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Phillip Dorsett: A Conversation With State of the U

There is one thing I'm guilty of as managing editor of Gang Green Nation and that is under-utilizing the resources we have available here at SB Nation. FBS college teams have their own sites with expert opinion, I try and form an opinion based on 3-4 game tapes. Where I could just go to the people who have watched every snap of a prospects college career.

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I would love to say that I had a revelation, one morning over a bowl of cereal and a black coffee, I thought to reach out to these site editors to ask for their opinion on a prospect we were interested in. Unfortunately that's not the case.

Instead, Jerry Steinberg managing editor of State of the U, Jets fan and reader of Gang Green Nation came to me to offer his help and opinion on any Miami prospect that we wanted to cover. I instantly thought of Phillip Dorsett, a player we have shown significant interest in.

Below you can read our conversation as it happened, and I guarantee that at the end of it, you'll know a lot more about Dorsett and his professional potential:

DW: So you have watched Phillip Dorsett for years, he's a burner, that's obvious, but is that all he is?

Jerry Steinberg: That is his biggest strength, with out a doubt. He ran the fastest 40 ever recorded at Miami (when you go to the same school as Santana Moss, Andre Johnson, and Devin Hester among others that says a lot)

His senior season other aspects of his game evolved. He started making touch catches in traffic. He broke off routes early when needed to help his freshman QB, and showed an impressive general understanding of the game. He threw some key down field blocks on long running plays.

In essence he was a more complete player. And despite putting up big numbers, many who follow the 'Canes (including Clinton Portis whom I spoke with on Friday) feel he was underutilized.

DW: You say he broke off his routes when he needed to, how would you grade his routes in general? Is he a good route runner, has he been asked to run pro style routes at Miami?

I was also wondering if he showed any signs last year of the partial tear to his MCL that he suffered in 2013?

Jerry Steinberg: Honestly,  that was one aspect of his game I would rate as incomplete.  Mostly because Miami asked him to run a ton of 9 routes.  I can't recall seeing him run many comebacks, slants, simple out routes etc.

He ran some hitches that appeared to be improvised when he saw blitzes coming from his side, and Brad Kaaya usually found him.  He runs the drag particularly well when facing man, under type coverage.

His deep routes showed variety as well.  He can run to post, post/corner, flag routes etc, just as well as simply taking off on a straight line down the field.

I saw no signs of any issues with the knee.  He was as fast and as smoother as ever.

I was shocked UM did not implement him more in the return game.  They fell in love with Stacy Coley for those roles.

DW: Running a good drag route can be extremely effective in the NFL can't it. Do you foresee any problems with Phillip learning the route tree? Has he enjoyed a reputation as a fast learner at Miami? Is he considered a hard working, easy to coach type player?

As a Jets fan, you will know many fans are wary of the straight speed, inconsistent route runner type receivers (Stephen Hill), how good are Dorsett's hands? Has he had many drops in college, does he maintain concentration through the catch or is he prone to the easy drops that plague so many college receivers?

Jerry Steinberg: Absolutely.  Especially if you can turn it up for run after catch, something Dorsett is natural at.

Dorsett had a lot of drops his sophomore year, including 2 very costly ones that would have been easy TDs Vs Notre Dame at Soldier Field in 2012.

But his senior season I can not recall one simple drop.   And some of his catches wee ridiculous (check youtube ACC Digital must see moments or I can send you some links) so he seems to have outgrown that issue.  His hands are very sound, as is his concentration.

As far as learning the route tree, I would not expect any issues.  As I mentioned earlier he really seemed to develop a good understanding of the game. Some of what he can do at the next level is a mystery  because again it was not asked of him in college.   He has an excellent attitude and to my knowledge never complained about his role.

He still hasn't been covered in the FSU game by the way.   Had they kept tossing the ball his way, Miami may have won that game.  Another note on Dorsett, he performed very well when facing some of the better corners on UM's schedule.

DW: He sounds like a very promising player and getting players the ball in space is something we hope Chan Gailey to do.

The Jets have reportedly shown a fair bit of interest in Dorsett, if he were drafted, where do you see him fitting? Can I have your opinion on his ceiling? Does he had the potential to be a #1 receiver in the league, to be he looks like a #2 guy and a perfect slot receiver.

Jerry Steinberg: Dorsett is not big enough to be a "true #1"  who catches 80-90 balls a season.

And the Jets already have Marshall, Decker, and Kerley as a nice 1-2-3.   I do believe that Dorsett should he come to NY could challenge Kerley as a slot receiver/#3 guy.

He could be exceptional in that role.  And when lined up on the outside, he is the perfect player to take the top off the defense.  He is not just 40 yard dash fast, he is football fast.

His ceiling would be an Antonio Brown type, (with lots of development) however given he is 5'10 195, I think he is best suited in a Desean Jackson type role. Also whomever drafts him should give him a look look as a returner.


First of all I just wanted to thank Jerry for his time, I've watched quite a bit of tape on Dorsett but it was great to hear the opinion of someone who has basically watched every single snap of his college career.

I have to be honest and say I'm very intrigues by the prospect of drafting Dorsett, his skill-set makes me believe he'll be a fit in the Chan Gailey offense. He'll take the top off a defense and complement players like Decker and Marshall.

I will also say that when you have a team with a struggling quarterback, and it's likely that we'll have that in 2015, at least for a period of time. Whether it be Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith or a drafted rookie, having someone who you can dump the ball off to, and then they move the chains with their open field ability is very valuable.