When the Miami Dolphins revamped their roster this offseason, one name that was seemingly forgotten until now is Dustin Keller. However, the addition of the veteran tight end could prove to be one of the team's wisest decsions of the year.
As a member of the New York Jets for the past five seasons, Keller always appeared to have his best games of the year against the Dolphins. Now that he dawns aqua and orange, Miami is counting on similar production out of the 28 year old in 2013.
Coming off an injury that saw him miss half of the 2012 campaign, the demand for Keller on the open market plummeted. As a result, he elected to sign a one year contract with the Dolphins to prove his worth to the league in order to score a much larger contract next offseason.
However, after appearing in just two exhibition games and playing limited time, Keller has already caught the attention of many. Despite a relatively quiet performance in the Hall of Fame Game that saw him record one reception for four yards, his skill set and chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill were on display in Week 1 of the preseason. In that contest Keller played four series with the starting offense, finishing with 2 receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.
The 22 yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Keller has been the subject of much debate. Some believe that it was a poorly thrown ball by Tannehill, however, the replay shows he placed the ball in a position where he knew only Keller could catch it and not the defender. Entering his sixth season in the NFL, Keller will also act as a safety blanket for another young QB, something that Tannehill didn't have as a rookie.
In practice it has been more of the same from Keller. He continues to be a consistent option in the passing game and shows the speed needed to stretch the field vertically.
From his chemistry with Tannehill less than midway through the preseason to his extra motivation playing on a one year contract, all signs lead to Keller having a breakout season in 2013. One other factor that points to a successful year for Keller is the presence of wide receiver Mike Wallace. Whether Wallace lives up to expectations or not, he has the ability to take the top of a defense and the opposition must respect that. This will take a lot of the spot light off Keller over the middle of the field and allow him to excel in one-on-one coverage.
Barring injury, Dustin Keller is poised to improve upon his career high single season stats of 65 receptions for 815 yards and five touchdowns.