By: Christian Chappell and Kayla Morton
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson has been in the NFL a complete six seasons, signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent back in 2014. After joining Miami, Wilson restructured his contract this offseason to remain with the team and compete for a roster spot.
Wilson will primarily be trying to earn slot (and playing) time amongst a large group of Dolphins hopefuls. He’s in the same boat for playing time as Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs.
Wilson, Ruggs Has Heavy Competition for Position
Wilson could see playing time competition from WRs Preston Williams, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford primarily, while Ruggs could see competition from WRs Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, fellow rookie Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones and Keelan Doss.
Wilson: Solid Numbers When Healthy
Wilson has been a member of Miami since 2018. Though the 2019 season gave Wilson his career-high in receptions with 43, the most yards he had come as a Chief back in 2017 with 554. Wilson has 193 receptions, 2,286 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.
He has never been a 1,000-yard receiver, but as a player who came into this league undrafted, his expectations have been met. Wilson has been a valuable member of a roster every year since being drafted, having a minimum of 26 catches every season since his rookie year and is averaging a clean 381 receiving yards a season. The only thing limiting his numbers are his constant injuries.
Ruggs: Three-Year Alabama Star
Ruggs is a rookie out of the University of Alabama drafted with the No. 12 overall pick. He spent three seasons at Alabama where he caught 98 balls for 1,716 yards and 24 TDs. Though the majority of his stats come from balls in the air, Ruggs did run the ball twice his last season for 75 yards and a TD.
Wilson, Ruggs Face-Off in Late Season with Possible Playoff Implications
These two receivers will compete with each other when the Dolphins meet the Raiders in Las Vegas for a week 16 matchup. It could be a stretch, but this game could see wild card spots up for grabs and could be a must-win situation for either team.
While both teams probably need at least one more year under their belts before being a viable playoff team, the expansion of a seventh playoff spot opens the 2020 door wider.
Miami, Oakland: A Season to Forget
These two teams will both be trying to make improvements from their disappointing 2019 seasons. These seasons, of course, were disappointing for different reasons. Miami started the season 0-7 and finished with a record of 5-11. Las Vegas, Oakland at the time, however spent the season fighting for a record over .500. It was 6-4 at one point in the season, but a late-season losing streak set them back too far causing them to miss the playoffs.
Both of these teams will be looking to make some big time improvements this upcoming season to give their rosters the pushes they need to succeed. If these teams are looking to make the playoffs, this matchup will likely be what does or doesn’t clinch a spot for either of these teams.
Depth Charts Show Similar Situations
Wilson’s history puts him in favor of having a better day over the rookie Ruggs, but not knowing how either roster will shake out, let alone to begin the season makes it hard to predict.
According to CBSSports.com, Williams is reported to be fighting for the first reserve WR spot after a disappointing 2019. Renfrow and Edwards have the No. 2 and No. 3 spot on its current depth chart respectively, making it seem as though Ruggs will have to fight his way into the starting spot through training camp.
On the same depth chart, Wilson is currently listed as the No. 3 but has Hurns, Grant and Ford right in the wings waiting to leapfrog him. Wilson’s injuries could play a factor, but right now there should be more confidence in Wilson’s playing time given both he and the Dolphins mutually agreed to restructure his contract with a pay cut to remain on the team.