In 2014, Kenny Stills finished with the best catch rate (64.3%) on deep passes in the entire NFL. The Dolphins traded linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for the youthful Stills this offseason, hoping to replace the less than stellar Mike Wallace, who was sent packing to the Minnesota Vikings. While Stills is a fantastic deep ball receiver, he is also a well-rounded one. He finished 2014 with 63 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns with the New Orleans Saints.
With rookie wide receiver DeVante Parker slow to return following surgery this offseason, Stills will begin the year as the starting outside wide receiver opposite of Greg Jennings for the Dolphins. As an aerial threat, Stills will not only result in more plays downfield, but he will also free up space for slot receiver Jarvis Landry, who has proven his danger in the open field. In essence, Stills creates havoc for opposing defenses simply by lining up each play.
Stills will also pair nicely with fourth year starter Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill, who has been working all summer long on his deep ball accuracy, should find comfort in a true ball hawk like Stills. Stills has a knack for always running under the ball, no matter the difficulty of the catch. He uses his body well to position himself to make plays, and is even more dangerous in open space. He’s improved his route running significantly, and should add more receptions both in the short and intermediate passing games.
Hopefully, Stills time in South Beach will be long and prosperous. At just age 23, he should provide a youthful burst to an already young Miami Dolphins receiving corps. With Ryan Tannehill getting better each season, the sky is truly the limit for the big playmaking Stills. I expect him to be in Miami for seasons to come.
Best 2014 NFL performance
Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stills torched an injured Steelers secondary, racking up 162 yards on five catches for a score. His long of the day? A 69 yard touchdown catch in which he completely blew by the Steelers secondary.
Despite not being the featured wide receiver, Stills should get a lot of playing time and continue to get open, especially with Parker, Landry, Jennings and Cameron drawing attention. Stills will prove the Mike Wallace exit a fruitful one.
2015 Season Prediction: 60 catches, 850 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns.
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