Patrick Turner blossomed his senior season at USC, catching 49 passes for 741 yards and 10 TDs.
The Dolphins selected him 87th overall in last year's draft, hoping the 6-foot-5 target would make an impact on third downs and in the red zone. Turner was Mark Sanchez's favorite target at USC and led the Trojans in touchdowns his senior season.
Yet he failed to catch a pass his rookie year. He was a healthy scratch for all but two games. Ohio State rookie Brian Hartline, drafted 19 spots after Turner, caught 31 passes for 506 yards and a team-high three receiving touchdowns.
At the NFL scouting combine last month, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said Turner "has to step it up," but added, "He's a player for the future. We like the player very much. He's a big, huge target, which this quarterback needs. We feel very good about his development."
As Ireland noted, players develop differently, and Turner's college coach noted the process was a little longer at USC, too.
Pete Carroll, now with the Seattle Seahawks, talked about Turner at the NFC coaches media breakfast Wednesday as part of the NFL owners meetings at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes.
"I think Patrick is a guy who has to develop his relationship with the club," Carroll said. "It took him a while at SC to really take over. He had a very good junior year, but it took him all the way to his senior year, while other guys we had who played the position had taken over immediately as freshmen.
"We watched him develop a little more slowly and get comfortable. Once he did, he took over.
"I would bet that if it's [similar to his college transition], he'll develop a very comfortable feeling and be a factor for them. He's a very, very good player."