With their first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected wide receiver Phillip Dorsett out of Miami, and it was a pick that was greeted with mixed reactions by Colts fans. On one hand, Dorsett is a good player who should help the Colts, but on the other hand many thought that there were better picks available and a bigger need on defense. Both sides have fair points, but the reality is that the Colts drafted Dorsett, and there's a lot to like about him.
In order to better understand just what type of player the Colts are getting in Dorsett, Stampede Blue spoke with Cameron Underwood, one of the managing editors at State of the U, SB Nation's site covering the Miami Hurricanes.
Our questions are in bold, and then his answers follow. A big thanks to Cameron for taking the time to answer our questions.
1. What are Dorsett's biggest strengths?
Obviously, his speed is his biggest asset. He's a burner who has clocked in at 4.33 (combine) and 4.27 (UM Pro Day) and that speed is easy to see during game action. Give Dorsett a crease and he is GONE. Not only is he too fast to cover individually, pursuing defenders can be made to look foolish as he will outrun even the best pursuit angles.
Apart from his speed, Dorsett has good hands and is a natural pass-catcher. Yes, he dropped a couple balls (what WR doesn't?), but Dorsett's hands are one of his strength.
2. What are his biggest weaknesses?
Dorsett isn't very strong, so he can be bullied by press coverage if the DB can get his hands on him.
For a player with Dorsett's speed, you'd expect him to be quicker and more elusive on the field. That wasn't he case in his time at Miami. He tested very well in the change of direction drills at the Combine and UM Pro Day, so maybe this improves with NFL coaching.
3. What was his role like in Miami's offense?
Dorsett was used to stretch the field almost exclusively. If you watch his highlights, we loved to get him the ball deep down the field off of play action. His speed also forced teams to play off of him, so he was targeted on some outs and comeback routes with the DB bailing to protect from getting run by.
When Dorsett wasn't targeted (far too often, but that's another discussion for another day), his mere presence made teams tilt their coverages to bracket him. There wasn't a DB in college who could cover him one on one, and every team know where he was on every play to prevent him from blazing a path to the endzone.
Dorsett didn't run many reverses but again, he can impact the flow of the defense by motioning across the formation or running the "orbit" end-around portion of play-action.
4. How much experience did he have as a return man at Miami, and how do you think he would do in that area?
Dorsett started as a return man early in his career, and played there regularly throughout his time at The U. He was a dynamic return man in his time in High School as well, so he has plenty of experience in this area.
The aforementioned lack of short area quickness was something that, in my mind, kept him from being a Devin Hester type return man. He has the straight line speed to outrun anybody, but Dorsett struggled to make that 1 man miss to turn a 18 yard return into a 92 yard touchdown.
With the new NFL kickoff rules in place, I think that Dorsett could excel in the return game. Giving him more space to operate with is a good thing, and maybe his continued physical development will give him the "make a man miss" skill that would help him really be a top notch return guy.
5. What are your overall thoughts/impressions on the Colts' pick of Dorsett? Was it a good move? Was it good value? What are your thoughts?
Overall, I like the pick. Dorsett was one of the hottest draft prospects leading up to Thursday's first round, and I think it was great value to get him at 29th overall.
I get where some Colts fans were upset at taking a WR (any WR, because they thought the focus should have been on defense), but if there wasn't a defensive player you really wanted at that spot, you could have done much worse than taking Phillip Dorsett.
And, he'll be around plenty of former Hurricanes in Indy who will help his transition to the NFL, help him learn what it is to be a professional, and hopefully help him take his game to even higher levels of performance.
Thanks again to Cameron Underwood of State of the U for taking the time to answer our questions!