Last season, Brian Hartline caught 74 passes for just over 1,000 yards and led the Miami Dolphins in receiving.
This season, Hartline might be the third best receiver on the team.
The Dolphins improved in many areas of the roster this season, but none received a makeover like the receiving corps through free agency.
With new bodies in place and a new tight end to throw to, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has to like his chances of becoming a Pro Bowl player in only his second season in the NFL.
“Absolutely, I think we are,” Hartline said in an interview on ProFootballTalk.com. “Add Dustin Keller in there, Lamar Miller’s a great back and Daniel Thomas is a great back out of the backfield. The whole passing game is an advantage of ours.”
Last season, the Dolphins weren’t expected to be anywhere near as “good” as they were, pulling out a 7-9 season when most pundits thought they would be one of the worst, if not the worst team in the league.
The highlight of the offseason was the signing of Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, who was signed, sealed and delivered long before he even inked a deal. Wallace gives the team a threat much like Dan Marino had in Mark Clayton in the early 1980s. Whether Wallace can match Clayton in the production department remains to be seen.
Wallace told the Miami Herald (in a story on NFL.com) back in May he thinks the Dolphins and Miami are a great fit for him, especially with the “college mentality” the team seems to have developed. He hopes that “excitement” carries over to the regular season.
"It's a lot different than where I came from. Everybody's hungry. Everybody wants to get better, get to where we need to be -- that's a winning record."
Should the offense be more productive than last season, there is talk this team could challenge for a playoff berth, something that wasn’t even discussed about a Joe Philbin-coached team in his second season at the helm.
And if the receivers catch on fast, they could be the best unit in the AFC East and one of the better groups in the conference altogether.