Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins believe they have key to making Leonte Carroo a valuable player

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo (88) keeps an eye on the goal as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) can't make the stop in the fourth quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, November 27, 2016.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo (88) keeps an eye on the goal as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) can't make the stop in the fourth quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, November 27, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

PHOENIX -- Leonte Carroo got off to a fast start for a Miami Dolphins rookie. But his finish was so disappointing, it had fans and media suggesting he was a draft bust after only one season.

Carroo was so promising out of college the Dolphins selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft and not only did the Dolphins use a pick on him, they gave up multiple picks, including a third-rounder, a fourth-rounder and other considerations to get into the round to select Carroo.

Carroo early on seemed worthy of the bounty Miami gave up. He had what seemed like a solid training camp and actually started the first game of the season at Seattle. Carroo caught two passes that day.

The problem?

He caught only three passes all year.

And he faded as the season progressed, so much so that he was a healthy scratch the final two regular season games. This while the Dolphins activated rookie Rashawn Scott, an undrafted free agent signee, ahead of the player they gave up multiple picks for.

There were also rumors -- not unfounded -- that the coaching staff was frustrated with Carroo’s practice habits and work ethic.

But there is hope.

According to sources, the Dolphins believe there can be a turnaround in 2017.

Sources say Coach Adam Gase has told his coaching staff that he believes he’s finally figured out how to make Carroo pay dividends. Gase is apparently optimistic Carroo can still be what the Dolphins believed they were getting when they picked him out of Rutgers.

It is unclear exactly what Gase has uncovered that he believes will ignite Carroo’s career. No doubt, today when Gase meets the media for breakfast at the NFL annual meeting, he will be asked about Carroo and the team’s plans for him.

Last year, the team initially asked Carroo to learn all three wide receiver positions because, well, there was a belief he could handle it the work load. The belief was misguided.

And as Carroo failed to show consistency in practice while DeVante Parker got healthy, Kenny Stills turned in a career year and Jarvis Landry did what Jarvis Landry has always done, Carroo got less playing time. Team sources believe Carroo became disappointed in himself and moped.

There will be no room for that sort of reaction in 2017.

The Dolphins do not believe Leonte Carroo is a bust.

But he has to answer questions and respond to the coaching Gase and his staff are about to offer so that he performs. And so the bust label does not stick.

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