The Current Roster:
The Miami Dolphins currently have three tight ends on the roster with game experience, Charles Clay, Michael Egnew and Dion Sims.
Clay is coming off of a breakout season in which he caught 69 balls for 759 yards and seven total touchdowns. Clay proved he could be a number one TE after the gruesome preseason injury to Dustin Keller, but Clay is not the mammoth tight end with long arms and huge catch radius’s like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham but rather more of an h-back who excelled in Miami’s dink-and-dunk system.
Egnew, one of the players yielded in the Brandon Marshall trade of two years ago, is thought by some (not many) to have the potential and body type to be the big redzone/seam threat that the Dolphins currently lack. Egnew was originally brought in to be that player, but his inability to block and “play fast” (process and react while running at full speed) led to him being inactive for all but two games his rookie season. Egnew only has seven catches his first two NFL seasons.
Dion Sims, contrary to Egnew, was brought in specifically for his ability to block but, like Egnew, hasn’t seen the field much due to his slow play-speed. Sims made a spectacular.over-the-shoulder one-handed game-winning touchdown catch (while being interefered with) against the Atlanta Falcons in week 2 last season. But he only had five other catches in his rookie campaign.
Dolphins’ new OC Bill Lazor is bringing a new offense to Miami. His system is expected to be more focused on the running game, which means the Dolphins need TEs who can block.
None of the TEs on the roster, are particularly good blockers, but the TE group was one of the hardest working last season, often staying after practice to catch passes from the jugs machine, so it’s a safe bet to say the group will improve this aspect of their game’s.
Miami, as previously mentioned, also needs a TE who is a redzone, jump ball threat.
The Dolphins are expected to draft a tight end this May, but how early is unclear. The Dolphins most pressing needs are at RT, OG and LB, so its hard to imagine the Dolphins selecting a tight end higher than the third round, but if Eric Ebron, the top TE in the class, falls to them at pick #19, Dolphins’ GM Dennis Hickey might have to pull the trigger.
Ebron is a dynamic talent, but he isn’t particularly big for the position. Ebron has drawn comparisons to Vernon Davis due to his athleticism, but Ebron’s ability to win a jump ball situation has been questioned.
Its unclear if Ebron can be the blocking TE or the redzone monster that so many teams covet, but the image of Clay and Ebron challenging LBs and stretching out defenses is something that leaves Dolphin fans salivating.
If Ebron isn’t there when the Dolphins are on the clock in the first round, which is likely, the Dolphins could find a capable blocking TE on the third day in Arthur Lynch. Lynch is most heralded for his blocking at this point in his career but his bigger body suggests he could be a redzone threat.
The Dolphins could add an immediate presence in the small areas of the field in CJ Fiedorowitz or Troy Niklas. The two are 6’6″ and 6’7″, respectively, and will likely be available in the third round.