Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dolphins claim tight end Mickey Shuler off waivers

It seems the Miami Dolphins weren't finished shaking up the tight end position when they waived John Nalbone and promoted Jeron Mastrud earlier this week.

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported on twitter that the Dolphins claimed tight end Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.



Shuler's addition gives the Dolphins a full 53-man active roster, and three tight ends for the first time all season.


Background

Mickey Shuler, Jr. is the son of former NFL tight end Mickey Shuler, who earned two Pro Bowl selections over a 14-year career with the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.

A four-year letterman at Penn State, the younger Shuler totaled 27 receptions, 300 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in four seasons as a blocking tight end to complement Nittany Lions starter Andrew Quarless.

Shuler was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round (214th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft—two rounds after Quarless went to the Green Bay Packers.

After signing a four-year, $1.85 million contract with the Vikings that included a $60,000 signing bonus, Shuler appeared in all four preseason games and caught one pass for two yards and a touchdown.

Shuler made the Vikings' 53-man roster following the preseason, but was inactive during the team's first two regular season games—losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Dolphins.

The Vikings waived Shuler on Sept. 22 to make room for newly-signed wide receiver Hank Baskett, who had recently been let go by the Eagles.

Because the Dolphins claimed Shuler off waivers, they will inherit his original four-year contract that he signed with the Vikings in the offseason.


Analysis

The Dolphins are bringing in all the young bodies they can at tight end in search of a diamond in the rough, with rookies Mastrud and Shuler the active roster and Dedrick Epps on the practice squad.

Shuler obviously comes from a quality football pedigree, playing the same position and coming from the same alma mater as his Pro Bowl father.

Widely regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the 2010 draft class, Shuler brings possesses great fundamentals in that department and brings a hard-working attitude to the craft.

Shuler is also a bit of an underrated athlete, posting a 4.63-second 40-yard dash time as Penn State's Pro Day before the draft.

He might never become what his father was, but Shuler is a solid tight end prospect and is a nice addition for a Dolphins team looking for depth behind starter Anthony Fasano.

Mastrud looks to be the No. 2 tight end this Sunday against the Jets because of his better experience in the Dolphins' offense, but Shuler is the better prospect and will be someone to keep an eye on as he pushes for playing time in the coming weeks.

 As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here!


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