In the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected the fastest wide receiver to attend the Combine this year. The Dolphins drafted Clyde (don’t call me Edmund) Gates, hoping that he would bring some much needed speed to the Dolphins offense. We wrote, during the lockout, that we loved the drafting of Gates. However, we cautioned that it might take some time for the rookie to get acclimated to the NFL level of play. After all, Gates is jumping from Division II to the NFL, which is a HUGE jump.
Since he was a 4th round pick, it was highly likely that Gates would make the Dolphins roster for 2011, but nothing is a given. Gates is said to be a hard worker and early reports from Dolphins’ camp indicate that he’s adjusting to the NFL level, just fine. It’s still very early in training camp, but we’ve seen a number of reports that suggest that Gates is ‘burning’ cornerbacks with his speed. Please keep in mind that there is minimal contact in these practices….But it is encouraging to see that Clyde knows how to use his best weapon..his speed.
Gates can run a fly pattern, that much is already clear. The thing that will make him a steal for the Dolphins in the 4th round will be his ability to run the other routes on the WR route tree. Yes, he has the speed of a gazelle, but does he have the quickness to get in and out of breaks? How precisely can he run his routes? Can he make the hard catches in traffic? It’s still WAY to early to answer those questions, but we’ll know soon enough, once the preseason games start. If nothing else, at least the Dolphins finally have a speedster that might be able to help stretch the field come September.
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