The Ryan Tannehill Era is officially over and the Miami Dolphins are hoping that Josh Rosen can emerge as the long-awaited heir to Dan Marino. While Rosen doesn’t have that same type of potential, he is just one year removed from being a top-10 selection in the NFL Draft. If Rosen is to develop into a true franchise quarterback, he’ll need a reliable weapon like Albert Wilson in the quick passing game.
Miami Dolphins X-Factors: Albert Wilson
Albert Wilson made the most of his first season in Miami. Appearing in seven games, Wilson recorded 26 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns. His best game came in Week Six against the Chicago Bears when he recorded six receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilson was at his best in the short portion of the field. According to Sharp Football Stats, 30 of Wilson’s 35 targets on the season came within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. The first-year Dolphin turned those targets into 25 receptions for 366 yards, four touchdowns, and a 143.1 passer rating.
Despite being one of the more successful receivers on the team, Wilson only averaged five targets per game. The biggest reason for this underutilization was the presence of Danny Amendola. Amendola thrives in the slot and Miami brought him in to serve as the top option in the short passing game. Unfortunately, the Amendola experiment didn’t work out and the Dolphins moved on the in the off-season. With Amendola now out of the picture, Wilson should be the top slot option moving forward.
As mentioned in a previous article, Josh Rosen will need the short passing game if he’s to succeed. Rosen has the potential to be one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league but doesn’t have the arm strength to push the ball deep down the field as Patrick Mahomes can. Additionally, the Dolphins offensive line will probably be one of the worst units in the league. While they’ve added a few players, this unit still figures to be an overall weakness. The best way to hide a bad offensive line is by getting the ball out of the quarterbacks’ hands as early as possible. Wilson could be the key to this offense, but he’ll need to overcome quite a few obstacles to reach his ceiling.
The biggest obstacle standing in Wilson’s way is health. Wilson’s inaugural season in Miami was prematurely cut short thanks to a hip injury. The Georgia State product should be fully recovered for the start of the season, but there is always the risk of starting slow out of the gate. It takes some players longer than others to get up to game speed, and Wilson needs to make sure he comes out of the gate strong.
Even if he is fully healthy, Wilson will need to take on the biggest role of his career. Throughout the course of his career, Wilson has never eclipsed 42 receptions, 554 yards, or four touchdowns in a single season. He has the skills to be a major part of a passing attack, but his production has yet to match his ability. The Dolphins will need Wilson to have a career year in order for the offense to reach its full potential.
Last Word on Albert Wilson
Albert Wilson is in position to be one of the most important members of the 2019 Miami Dolphins. The Georgia State product is currently penciled in as the slot receiver and should be heavily featured in the offense. Wilson showed an ability to be dangerous after the catch in 2018 and the new coaching staff will want to utilize his explosive ability. On top of that, Josh Rosen excels in the short passing game and a subpar offensive line should encourage quick passes. With Danny Amendola now in Detroit, Wilson will serve as the quick outlet.
If Wilson’s to reach his ceiling, he’ll first need to prove that he is fully recovered from his hip injury. The five-year NFL veteran should be physically ready for the start of the season, but he’ll need to prove that he can knock off the rust and pick up where he left off. Additionally, Wilson needs to prove that he’s capable of being a focal point of a passing attack. Wilson’s never handled a role like this before, as he’s been a complementary receiver throughout the majority of his career.
Albert Wilson doesn’t have the skills to put up Julian Edelman numbers, but he’s more than capable of doing what they envisioned from Danny Amendola. Look for Wilson to finish the season with around 65 receptions for 700 yards and five touchdowns.
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