2014 Preview: Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Brandon Gibson

Each year the National Football League has their own version of the draft. During this time, some of the best collegiate football players are eligible to be selected by professional teams. For months, teams prepare for this event, scouting every player possible. Still, despite the amount of hours that go into scouting players, there are always guys who slip through. In 2009, Brandon Gibson fell to the sixth round of the draft before being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite not accomplishing anything with Philadelphia, Gibson has been able to find himself a nice home in the National Football League.

After playing in just one game with the Philadelphia Eagles, Gibson, along with a fifth round pick was traded to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for linebacker Will Witherspoon. It did not take long for Gibson to leave his mark in St. Louis, catching twelve balls for 154 yards in his first two games.

In 2012, Brandon Gibson emerged as one of Sam Bradford’s most reliable receiver. He finished the season with fifty-one catches and career bests in receiving yards (691) and touchdowns (5). He also lead the team in first downs with 43. Gibson entered the offseason as a free agent, and due to his breakout season, multiple teams reached out to him. Ultimately, he decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins, as the two sides agreed to a three-year contract.

It appeared as if the Miami Dolphins struck gold with the signing of Gibson. He quickly developed a great on-field relationship with second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In week one against the Cleveland Browns, Tannehill targeted Gibson ten times, completing seven passes. Tannehill knew that he could trust Gibson as his primary slot receiver, and it definitely showed. In his first seven games with the Dolphins, Gibson had five or more receptions four times. Gibson’s best performance came against the Buffalo Bills in a week seven match up; catching five balls for forty-yards and two touchdowns.

With his work continuing to improve on the field, the Dolphin faithful had high hopes for Gibson moving forward. Things continued to ameliorate next week against the New England Patriots, as Gibson was able to put the first points on the board with an early touchdown reception. Everything was going great for Gibson, and then, disaster struck. Shortly after scoring, Gibson fell to a gruesome knee injury — landing awkwardly on his knee —  tearing his patellar tendon. The injury forced Gibson to miss the rest of the season.

So, what now for Gibson? Knee injuries — especially tears — are never an easy thing to come back from. That, tied in with the emergence of Rishard Matthews and the high selection of Jarvis Landry brings up the question of what will Miami do with Gibson. They just signed him to a three-year contract last year, so releasing him is unlikely. My guess is he will still get his chance to battle for the fourth spot with Matthews. With the Dolphins drafting Landry in the second round you would think he would get his chances early in the season. If Landry struggles, Gibson can easily be inserted back into a sizable role with the offense.

With the start of training camp just around the corner, the status of Gibson remains a question mark, as he is still not 100%. It is a legitimate question whether he’ll be able to regain his effectiveness from last season. Again, knee injuries are never easy to come back from and unfortunately for Gibson, that is not the only obstacle he has to overcome. The chances of him losing snaps to Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry are a real possibility. The NFL is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ type league. If Gibson is unable to bounce back from this injury, it could very easily cost him his job in Miami.

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