Heavy Competition at Wide Receiver?

The Dolphins' receiver unit is filled with relative unknowns and unproven players, most of whom haven't established themselves as players, much less playmakers in the NFL.

General manager Jeff Ireland won't deny Miami's receivers are the biggest question mark on the Dolphins' roster following the Brandon Marshall trade considering his front-line players are Davone Bess, a former undrafted slot specialist, and Brian Hartline, who has scored all of six touchdowns in his three NFL seasons.

Then there's Legedu Naanee, who has been dumped by two NFL teams the past two seasons. The last of which was the Carolina Panthers, a squad that's starving for playmakers.

"We definitely have a lot of guys that are capable," said Hartline, who caught 35 passes for 549 yards, but scored just one touchdown last season. "It's about finding the right guys and competing at a high level."

Hartline is referring to receivers that complement one another, bringing different traits to the game. The Dolphins' coaches believe that will help the team maximize the West Coast offense, the up-tempo style coach Joe Philbin is bringing with him from Green Bay.

"I know a lot of people are worried we don't have a standout guy. Well, that's baloney," quarterback Matt Moore said, standing up for his unit. "We got five guys that are that guy. I mean, especially in this offense, it really tailors to them. Any one of them can get the ball at any time and that's just the way it is on all plays."

Ireland hasn't ruled out adding a veteran receiver to the unit, but at the moment he's in favor of seeing if the cream rises to the top, and how that player performs when semi-real bullets are flying during the exhibition season. Ireland's hopeful a receiver or two will "separate himself from the pack."

There are 12 receivers on the roster competing for five or six spots on the team's 53-man roster, and considering the team's history, undrafted players like Jeff Fuller and Derek Moye have as much of a chance to make it as B.J. Cunningham and Rishard Matthews, the team's two late-round draft picks.

That's how Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore got on the roster two years ago as undrafted rookies. The Dolphins cut Patrick Turner, a 2009 third-round pick, and quarterback Pat White, a 2009 second-round pick, to keep them. And the pair has stuck around ever since, with the team developing the duo for this opportunity.

"It's a long journey knowing that you've got to come from the bottom to the top," said Moore, who has contributed six receptions for 128 yards, and scored one touchdown in his two seasons. "In the long run it helps your tenacity because you come out here knowing you've got a chip on your shoulder and you have to outperform everybody else, whether they are a draft pick or they've been here."

Philbin admits he still doesn't have a good feel for the type of weapons Miami has at receiver, but a lot of that uncertainty has to do with the limitations put on NFL teams during OTA sessions.

"We haven't seen a lot of press man-to-man yet, one of the things that will be interesting to see will be how we do against man coverage, guys that can separate from man coverage that is going to be important," Philbin said. "We are looking for guys who can potentially make a play on a vertical ball down the field to the degree that we can practice that, we aren't going to have all out wars for the ball, but that is something that is going to be very important.

"And probably third, a guy that is a consistent ball catcher," Philbin said. "I know that it sounds simple, but it is sometimes overlooked, sometimes the importance isn't placed on just the ability to consistently catch the football well. Those are three things I know in my mind I'm watching these guys, looking for."

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