Davy, Fla. — Will Fuller V pauses and chuckles. After years of questions from reporters, the Miami Dolphins’ new wide receiver was asked a simple question he may never have heard before. Why do people like deep touchdowns?

It’s a fast-paced, exciting game, Fuller said. Who doesn’t love it, those quick touchdowns that score points quickly?

The Dolphins signed Fuller to a one-year contract worth $10.625 million and $3 million in bonuses. He has made it clear that Miami also likes fast, agile touchdowns, so they should play a much bigger role in the Dolphins’ offense in 2021.

Fuller’s arrival is good news for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the offense. Miami had one of the slowest offenses in the NFL in 2020, and perhaps the biggest criticism of Tagovailoa was his lack of deep ball production. This is largely because the Dolphins rely on jump-ball receivers that are big targets in the red zone, rather than quick weapons that can make big plays on their own.

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Fuller’s elite speed (he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the 2016 Scouting Combine) should open up the Dolphins’ offense, which Fuller describes as electric, to Tagovailoa. Fuller said they have already exchanged text messages and phone calls to arrange workouts in Miami in the near future.

My track record speaks for itself. I’m a vertical threat, Fuller said. I bring an element to the Dolphins offense that can help the other guys and help the team continue to improve and win.

The figures speak for themselves. Fuller, 26, averaged 3 yards of separation in 2020, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, which was by far the best among Dolphins starters last season. Fuller’s score would be the second highest on the team, just behind wide receiver and return specialist Jakeem Grant (3.1).

The Dolphins have three leading scorers in DeVante Parker (1.7 yards, even), Mike Gesicki (2 yards, even) and Preston Williams (2.2, even), who all finished in the bottom 10 of the qualifying divisions in average distance last season.

When healthy, and that’s a big minus given his frequent injury problems including multiple hamstring strains, Fuller is ideal for the Dolphins’ offense. In every game, Fuller is a rusher who threatens defenses with his speed, even when he’s not a target. Parker, Gesicki and Williams remain key playmakers, and Fuller’s presence should give them more freedom. This will work and vice versa, as defenders will have a hard time doubling up on any of them, as they all offer different matchup problems.

I also have fewer skills, but that makes it a lot easier for me because I can just score in every game, Fuller said. It opens up a lot of possibilities for me, so I use it to my advantage.


– Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 20, 2021

The Dolphins’ new co-offensive coordinators, George Godsey and Eric Studsville, will have more flexibility as assets on the outside and in the slot with Fuller’s speed. The bypass option is expected to become a major part of the offense, so Fuller’s speed is an additional layer of conflict for the defense.

Fuller averaged 12.5 air yards per target in 2020, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, a number that led the Houston Texans and Dolphins. Tagovailoa, a former Alabama stronghold, is used to fast receivers who can get distance. He excelled with an accurate deep ball, and excellent timing and accuracy on short and intermediate routes.

The receiver caught 53 passes for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, the last two of which led the Dolphins, although Fuller only appeared in 11 games due to a doping suspension. He has yet to file a game in 2021, although he assured the Dolphins that this was a one-time mishap.

Miami could draft one or two more offensive playmakers in the first round (#3 and #18). Receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Weddle (Alabama), Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) and tight end Kyle Pitts (Florida) are among the top receivers, while Najee Harris (Alabama), Javonte Williams (North Carolina) and Travis Etienne (Clemson) are among the top running backs. Bringing in a player from each group would complete Miami’s priority of surrounding Tagovailoa with elite players.

The Dolphins are off to a good start, as the arrival of Fuller is a boost for the coaches, the offensive players and especially Tagovailoa.

And, Dolphins fans could be the biggest winners. Who doesn’t love deep touchdowns?

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