Do the Miami Dolphins Have Enough Depth at Wide Receiver?

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIJuly 31, 2013

Jul 29, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) warms up during a scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins upgraded their wide receiver corps from 2012 this offseason, adding Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson alongside Brian Hartline.

They also traded Davone Bess with the hope that with Armon Binns, Rishard Matthews and a possible acorn found among their undrafted free agents, they would find the necessary depth and talent at wide receiver.

We're just one week into training camp, though, and the Dolphins find themselves nearly threadbare at the position. Brian Hartline appeared to tweak his left calf prior to Miami's Monday Night scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, per The Palm Beach Post. Rishard Matthews is also hurt with an injury that the Dolphins have yet to disclose. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that the injury is expected to keep Matthews out for several weeks.

Then there's the sad case of Armon Binns, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL after having an impressive offseason. To make matters worse, Omar Kelly of The Sun-Sentinel reported that promising undrafted free agent Jasper Collins suffered an undisclosed injury as well.

So do the Miami Dolphins have enough depth at wide receiver?

For right now, no. At least not proven depth. 

After Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline (whose injury looks like it will keep him out for a week at most), the Dolphins already had a fairly unproven wide receiver unit. Brandon Gibson makes sense as a No. 3 wide receiver, though he dropped too many passes for my liking during the Monday scrimmage and has at times struggled in camp.

Gibson will still be Miami's third wide receiver, but the race is on to decide who will occupy the fourth and fifth slots. Had the Dolphins decided to keep Bess, this would be an easy fix, as Gibson would be the fourth wide receiver (a good role for him), with a solid starting corps of Wallace, Hartline and Bess. Of course, Miami would likely be without rookie linebacker Jelani Jenkins had the franchise not traded Bess, and Jenkins has done well on special teams thus far.

But despite the injuries, there is now an opportunity for young players. The Dolphins have some players who have done well so far and can take advantage of this opportunity to claim the fourth and fifth wide receiver spots. Expect the sixth slot to go to Julius Pruitt, who the Dolphins just re-signed, according to The Palm Beach Post.

The Dolphins have talent in the undrafted free agents and former practice squad players they have signed thus far. Chad Bumphis and Marvin McNutt look like the clear-cut favorites to land the last two wide receiver positions, with Jeff Fuller, Keenan Davis and Brian Tyms also competing for a spot.

As for who will actually get the playing time, keep in mind that Miami can also line Dustin Keller up as a wide receiver, as well as running back and return specialist Marcus Thigpen. During training camp, both have taken snaps at the position.

This could also potentially be an opportunity for Michael Egnew to get off the ledge and make the team. Currently, that's something in doubt, according to The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero.

The Dolphins' wide receivers have potential upside, but they lack proven depth.

They have until training camp to prove themselves, though.

For more Miami Dolphins news and analysis, listen to Thomas on Dolphins Central Radio. New episodes are posted every Wednesday Night.