So we are approaching the first preseason game of 2014 and at this point you can get an early feel for Dennis Hickey’s first offseason as GM of the Dolphins. Granted I do know that the performance of the regular season is what is the true measure of success. However in the early going it appears Dennis Hickey has done a solid job. In free agency he recruited Alberts, Delmas, Finnegan, Colledge, and Mitchell. They all appear to be solid veteran players the team really needed to mix with the younger players. Dennis Hickey’s first draft also appears to have a nice outlook. James, Landry, and Turner all appear likely to be solid contributors as rookies. Wow, is that was is like to get 2nd and 3rd draft picks that actually can become starters on your team as rookies? So as any fan would hope for, it looks like our new GM did a solid job in free agency and drafting. That in itself is very impressive. However, what is even more impressive are the “acorns” Dennis Hickey seems to have found. (Ok I used that on purpose since very few Jeff Ireland acorns ever turned into trees)
It is not easy, NOT EVEN IN THE VICNITY of easy to acquire rookie free agents after they draft that are much more than camp bodies. If you’re lucky maybe one makes it as a practice squad player or is a special teams player. It appears Hickey may have acquired two, yes TWO players that might not only make the team, but have the ability to be starters for this team at some point. Ireland had trouble getting players that could do that in the 2nd and 3rd round of the draft. Hickey also has two potential players that could develop into significant roles later in the season or maybe next season. In review here are my four favorite acorns to keep an eye on as you are watching the preseason games.
Anthony Johnson -DT - looks like he has moved in the mix as a reserve defensive tackle. This guy clearly has the ability to be starter in this league. It would not surprise me to see him working in the lineup as reserve during the season and being one of our top 3 tackles in a year or two. – It is almost unheard of to get a solid Defensive Tackle after the draft.
Damien Williams – RB – This guy has been flashing a lot. It looks to me like he has moved up to the #3 running back (at least with Moreno out with an injury) I think he has the ability to surpass Daniel Thomas. He clearly has the upside and ability to play running back in the NFL. At this point I am not sure it makes sense to keep both Moreno and Thomas. They are both on unrestricted free agents after the season and Williams is much younger and cheaper than both of them. It would not surprise me to see Williams take over as the #2 back in 2015. – Again very impressive for an undrafted player.
Gator Hoskins – TE - Quick question. If Charles Clay gets injured, what player is the closest to being capable of being the dual threat that he is? That player is Gator Hoskins. I doubt that he is on the active roster, but I do suspect he will be on the practice squad and I would not be shocked if was suddenly put on the regular roster if Clay gets hurt.
Chris McCain – LB- All the guy keeps doing is making plays. He is currently too small to be an every down linebacker. However, this is another guy I think may be put on the practice squad or even on the regular roster to play in passing downs and on special teams. If he can add another 10-20 pounds on his frame he may have the ability to even start at linebacker or be a solid reserve in 2015.
Let me know who your favorite acorns are and how you think Hickey has done.