Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dolphins to work out return specialist Clifton Smith

Possibly not content with their current kickoff and punt returners, the Miami Dolphins will work out Pro Bowl return specialist Clifton Smith on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Smith, who was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during final cuts last Saturday, worked out for the Green Bay Packers today and reportedly has at least a few offers on the table.

A member of the same undrafted class that produced Dolphins' wide receiver Davone Bess and placekicker Dan Carpenter, Smith initially Buccaneers as a rookie free agent in 2008 after playing collegiately at Fresno State.

Smith went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return, including a 97-yard return for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. He also ranked eighth in the NFL that season with a 14.1 average returning punts.

Smith improved his kick return average to 29.1 yards in 2009, but appeared in just 11 games due to a few concussions suffered during the season.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Smith's durability is a concern after last season and he has also had trouble hanging onto the ball with seven fumbles in two seasons.

Nevertheless, he's a skilled home-run threat as a returner, which is something the Dolphins have been severely lacking in recent years outside of Ted Ginn, Jr.

Rookie fifth-round pick Nolan Carroll did well returning kicks in the preseason, but doesn't have much experience and might actually be needed on defense this season with Will Allen out for the season.

Patrick Cobbs and Davone Bess are currently listed as the Dolphins' kickoff and punt returners, respectively, though neither is a threat to take one back. Bess averaged just 7.5 yards per punt return in 2009 and is easily one of the worst at the position in the NFL.

While Smith doesn't offer anything on offense and has a few concerning aspects to his game, there is no doubt his addition would significantly upgrade the Dolphins' return game.

Discuss this article on the forum here!