Yes, Cedrick Wilson. Not Tyreek Hill, not Terron Armstead, but Cedrick Wilson.
Now, it goes without saying that Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead are both exceptional football players, and along with many of the team’s other free-agent signings, they’re sure to make a big impact in Miami next season. However, the shrewd, clever, and almost “un-Miami-esque” signing of Cedrick Wilson may just be the Dolphins’ best acquisition this offseason.
Flashy players have come and gone in Miami, largely without success (I’m looking at you Mike Wallace). Cedrick Wilson, on the other hand, is, well, not that. The former Cowboys receiver signed with the Dolphins this spring on a 3-year deal worth $22.8 million, with $12.75 million guaranteed. A smart, team-friendly, pickup for Mike McDaniel’s offense. As a WR3 in Dallas last season, Wilson ended the season with 45 receptions for 602 yards, and 6 touchdowns.
Next season, I expect those numbers to increase, and here’s why.
In Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Miami has two of the best speedsters in football. In Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins also have one of the league’s best young tight-ends. These 3 players bring a boatload of qualities to Miami’s offense, not the least of which is attention. As Hill and Waddle fly down the sideline, and Gesicki takes away the eyes of big, bruising linebackers, where does that leave opposing defenses?
Lost. Up in the air. Discombobulated. In other words, they’re all over the place.
Take, for example, Mike McDaniel’s wide-zone run/RPO offense against your basic Cover 1 or Cover 2 defense. As previously mentioned, opposing linebackers will have their hands full dealing with the threat of Mike Gesicki, while simultaneously keeping an eye on any potential handoffs in the backfield. Meanwhile, safeties will be forced to slide over from the middle of the field to cover Hill and Waddle racing down the sideline. With all that in mind, where does that leave Cedrick Wilson?
Well, if all goes to plan, it leaves him wide-open at the top of his routes (likely drags, slants, or flats) with green grass in front of him as far as the eye can see. Here’s a prime example of this concept in action in San Francisco last year, with Mike McDaniel calling the play:
In short, with the threat of Hill or Waddle blowing past the defense for a 60-yard-touchdown (or getting gashed for a big run via Raheem Mostert or Chase Edmonds) looming over the defense, there’ll be PLENTY of space underneath for Wilson. This is where he can maximize one of his best qualities as a receiver, producing YAC. In fact, Wilson ranked 14th in the NFL last season in yards after the catch, with an average of 5.6 yards gained per reception. In comparison, Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle posted a 4.2 YAC average in 2021.
And finally, if all that wasn’t enough, it’s crucial to remember that Wilson will likely be lining up across CB 3’s and 4’s next season, not 1’s and 2’s. His direct opposition is much weaker than Hill or Waddle’s, much like his situation in Dallas with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
With all of this in mind, I expect Wilson to explode next year. Anywhere around the ballpark of 60 catches, 800 yards, and 7 touchdowns would be an exceptional return for a WR3. There’s a lot of moving parts, and many other things need to go to plan in order for Wilson to exceed expectations, such as the team’s offensive line play, overall rushing game, and the development of QB Tua Tagovailoa. But, it’s not out of the question at all, and it’s certainly possible.
Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, and many of Miami’s other stars will likely grab all the headlines at the start of next season. But I urge you, as all eyes at Hard Rock are focused elsewhere, take a glance at #11, Cedrick Wilson. More often than not, I think you’ll find yourself surprised at just how open he is.
What are your thoughts on Cedrick Wilson? Can he be a surprise star in Miami next season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!