How rookie WR Tahj Washington could fit in the Dolphins offense

The Miami Dolphins selected USC wide receiver Tahj Washington in the seventh round of the 2024 NFL Draft, who could fit the mold for what the team’s offense needs in a third wide receiver behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

A consistent third receiving target for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa eluded the Dolphins all of last season, and it has been a top priority for Chris Grier and the front office this offseason. Miami signed veteran tight end Jonnu Smith from the Atlanta Falcons who will be an upgrade in the starting role. The team also signed three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after weeks of speculation.

While free agency upgraded the Dolphins’ receiving group, there is always a hope that rookies will be able to play starting roles sooner rather than later.

Tahj Washington is a prime example of a rookie who fits the Dolphins’ current roster and scheme,. He put together a spectacular campaign at USC in 2023 as the favorite target of eventual No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams. Washington caught 59 passes for 1,062 yards (18 yards per reception) with eight touchdown catches.

So how does hit in the Miami offense?

An area of specialty for Washington is yards after catch, which will complement the Miami offense beautifully.

Washington also has elite body control and can make leaping contested catches through contact. He makes the type of plays that were not seen from the Miami receivers outside of Hill and Waddle. While Braxton Berrios and River Cracraft found success in spurts last season, they weren’t consistent enough for the coaching staff to be pleased with either of them lining up as the third wide receiver.

In five seasons with USC and Memphis, Washington’s career offensive snaps were divided 44 percent in the slot and 56 percent out wide, according to Pro Football Focus. That versatility will allow head coach Mike McDaniel to plug him in anywhere he wants.

With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle drawing the attention of opposing defenses, the door will be open for a third target to have success in 2024, especially if they can exploit the middle of the field. Washington’s skillset fits the bill if he can earn snaps.

The glaring knock on Washington going into the draft was his size at just 5’10” and 174 pounds. It is also possible that Washington’s collegiate production was credited to the elite quarterback play of Caleb Williams. Still, the USC offense designed numerous plays where getting Washington the ball with room to run was a focal point.

Beckham is the front runner to open the season in the third spot on the depth chart. But at 31 and an injury history that has kept him out more often than not in the last four years, the Dolphins will need to find consistent contributors and potential future starters in their group of younger wideouts.

One thing that will help Washington earn a spot is his involvement with special teams.

“Special teams has always been a part of my game,” Washington told reporters last month. “A lot of history on special teams I love to compete. Anytime I get the opportunity to be on the field, I want to be out there.”

Entering a room with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle at his position will undoubtedly serve as an enhancement for Washington in his early years as a pro.

“It will be fun to learn from those guys, and take notes from those guys,” Washington said.

With uncertainty at the wide receiver position for the long-term, Washington is certainly someone to keep an eye on as the Dolphins’ offseason continues.

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire