NFL Nation: Jarvis Landry

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
4:10
PM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 41-13 loss Sunday against the New England Patriots.

What it means: The Dolphins (7-7) continue their late-season free fall in ugly fashion. They lost their third game in four weeks to drop to .500 and essentially end their playoff hopes. The Patriots took advantage of Miami's mistakes and scored 21 points off turnovers. This blowout loss makes you question the status of Joe Philbin, who dropped to 22-24 in three seasons as the Dolphins' head coach. They most likely will miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.

Stock watch: The stock is rising for Miami's deep ball. This was a penny stock most of the season, because the team was reluctant to even try taking deep shots most weeks. But the Dolphins' passing offense was aggressive at times, which included five deep throws in the first half. It worked three times on a pair of bombs to receiver Mike Wallace and a pass interference call against Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner. As far as stock plummeting, Miami's third-quarter performance took a major tumble. The team was an astounding plus-72 in third-quarter scoring this season, but the Patriots were the dominant team after halftime. New England scored a franchise-record 24 points in the third quarter to set the tone and pull away from Miami in the second half.

Show of respect: Patriots coach Bill Belichick is good at providing interesting wrinkles and coaching adjustments. One change he made from the first meeting was to put Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis on Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry in the slot on key passing downs. Landry has really come on in the season's second half and entered the game leading Miami in receptions. That is a sign of respect from Belichick to put his best coverage player on Landry, who finished with eight catches for 99 yards.

Game ball: There weren't many kudos to pass around following a blowout loss, but Wallace showed off his big-play ability with five catches for 104 receiving yards and a touchdown. His score was a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone. He also had a 50-yard bomb to start the game.

What's next: The Dolphins will return home for their final two games of the regular season. They will host the Minnesota Vikings next week and the New York Jets in Week 17. Those are winnable games that are important for Miami as the team tries to prove it can finish on a high note.
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins (7-6) began their preparation Tuesday for this weekend’s game against the New England Patriots (10-3).

Here are some notes and observations from Miami’s practice:
  • The Dolphins are a banged-up team heading into a must-win game. Starting linebackers Koa Misi (hamstring) and Jelani Jenkins (foot) were not practicing in the portion open to the media. Both players were injured in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Backups such as Jason Trusnik and Kelvin Sheppard are candidates to start if either linebacker cannot play.
  • Miami rookie outside linebacker Chris McCain (ankle) and receiver Jarvis Landry also spent time working with the trainer in early portion of practice open to the media. Landry injured his knee against the Ravens but returned to the game.
  • The Dolphins could have depth returning at cornerback. Starter Cortland Finnegan (ankle) and backup Jamar Taylor (shoulder) both practiced in the portion open to the media. Backup RJ Stanford started the past two games and would be replaced if either player returned.
  • It’s a big week for Dolphins right tackle Dallas Thomas. He gave up three sacks against Baltimore on Sunday and could be skating on thin ice. Miami coaches have been mum on potential lineup changes. Thomas for backup Jason Fox would be at the top of the list if coaches go in that direction. Thomas must have a good week of practice.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins concluded their second practice in preparation for the New York Jets.

Here is the Thursday injury report for Miami:

Taylor
Ruled out: LB Jonathan Freeny (hamstring), CB Jamar Taylor (shoulder)

Limited practice: WR Mike Wallace (chest), TE Charles Clay (hamstring, knee), G Daryn Colledge (back), CB Cortland Finnegan (ankle), LT Ja'Wuan James (neck)

Full practice: G Nate Garner (illness), QB Ryan Tannehill (left shoulder), WR Jarvis Landry (shoulder), RB Lamar Miller (knee), LB Koa Misi (ankle, knee), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)

Analysis: The Dolphins are in pretty good shape entering Week 13. Most of their "limited" players are expected to be ready for Monday’s rivalry game against the Jets. Finnegan, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury, is the major question mark. He worked primarily with trainers on Wednesday’s portion of practice open to the media, but increased his workload on Thursday. The Dolphins need depth at cornerback, especially with Taylor already ruled out against New York with a shoulder injury.
DAVIE, Fla. – Few NFL players know New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as well as Miami Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry. The longtime friends were college teammates and roommates at LSU and, according to Landry, the pair talk daily.

That is why Landry has a unique and well-informed perspective on Beckham's amazing, one-handed touchdown catch in last Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Some are calling it one of the greatest catches in NFL history, and Landry agrees.

“We were walking through the airport when it flashed across to the screen. I wanted to immediately, my reaction, I wanted to scream,” Landry said. “But I’ve seen him make that catch countless times. It’s one of the things that we always worked on in college, just throwing to each other. So it’s wasn’t something that I didn’t expect he couldn’t do. He’s a freak.”

[+] EnlargeBeckham
Al Bello/Getty ImagesAs exciting as it was, Odell Beckham Jr.'s catch didn't surprise former teammate Jarvis Landry.
Landry texted Beckham while he was still playing Sunday night. They spoke about the astounding catch soon after New York’s game finished.

In many ways, Landry and Beckham pushed one another to become top receiver prospects in this year’s NFL draft. Beckham was a first-round pick in New York and Landry went to Miami in the second round.

Landry said he and Beckham started working on one-handed catches together at LSU and did it regularly during their college careers. It still remains an important part of both receivers’ pregame routine. Landry also said there was a highlight tape of cutups during his time at LSU with various one-handed catches by him and Beckham that is amazing to watch.

“For me and him, it was just one of those things that we always challenged each other with,” Landry said. “We were always so competitive with each other. If he made a catch, I wanted to make a catch. If I made a catch, he wanted to make a catch. It was just one of those things that allowed us to push each other in college and got us to this point right now and gave us the ability to make these plays that we’re making.”

Both rookie receivers are having productive seasons. Beckham has 41 receptions for 609 yards and five touchdowns; Landry has 49 receptions for 450 yards and five touchdowns. The pair continue to encourage each other from a distance.

“We talk literally every day, whether it's FaceTime, text or whatever," Landry said. "We talk and just kind of challenge each other mentally. We know the physical aspect is there. But I think our friendship and our brotherhood that we have is one of the strongest parts of our lives.”

Landry said he's proud of his close friend for making such an amazing play. He also explained Beckham is going through an adjustment this week becoming an overnight sports celebrity and a household name.

“Now he says he can’t even touch his phone,” Landry said of Beckham. “Every time he touches his phone it freezes because he’s getting texts and Instagrams and stuff like that. So I definitely think it’s a hectic time for making the ‘catch of the century.’”

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
11:00
AM ET
A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

It is hard to criticize the Dolphins this week following a 38-14 blowout victory over the Oakland Raiders. Miami did nearly everything right and played a full 60 minutes of winning football for the first time this year. Most important, Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill (278 yards, two touchdowns) responded with his best game of the season to quiet critics about his status as the starter.

But even with the big victory, the Dolphins remain sloppy with ball security. Miami had three turnovers -- two fumbles, one interception -- and still beat the Raiders in London’s Wembley Stadium by 24 points. The Dolphins (2-2) can get away with a trio of turnovers against the awful and winless Raiders (0-4). But Miami can’t expect sustained success when turning over the football, especially against the better teams.

Miami's three turnovers came from Tannehill's fourth-quarter interception and a pair of fumbles by tailback Lamar Miller and rookie receiver Jarvis Landry on punt returns. You're not going to bench Tannehill or Miller for making errors. But one potential solution is to replace Landry at punt return after the bye week. Landry's had two fumbles on punt returns, and the Dolphins have veteran returner Marcus Thigpen back on the roster.

The Dolphins have nine turnovers in four games. Interestingly, all of Miami's games so far have been decided by 13 points or more. Turnovers were a factor in the two losses to the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but were a non-factor in wins over the Raiders and New England Patriots.

According to data from ESPN Stats and Information, 36.2 percent of teams that start 2-2 make the playoffs. The Dolphins must reduce turnovers in order to increase that probability of getting into the postseason.

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
11:00
AM ET
A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of issues. But one silent killer has been dropped passes by wide receivers and tight ends, and it needs to stop immediately when Miami (1-2) travels to London to play the winless Oakland Raiders (0-3).

According to Pro Football Focus research, the Dolphins are second in the NFL with 11 drops after three games. Only the Baltimore Ravens (12) have more dropped passes. Miami had three drops in Sunday's 34-15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs all the help he can get. He's on the hot seat and struggling with his accuracy (56.5 completion percentage) early in the season. On Sunday, Tannehill threw the ball well in the first half, but tight end Charles Clay and receivers Brian Hartline and Jarvis Landry all failed to bring in receptions that could have moved the chains early and potentially put points on the board.

Miami’s sloppiness on offense early led to a 14-3 halftime deficit against Kansas City, and the Dolphins weren’t able to overcome in the second half. The best solution is for receivers and tight ends to continue to do extra work during and after practice catching the football. It’s a group-wide issue -- not just one or two players -- so lineup changes wouldn't work.

Observation Deck: Miami Dolphins

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
10:10
PM ET
 

MIAMI – If something happens this season to Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins have reason to feel secure in their backup quarterback. Eight-year veteran Matt Moore capped a strong preseason Thursday in a 14-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.


Moore was 5-of-8 passing (62.5 percent) for 38 yards in just one quarter of play. But most importantly Moore finished the exhibition season 30-of-46 passing (65.2 percent) for 368 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in three games.

Tannehill and many other starters did not play Thursday as they rest for Miami’s regular-season opener Sept. 7 against the New England Patriots. Tannehill is durable and started all 32 games his first two seasons. But Moore also showed this preseason that he’s capable and ready this year if called upon.

Here are some other thoughts on the Dolphins' final preseason game:
  • Thursday was a huge game for Miami backup running back Daniel Thomas. The former second-round pick is on the roster bubble after suffering a hamstring injury, and other rookie running backs (Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa) have shown flashes. Thomas rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown against St. Louis' backups. The Dolphins will have an interesting decision to make on whether Thomas did enough to make Miami’s 53-man roster. The Dolphins have to make their final cuts by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
  • Dolphins kick returner and receiver Marcus Thigpen was another player who was injured this preseason and needed a good showing while on the roster bubble. He produced a mixed bag. First, Thigpen had an awful bobbled punt in the second quarter; he fumbled it twice and nearly turned over the ball. Then, Thigpen had a nice 32-yard punt return in the second half. Backup receivers Jarvis Landry and Damian Williams are both capable of splitting the return duties, which will make the roster decision with Thigpen interesting.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan started his first preseason game, one that marked his final game action until October following a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Jordan recorded two tackles against the Rams. Rookie linebacker Chris McCain registered two sacks and should make the 53-man roster after a strong preseason and training camp.
  • Injuries are always a concern in this final preseason game. Miami rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp, who has been a bright spot in training camp, suffered a chest injury in the first quarter. He was taken to the locker room with trainers and did not return to the field. Other than that, the Dolphins exited the game in good health.

Observation Deck: Miami Dolphins

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
10:38
PM ET


The Miami Dolphins knew they were in for a tough test offensively Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Miami's first-team offense was nearly perfect in one touchdown drive against the mediocre Atlanta Flacons’ defense last week. But Tampa Bay has defensive talent at a lot of positions, and the Dolphins’ offense would be on the field longer.

The result was a mixed bag for Miami's starting offense during a 20-14 win over Tampa Bay. The first-team offense produced three points in three drives. The other two resulted in a punt and a lost fumble by starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The good news is Tannehill threw the football well. He was 9-of-14 passing for 110 yards.

Tampa Bay’s defense was able to expose some things needed to improve in Miami's new offense under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Here are some other thoughts on the Dolphins' second preseason game:
  • Dolphins starting right guard Dallas Thomas struggled mightily. Thomas had the tough task of Tampa Bay Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Thomas gave up a sack and fumble to McCoy in the first half, another hit on Tannehill and a tackle for loss. Thomas also had a false start in the second quarter when McCoy was not in the game. Questions will certainly arise whether Thomas can handle the starting job for 16 games. Miami has other options to explore if Thomas continues to struggle. Rookie third-round pick Billy Turner and veteran free-agent signing Shelley Smith could get another look next week in practice.
  • Miami’s running game also remains a cause for concern. Starting running back Lamar Miller rushed for just 3 yards on three carries. He had just 11 yards on four carries last week against Atlanta. Miami is getting little push from its offensive line in the running game. In the first half when starters and key backups played, the Dolphins rushed for minus-5 yards on nine carries.
  • It is only the preseason, but Dolphins starting cornerback Brent Grimes produced one of the best plays of the exhibition season. Tampa Bay rookie receiver Mike Evans made a strong catch over the middle and broke through a tackle attempt by Miami safety Jimmy Wilson. Evans appeared on his way to a touchdown, but Grimes hustled from the opposite sideline to force a fumble before Evans reached the end zone. After review, the Dolphins were awarded the football via a touchback. For a Pro Bowl cornerback to hustle that much in a preseason game says a lot about Grimes.
  • The Dolphins showed off their depth at receiver. Backups Brandon Gibson, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams all made their presence felt against Tampa Bay. This foursome combined for nine receptions and one touchdown catch. Miami might want to consider trading one of its lower-level receivers in order to gain depth at another position.
  • Miami backup quarterback Matt Moore virtually locked up the No. 2 quarterback job Saturday night. Moore was 13-of-19 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown. He threw a nice touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone to Matthews before halftime. The Dolphins signed veteran quarterback Brady Quinn this week to push Moore. Quinn was the third quarterback Saturday and was 4-of-4 passing for 22 yards.

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 11

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
1:30
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:
  • It was a bounce-back day for Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He struggled mightily this week and had his two worst practices of training camp on Monday and Tuesday, when he threw a combined six interceptions. But Tannehill was sharper Wednesday. He made several nice throws to receivers Damian Williams and Rishard Matthews. Tannehill did have one interception in practice, but the pass was tipped and fell into the hands of Miami linebacker Jason Trusnik.
  • The “Play of the Day” goes to Miami rookie receiver Jarvis Landry. Not known for his speed, Landry surprised the Dolphins’ defense by running past defensive back Kevin Fogg for a 50-plus yard touchdown reception in team drills. Landry caught the ball in stride on a ball thrown by Miami backup quarterback Seth Labato. Landry received a high-five from teammate Mike Wallace, who usually runs the deep routes. Landry, a second-round pick, has been very good so far in training camp. He’s steady, reliable and will be difficult for the coaching staff to keep off the field at this rate.
  • On the injury front, the Dolphins saw the return of running back Knowshon Moreno, who missed all of training camp because of knee surgery. Moreno dressed in full pads but only participated in individual drills. It seems unlikely that he will play this week in Miami’s exhibition opener. Also, starting defensive end Olivier Vernon returned to practice Wednesday from a back injury. Vernon’s chances of playing Friday are more optimistic.
  • New Dolphins center Samson Satele got first-team reps for the third day in a row. Therefore, it would be surprising if he is not the starter Friday against the Atlanta Falcons. Satele signed a one year, $2 million contract over the weekend and split first-team reps on Monday. But the past two practices Satele has worked nearly exclusively with the first team. Satele is expected to replaced injured Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey in Week 1 of the regular season. “All we have to do is solidify,” Satele said. “Once you find that five, and then just work the next couple weeks of communicating up front.”
  • The Dolphins will have their first “travel day” of the 2014 season. They are off from practice and heading to Atlanta on Thursday. Miami will play its preseason opener at 7 p.m. Friday against the Falcons.

Dolphins Camp Report: Day 5

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
4:00
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Miami Dolphins training camp:


  • It was another sloppy day for the offense. The Dolphins are experiencing growing pains learning an up-tempo scheme under first-year coordinator Bill Lazor. This was one of those sessions where the Dolphins had poor throws, numerous drops and offensive line issues. I counted at least five drops by Miami receivers in what was probably the worst practice by the offense since the opening day of training camp. "I obviously haven’t looked at the film yet, but my instincts tell me that the defense had the upper hand," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin admitted.
  • The center position is starting to become a major concern. For the second day in a row, Shelley Smith had two errant snaps to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The second bad snap was a ground ball that skipped past Tannehill in team drills. Soon after, backup center Nate Garner finished practice on the first team. Miami tried several different combinations in an effort to find the best five on the line. In addition to Garner, rookie guard Billy Turner also worked with the first-team offense at times on Wednesday.
  • The play of the day goes to Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline. Early in team drills Hartline beat cornerback Jamar Taylor deep for a 60-plus yard touchdown reception. Miami’s offense protected Tannehill enough for him to throw a pretty deep ball that Hartline caught in stride. To Taylor’s credit, he responded with an interception of Tannehill and had a couple of tipped passes.
  • The three punt returners Wednesday were receivers Marcus Thigpen, Jarvis Landry and Rantavious Wooten. Thigpen is the incumbent but must compete to keep his job with punt and kick returns.
  • On the injury front, Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace had the day off. He said earlier this week his hamstring was tight. Backup center Sam Brenner, who was carted off the field Tuesday, did not practice but spent time on the sideline watching the offensive line. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) continue to be on the physically unable to perform list and worked on the side with a team trainer.

The Dolphins will continue their training camp Thursday at 8 a.m. ET.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins shook things up on the final day of mandatory minicamp. Instead of a typical practice, head coach Joe Philbin staged a full-scale scrimmage between the aqua team led by starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the white team led by No. 2 quarterback Matt Moore.

In the end Moore's white team won, 16-13, in a game that came down to the final play. Players were happy to get a taste of their first "game" situations of the 2014 season.

"It's exciting to be in this type of atmosphere," Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry said after the scrimmage. "We've been talking a lot about bringing that intensity to the field, and I think the guys came with it today in practice. Hopefully, it carries on when we return."

The Dolphins will take about a month off before returning to the field for training camp.

Here are some additional notes from Thursday's scrimmage:

  • [+] EnlargeOlivier Vernon and Ryan Tannehill
    AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeOlivier Vernon was one of the stars of Friday's scrimmage, notching 2.5 sacks.
    The most lopsided battle was Miami's defensive line against its offensive line. The Dolphins' defensive line on both teams put on a dominant performance, which unofficially included eight total sacks. Olivier Vernon led the Dolphins with 2.5 sacks, including a pair against Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. "He's real, real good," Albert said after the scrimmage. "I didn't even know who he was until I got here. He's a good football player. He made some good plays. That's part of the game. He got better since I got here."
  • Dolphins rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James also struggled against Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake. The veteran defensive end showed an array of moves. Wake got a half sack against James and nearly got another sack that caused James to get a holding penalty. "His experienced level, his technical stuff, his hands, everything is good," James said of Wake. "You can't make many mistakes and I have to learn from it."
  • Tannehill had a decent outing for the aqua team. He threw his team's only touchdown pass with a beautiful 19-yard strike to receiver Armon Binns. Tannehill also made several connections to Landry and tight end Charles Clay that moved the chains. The primary reason his white team stalled was due to poor pass protection, which was a common theme from last season. The Dolphins allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks last season.
  • Speaking of Landry, he looked more impressive in a game situation Thursday. Landry isn't the biggest or fastest receiver. But he has strong hands and runs good routes. Landry got open on several occasions and made some nice catches over the middle for first downs. He could be a "gamer" type of player -- one who doesn't wow you in practice but knows how to play well in real games.
  • Veteran players who sat out of Thursday's scrimmage included defensive lineman Jared Odrick, cornerback Cortland Finnegan, linebacker Koa Misi and running back Knowshon Moreno.
  • Former Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor continues to assist the team's coaching staff and work with Miami's young defensive linemen. According to Philbin, Taylor is always welcome to help but the Dolphins haven't finalized anything in terms of a full-time position. From the sound of it, Taylor could have a choice to join the team in some capacity as long as he's willing to put in the long hours.
  • Now that the offseason program is over, Philbin was asked to list several players who stood out. Philbin cited guard Dallas Thomas, receiver Rishard Matthews and cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The 2014 organized team activities (OTAs) are coming to a conclusion this week for the Miami Dolphins. There will be mandatory minicamp next week. Then, the Dolphins will take more than a month off before training camp.

ESPN.com’s Dolphins page has attended every OTA open to the media. Here are some takeaways from the past three weeks:
  • Thomas
    The surprise player from spring practices has been second-year offensive lineman Dallas Thomas. The former third-round pick didn’t contribute anything during his rookie season. Not much was expected of Thomas, especially after the Dolphins drafted a similar player in 2014 third-round pick Billy Turner. But Thomas showed up for offseason workouts in good shape and is flashing good athleticism. He’s done enough to earn the inside track on the starting left guard position next to Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. Thomas’ next task is to hold off Turner when the pads come on in training camp and the preseason.
  • Speaking of Turner, early impressions are he still has a lot to learn. Turner played left tackle last season at North Dakota State and is still working on improving leverage. From what I’ve seen, Turner still stands a little high at times and looks like a left tackle playing guard. Turner also needs to work on his punch. These are things that should improve with experience. But Turner is running out of time if he wants to be a Week 1 starter.
  • Thigpen
    The more practices that go by, the more I think Dolphins return specialist Marcus Thigpen won’t make the 53-man roster. Thigpen has been Miami’s primary kick returner the past two seasons. But with rule changes and less emphasis on kick returns, Thigpen’s value has decreased and he doesn’t offer much in other areas. The Dolphins have moved Thigpen from running back to wide receiver this offseason, but Thigpen isn’t making plays. If Miami can find a decent alternative to return kicks this preseason, Thigpen could be on the outs. Other possibilities include receivers Damian Williams and rookie Jarvis Landry.
  • Bill Lazor’s new offense is getting rave reviews in Miami. Many of the concepts the Dolphins’ first-year offensive coordinator is implementing make sense and are an improvement over last season’s offense under Mike Sherman. But one thing I noticed that could be risky is the amount of pressure Lazor’s scheme puts on the offensive line. There are a multitude of passing plays that involves four and five options. More eligible receivers mean less protection for the quarterback. Lazor is relying on his quarterback to make quick reads and get rid of the football, which is an area Ryan Tannehill must improve.
  • Finnegan
    Cortland Finnegan is starting to establish his role on the defense. He currently has the inside track to start at cornerback opposite Pro Bowler Brent Grimes. But Finnegan also is getting a look inside as the nickel cornerback on obvious passing downs. Finnegan is a physical cornerback, and the Dolphins believe those traits can help get the defense off the field on third down. Other possibilities for the nickel corner include versatile defensive backs Jimmy Wilson and Michael Thomas.

The Dolphins will wrap up their offseason program with mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
DAVIE, Fla. – On the first day of rookie minicamp, new Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry worked on routes needed as a slot receiver, an outside receiver, played gunner on special teams and even discussed the possibility of returning kicks. It could be that kind of rookie year for Miami’s second-round pick.

[+] EnlargeJarvis Landry
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeReceiver Jarvis Landry could see immediate playing time as a rookie because of his versatility.
The Dolphins ignored bigger needs earlier this month and drafted Landry because he’s a versatile and hard-nosed football player. He’s a wide receiver with the toughness of a hard-hitting safety. In fact, Landry was among LSU’s leaders in special-teams tackles during the early part of his collegiate career. That helped him earn the status of team captain last season.

But finding a role in Miami as a rookie will be one of the challenges for Landry and the Dolphins' coaching staff. The team already is deep at receiver with veteran starters Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, in addition to quality backups Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams. Landry could be as high as third on Miami’s depth chart by the end of training camp or as far back as fifth or sixth.

Rookie minicamp and organized team activities are valuable for Landry to begin finding his niche.

“It’s been a little bit of everything, just trying to learn the system as much as I can and trying not to be so one-dimensional,” Landry said Friday after his first practice. “[Coaches] have been putting us in different positions, making us learn every position on the field. It increases our chances of having success no matter where we line up.”

Special teams is a sure-fire way for Landry to get playing time in his rookie year. Landry was a strong gunner at LSU and also sure-handed enough to return kicks, despite the fact he doesn't have blazing speed.

If Landry or another rookie (Matt Hazel?) proves they can return kicks, it could put specialist Marcus Thigpen on the hot seat. The Dolphins like players with position flexibility and Thigpen hasn't provided much as a backup running back or wide receiver.

“There are a lot of guys that have those [return] skills, and that’s what we’re out here doing, just kind of further investigating,” Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said. “It’s one thing to do it at the college level. It’s another thing to do it at the NFL level. That’s what our coaches are working with these guys.”

Learning multiple positions as a rookie is not easy. It is difficult enough making the physical transition from college to the pros. However, Landry must be on top of the playbook at multiple positions mentally, as well.

“It’s very challenging, but the coaches, they give tasks and they expect them to be met,” Landry said. “It’s my job to study the way that I need to be on the field and have an effective offense.”

Miami Dolphins draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
May 10
6:49
PM ET
NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


DAVIE, Fla. -- A wrap-up of the Miami Dolphins' draft. Click here for a full list of Dolphins draftees.

[+] EnlargeJu'Wuan James
AP Photo/Wade PayneThe Dolphins targeted right tackle Ja'Wuan James, and they got him with the 19th overall pick.
Best move: The Dolphins, as expected, plugged their biggest hole of need in the first round. Miami spent the No. 19 overall pick to select former Tennessee right tackle Ja'Wuan James. He was a durable, four-year starter whom Miami believes will be ready to play in Week 1. The only question with this pick is whether Miami had to take James at No. 19. The Dolphins were talking to other teams about trading down to acquire more picks and perhaps could have landed James in the 20s, but Miami says it was safer to take James, whom general manager Dennis Hickey says was the best player on the board. If James turns out to be a quality starter for a long time, no one will care that James was taken at No. 19 instead of later in the first round. James will pair with Pro Bowler Branden Albert as Miami's two new offensive tackles in 2014.

Riskiest move: The Dolphins didn't make a lot of risky moves in this draft, but fourth-round pick Walt Aikens comes with a red flag. Aikens was kicked out of Illinois after his arrest for felony possession of stolen electronics in 2010. According to Aikens, he bought a laptop from a teammate that turned out to be stolen. Aikens pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and was forced to leave Illinois. He continued his career at Liberty and worked his way into a fourth-round pick. The Dolphins did their homework into Aikens' background and felt he was worthy of the selection. According to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, Aikens was the first player drafted who wasn't invited to the NFL combine. Aikens said Saturday that he wants to compete for a starting job right away, but his best chance most likely is to compete on special teams.

Most surprising move: After playing it safe on Day 1, the Dolphins were wheeling and dealing on Day 2. Hickey produced three trades with the San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders in the second and third rounds, respectively. Miami traded down twice and moved up once. The result was the Dolphins drafting LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry at the end of the second round and offensive lineman Billy Turner near the top of the third round. Both players are expected to add depth to Miami's roster. But it was surprising to see Hickey, in his first draft, do a complete 180 in terms of aggressiveness on Friday.

File it away: Leadership was a major issue in Miami in 2013. The Dolphins went through a bullying scandal that caused a media firestorm and suffered a late-season collapse while having a chance to make the playoffs. Five of Miami’s first six drafted players -- James, Landry, Turner, tight end Arthur Lynch and linebacker Jordan Tripp -- were team captains for their respective college teams. That was not a coincidence. Hickey made it a point to acquire natural leaders to place in Miami’s locker room. The Dolphins are putting a heavy emphasis on character at the top of this draft as they work to remake their locker-room image.
DAVIE, Fla. -- On Friday, the major complaint in South Florida was that the Miami Dolphins didn't pull off a trade to move down in the first round of the NFL draft for more picks. General manager Dennis Hickey, in his first year, went the conservative route by staying at No. 19, where he took right tackle Ja'Wuan James. Many felt Hickey played it too safe.

But "Conservative Dennis" morphed into "Trader Dennis" on Day 2. Hickey resembled a busy stock trader on Wall Street by unexpectedly working out three deals in one day.

[+] EnlargeJarvis Landry
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertThe Dolphins' Day 2 haul included LSU receiver Jarvis Landry.
Here is the breakdown:

  • The Dolphins traded their initial second-round pick (No. 50 overall) to the San Diego Chargers for their second-rounder (No. 57) and fourth-rounder (No. 125).
  • Miami then traded again in the second round (No. 57) with the San Francisco 49ers for their second- and fifth-round picks (Nos. 63 and 171). The Dolphins selected former LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second round.
  • Finally, Miami quickly moved up in the third round (No. 67) to select North Dakota State offensive lineman Billy Turner after trading their third- and fourth-round picks (Nos. 81 and 116) to the Oakland Raiders.

By the end of the night, Hickey traded with every NFL team in the state of California. It was a bold move from Miami's first-year general manager and a complete 180 from the strategy we saw Thursday.

"Productive day; it felt like a day on the trading floor," a relieved Hickey said Friday night after finally catching his breath. "A lot of movement. I really have to say a special thanks to the people in the draft room working the phones. For every trade that's consummated, there's about 12 to 15 calls that are made before you actually get one. It's a lot of work."

Hickey was Miami's mystery man coming into this draft. He was on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 18 years under different regimes and never had final say on personnel. Therefore, it was difficult to pinpoint how much credit Hickey deserved for Tampa Bay's hits and misses over that span.

We learned much more about Hickey's draft personality in the past 48 hours. He's not afraid to play it safe, which he did in Day 1. Hickey also isn't afraid to shake things up, as evidenced by three Day 2 trades in a matter of hours. That kind of flexibility is a good trait for a general manager.

Of course, all of this wheeling and dealing means little if Hickey doesn't hit on these selections. He says he believes he drafted a competitive and reliable receiver in Landry, who played second fiddle to college teammate and first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. at LSU. Asked to describe his role in LSU's receiving corps compared to Beckham's, Landry said, laughing, "I was the reliable guy."

Turner comes from a small school but has flexibility to play guard and offensive tackle. His best shot for playing time is at guard, where he can compete with Sam Brenner, Nate Garner and Dallas Thomas for a starting job.

Time will tell if both Day 2 rookies pan out for the Dolphins. But Hickey deserves credit for manipulating the draft board to get players he covets.

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