2003 REPORT CARD: DERRIUS THOMPSON

With the Dolphins having started working on changes in preparation for the 2004 season, we take a look back at their just-completed season and examine every player's performance. Today we look at wide receiver Derrius Thompson.

Coming into the 2003 season:

The Dolphins were looking to bolster their receiving corps last offseason and one of their most significant moves was picking up Thompson as a free agent. Thompson was coming off a breakthrough season with the Washington Redskins and appeared ready to build on that following a superb training camp.

His performance in 2003:

Unfortunately, training camp proved to be false advertising when it came to Thompson. Really, the guy was nothing short of awesome in the summer, but once the regular season starter he all but disappeared. Thompson had problems getting open, he wasn't making the acrobatic catches he was making in the preseason and he basically wasn't providing any big-play capability opposite Chris Chambers. Thompson was so unimpressive that he wound up coming off the bench for four games. Granted, the struggles of the offensive line and Jay Fiedler's inconsistency didn't help, but Thompson's 26 catches for 359 yards and no touchdowns weren't what the Dolphins had in mind when they made him a starter.

His future with the team:

Thompson was so mediocre in 2003 that there was some thought the Dolphins were going to discard him this offseason. But it now appears Thompson will be back after he accepted to restructure his three-year deal. The question now is exactly what his role on the team will be. He will have to pick up his game tremendously if he wants to have any shot at starting, that's for sure. Depending on what else the Dolphins do at the position before training camp, there's no guarantee Thompson will even make the team.

Grade for 2003: D-.


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