(Note: This continues a series in Daily Dolphin spotlighting members of the team individually. In addition to reliving highlights and lowlights of the past season for each, we’ll provide analysis and criticism, plus take a look at how each player fits — or doesn’t fit — into the team’s plans for 2018.)
WR Albert Wilson
Height, weight: 5-9, 200
College: Georgia State
Age: Will be 26 this season
Experience: Entering fifth season, first with Dolphins
Acquired: Signed as unrestricted free agent from Chiefs in March
Contract: In first year of a three-year, $24 million contract
Pro Football Focus rank: 33rd of 116
Stats: Started seven of 13 games in which he appeared; had career highs of 42 receptions for 554 yards and three TDs
Notable moments: Caught 63-yard TD pass vs. Raiders. … Caught 10 passes for 147 yards vs. Broncos for his first 100-yard game.
Straight talk: One of the more intriguing Dolphins acquisitions is Wilson, who gives the offense four players who have been timed at 4.45 or better (along with WRs Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills and RB Kenyan Drake).
It will be up to coach Adam Gase, who loves to create mismatches, to maximize both the breakaway speed and versatility of these players.
Although Wilson grew up in our midst, attending Port St. Lucie High, what he brings to this mix is somewhat unknown. Is he the player who had just 279 receiving yards for Kansas City two years ago? The guy on the ascension after a 554-yard season last year? Or the one who reached his ceiling simply because it was a contract year?
Wilson can assume some of the Jarvis Landry duties, catching short passes from Ryan Tannehill and letting his yards-after-catch ability take over.
“He’s a guy that can take a throw behind the line of scrimmage and he can create a 70-yard touchdown,” Gase said.
Johnson said he was impressed by how quickly Wilson picked up Miami’s system when “he wasn’t really doing the same thing in Kansas City.”
Wilson had only three rushing attempts for 6 yards last season. That’s about to change.
“His speed is hard to ignore,” Gase said. “We saw first-hand how fast he is and what he can do, how he can stretch the field vertically. When you put the ball in his hands, he makes plays. I don’t think I’ve seen too many wide receivers where a team is actually handing the ball off to him and he’s running between the tackles.”
Prospects for 2018
If the spring is any indication, Wilson should make a seamless transition to Miami and be a nice complementary piece alongside the aforementioned receivers plus Danny Amendola and DeVante Parker. Doubly so, if defenses overcommit to any of the others when Gase throws a four-receiver set on the field.
During the spring, receivers coach Ben Johnson pointed out the versatility Wilson provides.
“It’s really triggered us to say he’s not limited in the slot, he’s not limited outside,” Johnson said. “He can line up in the backfield. He can do so many different things for us. His versatility is really, really showing up.”
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