Can the former Cowboy become Miami’s true slot receiver?
The Miami Dolphins were linked to Cedrick Wilson, formally of the Dallas Cowboys, early in the two-day negotiating period and signed the free-agent receiver shortly after the signing period started on March 16.
The deal quickly took the backseat as Miami moved five draft picks, which included the team’s first two selections in the 2022 NFL draft, for Tyreek Hill. It’s hard to ignore Hill’s 111 receptions and nine touchdowns — along with his new four-year $120 million extension. With that in mind, however, we shouldn’t forget about Wilson and what he’ll bring to rookie coach Mike McDaniel’s offense.
Wilson caught 45 passes for 602 yards last season and did most of his work inside, lining up in the slot 90.5 percent of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. While Wilson led the league in percentage of time lined up in the slot, Hill was there 53 percent of the time and former first-round pick Jaylen Waddle lined up in the slot 60 percent of the time last season.
“Besides the two fast guys, I feel like I’m one of the taller ones,” Wilson said when asked what made him different from Miami’s other receivers. “I feel like that’s probably the biggest aspect of it.”
Coming into the year, lining up in the slot is something each of the trio has in common. Additionally, only Hill, Cooper Kupp, DeVante Adams and Hill caught more touchdowns when lined up in the slot in 2021. Wilson, however, believes he can work out of any position on the field.
“I definitely like the slot. There’s a lot more room to work,” Wilson said. “But I definitely see myself as an overall football player which I can run, throw and catch. So pretty much any position I feel like I’ll be comfortable at, whether it’s inside or outside. But I definitely strive in the slot when I’m in there.
“I definitely like the slot a little more. I feel like that’s where I strive at and it’s closest to the quarterback so you get the ball easier.”
The Dolphins stuck close to the line a season ago, averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt, which was the fifth-lowest in the league. With Wilson and Hill now in the fold, that number should balloon — even if Miami’s offense continues to run through short passes near the line of scrimmage.
“The defense is looking at them [Hill and Waddle] the whole time so usually I get one-on-one,” Wilson said. “That’s my job to win.”