Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dolphins sign TE Kory Sperry to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins have filled their open practice squad spot, signing undrafted rookie Kory Sperry.

Sperry replaces offensive tackle Nate Garner, who was promoted to the active roster yesterday after tight end Davon Drew was waived/injured.

Background

A two-sport star from Pueblo, Colo., Sperry played sparingly (say that five times fast!) as a true freshman at Colorado State in 2004 before starting in 2005 and earning honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors.

After a solid junior year in 2006 with 380 yards and five touchdowns, Sperry suffered a torn ACL just two games into his senior season in 2007. He petitioned the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver, granting him a fifth year of eligibility.

Sperry returned to full strength as a fifth-year senior in 2008, appearing in all 13 games for the Rams and earning second-team All-MWC honors after racking up 492 yards and six touchdowns on 38 catches.

Sperry (6-5, 238) posted a 4.77 forty-yard dash time and 20 bench press reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft in April, but signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent.

Sperry appeared in all four preseason games for the Chargers in 2009—starting the finale—and catching two passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. However, he was unable to secure a backup tight end spot over Brandon Manumaleuna and Kris Wilson, and was waived during final cuts.

As a practice squad player, Sperry will receive a one-year contract worth $88,400. He will wear No. 85 in Miami, which was briefly donned by rookie tight end Davon Drew before he was placed on injure reserve earlier this week.

Analysis

With the Dolphins opting to stash Davon Drew on injured reserve in 2009, a fourth tight end was needed for practice purposes. Sperry will provide that on the practice squad and is also a solid tight end prospect in his own right.

A very productive player at Colorado State, has good size and strength to go along with decent speed and good hands. He might be more of an H-back type, as he struggles with his blocking at times and isn't used to working out of three-point stance that will be required of him as an NFL tight end.

Don't expect to see Sperry much, if at all, for the Dolphins in 2009. Haynos and Nalbone should stay on the roster all season as the backups to Anthony Fasano, and there's really no telling if Sperry would be the team's first choice as an injury replacement since he simply might not be ready to play at the pro level.

Sperry is simply a solid prospect worth taking a look at the practice squad, but not someone who is likely to contribute any time soon. He could be gone in a day, a week, or he could last all season and be brought back next year to compete for a roster spot. There's just never any telling with these practice squad guys.