After being chewed out on Hard Knocks and assigned to the inactive roster for the large majority of his first NFL season, few would imagine Egnew to make much of an impact in this league. His primary use as a full back in his second season only stood to underline the misuse of this offensive weapon.
I understand the O-line was so bad last year, that our run game needed all the help it could get and the need for a blocking tight end in last year’s passing offense but he was almost stubbornly being turned into a blocking tight end rather than the pass catching tight end he was drafted as, a square peg in a round hole.
But despite 2 years of mismanagement, entering his third season in the NFL the former Missouri Tiger has a genuine chance to announce himself on the big stage. It looks like the 6ft 5in tight end will finally be used to his strengths and played as a pass catching tight end, used as seam threat instead of an in-line blocker, alongside Charles Clay I feel this almost forgotten man can have a big season and be a shock breakout player in this offense.
The new offensive coordinator has brought his version of Chip Kelly’s offense from Philadelphia including double tight end sets that could see Egnew thrive. He was used as more receiver than tight end in college in a spread offense similar to what he finds himself in now, in 2010 Egnew pulled in 90 receptions for 762 yards and 5 td’s, while in 2012 he made 50 receptions for 523 yards with 3 td’s. At 6ft 5 and 255lbs with 4.62 second 40 yard speed he is not too dissimilar to the Cincinnati Bengals Tight End Tyler Eifert who was drafted number 21 overall just a year later.
After Charles Clays breakout season last year he is going to be receiving a lot more attention which could leave Egnew with more space to operate in and translate into a much larger role as a weapon in this pass attack. At the very least he should see work in the red zone as he offers the big target with a large catch radius and decent hands the Dolphins don’t presently have.
Egnew showed his willingness to work last year when he was used as a fullback by Mike Sherman and in fairness to him, often to moderate success. When asked about his switch to fullback he showed enthusiasm and willingness to do whatever it took to help the team,
“The coaches asked me if I know every position on the offense, and I do,” Egnew said. “They said, ‘What if we put you at fullback? Could you play some fullback?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I could do that if you wanted me to.’ ”
He took advantage of the only opportunity he had to get himself on the field and help the team. This year I back him to seize his chance as the second tight end and finally show the potential that led the Dolphins to draft him in the third round in 2012
His speed and athleticism could cause problems for linebackers and his size will make him difficult for safeties to cover. I see Lazor using him to his strengths and causing mismatches for the defense rather than asking him to block in-line. I predict this will be a big year for Egnew, his back is to the wall and he will likely know that if he doesn’t produce this year he will probably not be back for another.