Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dolphins Sign WR Todd Lowber to Practice Squad

As the Dolphins continue to make a playoff run, they've added a player who earned a Super Bowl ring less than a year ago. Newly signed to the Dolphins' practice squad is wide receiver Todd Lowber, who was on the Giants' practice squad for their 2007 championship run and went to camp with Dallas earlier this year.

Background

A college basketball player and high-jumping champion at Ramapo College in New Jersey, Lowber had never played organized football in his life prior to 2006. However, that didn't dissuade NFL teams from being interested in him. That's because Lowber measures in at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and can run the 40-yard dash between 4.1 and 4.2 seconds.

After holding a workout for NFL teams in April 2007, the Minnesota Vikings signed Lowber to a three-year contract. He appeared in three preseason games for the Vikings but caught no passes and was waived on Aug. 27 prior to the regular season.

Lowber was then signed to the practice squad of the New York Giants on Sept. 21. He was released on Oct. 15, re-signed on Nov. 20, then released again on Jan. 8. During this time, he was practice squad teammates with current Dolphins receiver Brandon London. The Giants re-signed him to a future contract in February 2008 but released him in June.

On July 23, Lowber was signed to the practice squad of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts. He remained there only a week before his release, at which time he joined the Dallas Cowboys for training camp.

Lowber's attempt to make the team was covered heavily on HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys. However, he caught just two passes for 44 yards during the preseason and was released on Aug. 30 during final cuts.

Lowber fills the practice squad spot vacated when guard Matt McChesney was promoted to the active roster last week. He gives the Dolphins two wideouts on the practice squad, joining Anthony Armstrong.

Analysis

Rarely have I been so excited about a practice squad signing.

I've followed Lowber's career since I first hear about him in early 2007 and have grown to become a big fan. He's got a great story and from what I can tell reading interviews and watching him on Hard Knocks, he's a good guy and had a truckload of determination and perseverance.

Also, despite him having no direct connection to anyone in the Miami front office (since anyone from Dallas was already here by the time the Cowboys signed him) I listed him as one of Six Potential Cowboys Cuts to Watch back in an August entry. It stands to reason the two franchises would still have similar tastes when it comes to players, and it appears that is the case here.

As one would expect given his lack of a football background, Lowber is very raw and is still not a refined NFL player. His route-running still needs work, as do most of the finer points of the wide receiver position. To be perfectly honest, he's not a lock to ever make it as a pro and it will take a lot of work if he is going to make it.

That being said, his physical tools are undeniable. He's got ideal wideout size (6-3, 200) and blazing speed (he's been timed under 4.2 in the forty). Combine that with his work ethic and determination, and he's easily a project worth undertaking for an NFL team. I'm just glad it's the Dolphins.

Todd Lowber interview on the way?

I'm happy to announce that Todd has agreed to take time out of his schedule to answer some questions in a Q&A session for this site. It will be my site's second interview, following last month's Q&A with tight end Joey Haynos. So be sure to check back in the next week for so for an exclusive Q&A with Dolphins wide receiver Todd Lowber!