, so it wasn’t too surprising to see him brought in this offseason on a one-year deal. In his four NFL seasons, he’s recorded just 37 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns, as he’s been a depth piece.

That’s likely the role he’ll play in Miami this season, but his familiarity with the offense and strong training camp/preseason should have coaches and fans comfortable with him being in a game.

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire