DAVIE — One thing Adam Gase and the Dolphins love about their reconstructed group of skill players is how pliable it is. The offense can move pieces wherever it wants them, opening up limitless creativity for Gase, and it’s likely no player embodies that more than new receiver Albert Wilson.
Wilson became a prime target for Miami in free agency primarily for his speed, and he’s expected to get a more prominent role in the offense than he ever had in Kansas City. He’s been all over the place during Organized Team Activities.
“He’s really done a nice job the past two weeks,” receivers coach Ben Johnson. “It’s really triggered us to say he’s not limited in the slot, he’s not limited outside. He can line up in the backfield. He can do so many different things for us. His versatility is really, really showing up.”
There were times last season when Gase felt somewhat constrained by having to keep DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry on the field without a ton of flexibility, but he seems intent on opening things up more this season. Stills can play inside or outside, running back Kenyan Drake can line up at receiver, he’s got a very promising tight end threat in Mike Gesicki and wide-ranging versatility with Wilson.
The most common way he’s likely to be used is on short passes, like bubble screens, that present opportunities for big yards after the catch. That won’t be it, though. At 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Wilson is a shade on the small side, but he showed great athleticism down the field last year with the Chiefs.
“When we looked at Albert on film, we were intrigued, obviously with the speed,” Johnson said. “We were intrigued with the run-after-catch ability. I think all of that has been there. It’s been impressive to me to see him come in, pick up this system and learn these fundamentals (when) he wasn’t really doing the same thing in Kansas City.”
He posted career highs in Kansas City with 42 receptions, 554 yards (13.2 per catch) and three touchdowns. That tracked with the steady progress he’s made since breaking into the league as an undrafted free agent from Georgia State in 2014. He was a multi-talented threat there, too, after playing quarterback at Port St. Lucie High School.
Wilson has eight rushes in his career, and the Dolphins seem particularly drawn to that untapped part of his game.
“When you have the kind of athletic ability he does, the speed he does, the playmaking ability, you just try to find ways to get the ball in his hands and let him do his thing,” Gase said.
Wilson is also one of a few candidates to work at punt returner.
The Dolphins needed a slot receiver once they traded Landry to the Browns and they opted to replace him with Wilson and Danny Amendola. Landry would’ve cost about $16 million this season, and Wilson came in at half that price.
Miami picked him up on a three-year, $24 million deal with $14.5 million guaranteed. The team can get out of the contract after the 2019 season for a small dead cap hit of $1.3 million.
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.