When DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson were injured in a game against the Jets last season, Ryan Fitzpatrick turned to Isaiah Ford and the receiver delivered.
“There are times when I ask Isaiah questions about the offense, that’s how smart the kid is,” Fitzpatrick said after that game.
When Fitzpatrick needed to move the ball for a game-winning drive at New England in the season finale, he turned to Ford, who, again, came through.
“Isaiah Ford, he’s a special guy – a guy that you can just rely on in any situation,” Fitzpatrick said after the win.
There was much attention, deservedly so, on the early-season performance of Preston Williams. And on the late-season dominance of DeVante Parker.
And now, understandably, there is some concern about the recent opt-outs of veterans Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Dolphins truly don’t need to rush out and sign a 30-something replacement. Miami has seven other receivers on their roster at the moment, and they represent an interesting blend of size, speed and potential.
Ford, still only 24 years old, has already been with the Dolphins for three seasons. His emergence in the final 4 games (averaging 5 catches for 59 yards) was encouraging, as is his versatility.
Here are thumb-nail looks at the receivers on Miami’s roster beyond Parker and Williams, who could be one of the best duos in the league, if Williams recovers well from an ACL injury.
6-2, 194, 24 years old
Ford was a seventh-round draft choice from Virginia Tech and he has been on and off Miami’s practice squad and roster despite consistently strong spring and summer practices. Ford can play inside and out and he has the trust of his quarterbacks due to consistent route-running. The knock on Ford was a lack of blazing speed but he gets open and has good hands.
5-7, 171, 27 years old
Grant possesses blazing speed. He’s been set back the last two seasons by injury. But he’s determined to show he’s more than one of the best kick returners in the NFL. While Adam Gase preferred Grant at wide receiver, there’s no reason Grant shouldn’t be given a chance for slot reps after Wilson’s decision to sit out 2020. Grant’s hands have improved.
6-1, 215, 23 years old
Jennings was injured after only one offensive and eight special teams snaps last season. The Dolphins picked up Jennings after he was waived by the Seahawks, who drafted him in the fourth round of out West Virginia last season. Coach Brian Flores says Jennings is “young, he’s fast, he’s got size, he’s got athletic ability. He can play in the kicking game.”
5-10, 181, 23 years old
Perry is listed as a running back on Miami’s depth chart and was a quarterback at Navy last season. But he was a receiver at the NFL Scouting Combine and may find himself playing some slot in August or into the season. Perry said he was uncomfortable at receiver but has worked hard at it. He figures to make Miami’s roster as a swiss army knife.
6-0, 208, 23 years old
Merritt’s college career included stops at Oregon, Texas A&M, East Mississippi and Arkansas State. Merritt is an incredible athlete but went undrafted due to off-field concerns. Merritt ran a reported 4.33 at his Pro Day. His speed will give him a real chance to open eyes in the summer and either make Miami’s roster as a sleeper or at least land a spot on practice squad.
6-4, 221, 26 years old
Hollins was a fourth-round pick by the Eagles in 2017. Hollins is a tough, big-bodied, downfield threat who could provide some insurance if Parker or Williams were to be slowed by injury. Hollins tracks the ball well, has solid hands and can be a valuable special teams contributor.
5-10, 197, 23 years old
Another blazer, Cole played at Division II McKendree University. He reportedly ran a 4.48 and has a 37 1/2 inch vertical jump. With the potential to make an impact on screens from the slot and also in the special teams game, Cole will be fun to watch and could grab a practice squad spot.
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