Albert Wilson may not be a first-team wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, but he’s been first in the NFL in two intriguing categories.
Miami gave Wilson a 3-year, $24 million contract in part because he’s:
• First in the NFL in yards of separation (4.1) between receiver and defender on passing targets in 2017. (Next Gen Stats).
• First in the NFL in missed tackles per reception between 2014-2017. (Pro Football Focus).
These eye-opening stats make Wilson a dangerous target. And he’ll get a chance to put his skills on display Friday night at Carolina.
Wilson may even get to run first team as DeVante Parker will miss the game due to a broken finger. And Kenny Stills has not practiced recently due to an ankle injury.
Wilson is looking forward to getting more reps with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“It’s extremely important,” Wilson said. “You want to get with QB1. You want to hear his tone of voice. How his snap counts go. What he’s seeing in coverages. You definitely want to work all that in practice before you get out there in a game.”
But what can Wilson give Tannehill? It’s all in those stats cited above. So we wanted to ask Wilson more about how he does what he does best.
Q: What’s the key to getting that separation from defenders?
Wilson: You have to know what the defense has. You have to know how to get it going against zone or man. Mostly it really comes off of speed. Speed is one of the biggest things I have. Once I can get somebody running and committed to going somewhere and either cross their face or break out, that’s pretty much where the separation comes.
Q: How do you make guys miss?
Wilson: I’m a running back out there running routes, man. I’ve played running back all my life. As soon as I get the ball in my hands I turn into a running back. Whether it’s breaking an arm tackle or makings somebody miss in the open field, that’s my job. So I take pride in that. And they keep allowing me to do it. I’m going to keep doing it.
Miami coach Adam Gase personally recruited Wilson, who chose Miami over a chance to start elsewhere.
Gase has said Wilson has made a big jump forward in mastery of the play book since the spring. He’s going to find ways to utilize his strengths.
“He brings a professionalism,” Gase said. “You can tell he’s been in the league for a minute. I think he has a lot of tools, not only as a receiver but as a ball carrier, that we can take advantage of. He’s the type of guy that you just want to get the ball in his hands and really turn things into a punt return or try to get him to where at least he has a little space to where he can make an explosive play.”