Where Do the Miami Dolphins Turn At Tight End?

kellerThe preseason injury monster has reared it’s ugly head all over the league here in the opening weeks. With just three games played, it is just as relevant in Miami, where the Dolphins have lost newly signed tight end Dustin Keller for the season with torn ACL, MCL, and PCL ligaments as well as a dislocated knee. Yikes.

Keller signed with the Dolphins this offseason for a one year deal worth $4.5 million, and was looking like a valuable cog in Coach Joe Philbin’s offense during training camp. Preseason injuries are no fun, especially ones like this, but Miami will have to adjust with the loss of their top tight end, here’s a look at what’s next for the Dolphins at tight end.

The rest of Miami’s depth chart at tight end isn’t one to get excited about. The next two men up are second year man Michael Egnew and rookie Dion Sims. Egnew is not a popular name amongst Dolphins fans, played in two games as a rookie in 2012, recorded no stats his rookie season and has yet to come along as a blocker or a receiver. His spot on the roster was in danger after the Keller signing and even more so after the Dolphins drafted Dion Sims out of Michigan State in the 4th round of this year’s draft. However, he’s received some praise from Coach Philbin who told the Palm Beach Post’s Andrew Abramson that Egnew has “really improved an awful lot,” and that he’s a guy the Dolphins are “really excited about”.

Sims has just as much an opportunity as Egnew and could possibly be a better fit. At 6-5, 262 lb Sims is a whole lot of man and could really add some beef to the Miami run game. At Michigan State, Sims helped pave the way for tail back Le’Veon Bell, now a Steeler, to rush for 1,740 yards and 12 touchdowns. The rookie has also shown soft hands during training camp, he caught 32 balls for 475 yards as a redshirt junior, and could prove to be a big red zone target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Charles Clay could be another option, although he’s been used primarily as a fullback/H-back this offseason, and behind Egnew and Sims not much stands out. Second year man Kyle Miller scored a touchdown against Dallas in the Hall of Fame Game but has since been quiet and missed time due to injury.

Without much on the trade market or in free agency, the competition between Egnew and Sims for the starting tight end spot will be yet another headline during Miami’s noisy offseason. Clay may get some more looks at the spot as well, but his talents may serve the Dolphins better in the backfield. Although Egnew is more experienced, I give the edge to Sims, whose two-dimensional play style will be the difference come week one.