Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins have many playmakers despite receiver needing knee surgery

Miami Dolphins Leonte Carroo (88) catches a mid-field pass from QB Matt Moore as New York Jets Darron Lee (58) watches in the third quarter last season.
Miami Dolphins Leonte Carroo (88) catches a mid-field pass from QB Matt Moore as New York Jets Darron Lee (58) watches in the third quarter last season. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo is expected to soon undergo "minor" knee surgery to clean up loose bodies in his knee and that will cause him to miss next week's veteran minicamp, according to a source.

Carroo, a 2016 third-round selection, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late July. That seems like good news.

But the truth is Carroo will have to impress more than he ever has when that camp begins if he wants to make the team. That's because the Dolphins have much more talent at receiver in 2018 than they've had in recent years.

Coaches believe that's a great problem to have and some think they just might have it.

Kenny Stills remains a stalwart among Miami's receivers. The Dolphins are hoping DeVante Parker can finally overcome nagging injuries and play up to his very high but yet unmet potential. The team also signed veteran Danny Amendola to be a tough cover in the slot and he has already gained the confidence of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

That's three receivers the Dolphins know will be on the roster when the regular season begins.

Albert Wilson, signed this offseason as a free agent from Kansas City, and is perhaps outplaying all of the others in OTA practices so far this spring.

That's four.

Coaches also have seen promising signs from third-year receiver Jakeem Grant and they hope he can continue to expand on his abilities beyond sheer blazing speed. Grant was ahead of Carroo much of last year and remains there now.

So that's five receivers the Dolphins are likely to keep coming out of training camp -- barring an injury.

The math then becomes difficult for Carroo, who must hope the Dolphins stick with six receivers instead of five. And even then Carroo must beat out youngsters such as Isaiah Ford, Malcolm Lewis or Rashawn Scott to earn a spot.

The number crunch Carroo finds himself in has Dolphins coaches excited because they see an abundance of talent on the outside.

I'm told Wilson, among the additions, has impressed with his attitude inside the building, his work ethic on the practice field, his study habits and the fact he makes plays.

On Wednesday, during a rare OTA practice open to the media, Wilson made a sliding catch of an underthrown pass along the sideline. He made it seem routine. He also had a catch a yard or two beyond the line of scrimmage that he turned into a touchdown in the red zone.

“His speed is hard to ignore," coach Adam Gase said last week. "We saw first-hand how fast he is and what he can do, how he can stretch the field vertically. Then I think I’d look at a guy that when you put the ball in his hands, he makes plays."

The Dolphins offense hasn't made enough big plays in the passing game lately. Even in 2016, when the team was 10-6, the offense made much of its reputation by being very good running the football.

But now coaches are seeing Wilson, Grant, Stills, Parker, with Kenyan Drake coming out of the backfield, and there is no denying the speed Miami can potentially put on the field all at once is impressive.

The available speed is such a thing that players who can run sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash have all been claiming they're the fastest man on the team.

"Definitely," Wilson claimed.

"I'm faster than all of them," said Drake, who ran 4.3 coming out of Alabama in 2016, which is why his initial duties in Miami included returning kickoffs.

When I informed Grant of this on Twitter, he responded very quickly.

So we know where he stands on the topic.

Honestly, I'd suggest a 40-yard dash at the end of minicamp between Wilson, Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson and Kenyan Drake to benefit charity. On the other hand, forget that suggestion because, you know, groin tears, hamstring pulls, Achilles' ruptures, and calf injuries can happen.

So I'm not taking that bullet.

Anyway, the point is the Dolphins offense boasts the kind of speed that threatens big plays from anywhere on the field and from any number of positions.

Leonte Carroo, facing a short recovery time after a looming knee surgery, may be find it difficult to carve out a niche among that group.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero
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