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Second-Year Safety Jevon Holland Showing Signs of Greatness at Dolphins Training Camp

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.—The Dolphins’ people here told me it wasn’t really THAT hot for Wednesday’s joint practice with the Eagles. I’d beg to differ. Here are a few things I saw and heard on Miami, as those teams sweated through a two-hour session …

1. Jevon Holland’s been a star through a month of camp. The second-year safety’s at the point now, from a leadership standpoint, where he can hold others on defense accountable. And as a player, he’s got a rare combination of range, coverage ability and physicality. Plus, it’s apparent to everyone that he wants to be great. And after being a good player as a rookie, the idea he could reach greatness this year is realistic.

2. The depth of the receiver room has been obvious, and goes well beyond headliners Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Trent Sherfield—who was behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in San Francisco, and imported from there by ex-Niners assistants Mike McDaniel and Wes Welker—has had a really good camp to build on the strong reputation he had coming into Miami. And fourth-round pick Erik Ezukanma has assimilated to the pro game and McDaniel’s offense, fast. Add former Cowboys wideout Cedrick Wilson in as another roster lock, and then you get to the point where you’re running out of jobs, which is why receivers Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden have been the subject of trade talks at different points this summer.

3. Tua Tagovailoa looks like a nice fit for McDaniel’s offense. The system plays to his strengths in asking him to play a fast, instinctive game, and has plenty of hints of the offense he ran under Steve Sarkisian at Alabama. But the real quarterbacking revelation of camp might be seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson. He’s old for a rookie—he turned 25 in June—but he’s smart, he works and has consistently performed in practice. Which might force Miami to keep three QBs on its 53.

4. Mike Gesicki’s gone through an education the last six months, with Miami trying to develop him into a better blocker to prepare him for the rigors of playing the position in McDaniel’s scheme. His coaches, led by veteran assistant Jon Embree, have shown him tape of George Kittle as a younger player, to show him how far Kittle once had to go to become the force in the run game he’s developed into. And that’s why Gesicki’s played more in the preseason, because the team is trying to bring him along in that phase of the game.

5. With the cutdown next week, I’d think the Dolphins will be seeking out some more depth at corner, on the defensive edge and along the offensive line. But on that last group, getting Terron Armstead and Connor Williams has helped settle things down a bunch for a unit that’s had its issues. Armstead, if he can stay healthy, remains one of the NFL best’s left tackles. And Williams was a guy that Miami had to project to center (they had a little preseason tape of him doing it in Dallas, and liked his athleticism for the position), and thus far that projection looks like it’s working out.

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