Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dolphins sign WR Taurus Johnson to practice squad

In a move that happened two weeks ago (but one I'm just getting to now because of a busy school week when when it originally occurred), the Miami Dolphins signed rookie wide receiver Taurus Johnson to their practice squad.

An undrafted rookie out of South Florida, Johnson took the spot vacated by defensive end Ryan Baker, who was promoted to the active roster before the Dolphins' Week 12 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Background

A Ft. Myers, Fla. native, Johnson played in all 12 games for the USF Bulls as a true freshman in 2005, catching three passes for 35 yards.

As a sophomore in 2006, Johnson caught 37 passes for 494 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulls. He followed that season up with 34 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns as a junior in 2007.

Johnson set career highs in all major receiving categories as a senior in 2008, catching 38 passes for 498 yards and six touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with 112 receptions, 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Johnson (6-0, 206 pounds) ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He went unselected in the 2009 NFL Draft and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent on April 26.

After appearing in all four preseason games for the Chiefs in 2009 and catching two passes for 18 yards, Johnson was waived by the team during final cuts on Sept. 5.

Johnson remained a free agent until Sept. 30, when he was added to the practice squad of the Detroit Lions. He was released on Nov. 5.

Johnson was signed to the Dolphins' practice squad on Dec. 1. He will wear No. 89 for the team and will earn roughly $5,200 per week. As a member of the Dolphins' practice squad, he his eligible to be signed to another team's active roster at any time.

Analysis

Johnson joins the Dolphins' five active receivers and fellow practice squad player Julius Pruitt as the seventh wide receiver in the organization (excluding Brennan Marion on injured reserve).

A physical receiver with a solid build, Johnson possesses adequate but not elite speed for an NFL receiver. He has good hands and did a solid job of gaining separation in college, but will likely struggle to do so at the NFL level.

Johnson has essentially no chance of seeing a promotion to the active roster in 2009, regardless of any injuries that may occur to the team's receiving corps. If he makes it through the end of the season, he'll be auditioning for a spot in training camp in 2010.