Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dolphins Claim WR Chris Hannon Off Waivers From 49ers

Two days after placing guard Justin Smiley on injured reserve with a broken leg, the Dolphins have filled their vacant roster spot by claiming wide receiver Chris Hannon off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers. Undrafted in 2006 out of Tennessee, the 49ers waived Hannon on Dec. 2 after he spent one game on the active roster.

Background

A Sarasota native, Hannon was a four-year letterman for the University of Tennessee from 2002–2005. His most productive season came as a sophomore in 2004 when he caught 21 passes for 319 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with 69 receptions for 850 yards and 12 touchdowns.

On his pre-draft measurables, I'll just turn it over to KFFL.com:
"...Tennessee WR Chris Hannon measured a height of 6-3 and a weight of 207 pounds at his Pro Day. He ran the 40-yard dash with times of 4.38 seconds and 4.37 seconds. He was able to complete the short shuttle in 4.29 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.24 seconds. He finished with a 36 1/2 inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-7 long jump."
Hannon went undrafted in the 2006 NFL Draft and was subsequently signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He caught two passes for 54 yards in the 2006 preseason and split the regular season between the practice squad and the active roster, but did not see any game action. He caught seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the 2007 preseason but was waived by the Chiefs during final cuts on Sept. 1.

Hannon spent the 2007 regular season on the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers and was signed to a future contract in 2008. He caught three passes for 75 yards and a touchdown during the 2008 preseason but was waived on Aug. 30.

The San Francisco 49ers signed Hannon to their practice squad the following day. He was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 29 after the team waived linebacker Ahmad Brooks but was inactive for the team's No. 30 contest against the Buffalo Bills. The team waived Hannon and re-signed Brooks on Dec. 2.

Hannon was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins on Dec. 3 and assigned No. 14, which was previously worn by undrafted rookie receiver Jayson Foster in camp. The Dolphins play Hannon's old team, the 49ers, on Dec. 14.

Analysis

As I mentioned in my article on the Smiley injury, the Dolphins replaced Greg Camarillo with an offensive lineman last week so it was possible the Dolphins might add a fifth receiver to fill Smiley's spot. Being the genius I am, it appears I was right on the money.

It's hard to know at this point if there's any hidden motivation behind Miami's claiming of Hannon. It's a coincidence to say the least that the Dolphins play Hannon's former team in only 10 days, though not being an NFL player I'm not exactly sure how much of an advantage can be gained from adding a team's former player and picking his brain.

The first publication to report the claiming, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, points out this coincidence but fails to realize the Dolphins only had four receivers and had carried five all season until Greg Camarillo went on injured reserve last week.

Whatever the reason, practice squad receiver Anthony Armstrong has to be disappointed he has yet to get the call to the active roster. The former arena league speedster showed some deep-play ability in the preseason and has been on the practice squad since the regular season began.

Still, it's not hard to see Hannon's appeal and the Dolphins' interest could very well be legitimate. He's sort of out of the Brandon London mold with good size (6-3, 205) and has very good speed. He wasn't hugely productive in college but has gained valuable experience in the NFL over the past few years on practice squads and on the preseason.

Nevertheless, Hannon's impact on the team in the immediate future might be near-nonexistent. The team usually only dresses four receivers on game days so he's not likely to play against Buffalo. Beyond that, he might start out on special teams and is probably not close to seeing game action on offense.

Finally, in a fact that may only interest me, the Dolphins currently have no receiver on the active roster or practice squad with a number in the eighties. Greg Camarillo is the only player under contract with such a number, while every other receiver has a number in the teens.