Tuesday, January 26, 2021

What does Adam Shaheen bring to the Dolphins?

The Miami Dolphins acquired tight end, Adam Shaheen, from the Chicago Bears for a sixth-round pick yesterday in a move that has everyone scratching their heads. While the Bears continue to sign, play, and then cut or trade tight ends on a regular basis Miami has added a 6th tight end to the roster.

The former 45th overall selection in the 2017 Draft, the Bears took Adam Shaheen in the second-round looking for the next Jimmy Graham. At 6’6″ 278 pounds, Shaheen had great size and athletic ability, but he played at Division-II Ashland so despite posting 57 catches for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns, he was still very much a projection and facing a massive jump in competition.

Adam Shaheen is a quick, big-framed tight end © Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Shaheen is a quick, big-framed tight end © Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had this to say entering the 2017 draft :”Big, fast and athletic, Shaheen will immediately interest teams who are looking for size and traits. He’s a poorer blocker than what might be expected for a player with his frame, but he’s also a much more dangerous pass catching target.

“The jump in competition will be substantial and teams will expect him to become a more consistent blocker, but he’s a pass catching tight end in a Y-tight end’s body. Shaheen has starting potential with an ability to impact a passing game early in his career.”

Adam Shaheen hasn't set the NFL on fire in his first three seasons © pff.com
Adam Shaheen hasn’t set the NFL on fire in his first three seasons © pff.com

What is Adam Shaheen for the Dolphins?

While the Dolphins do now have six tight-ends, Shaheen likely slots into the number three spot behind Mike Gesicki, and battling Durham Smythe for the number two. Over the years his pass blocking has improved but his run blocking has remained massively inconsistent grading a very poor 58.8 in his third year, down from a high of 60.2 in his first season.

In Chan Gailey’s offense, the Dolphins will be hoping Adam Shaheen can return to his rookie year performance level. With 12 receptions for 127 yards and 3 touchdowns, Shaheen was hardly ripping up trees, but when he got on the field, 14 targets in 239 snaps, he was productive.

With an equal split of 87 passing snaps and running snaps in 2019, Shaheen saw just 12 targets, but made 9 catches for 8.2 yards. One major point the Dolphins may be considering with Shaheen, allbeit on a small sample size is his catch percentage.

For his career Adam Shaheen has an incredible 80.6% catch rate. Again this is only 36 career targets so may not be an accurate long-term number for his level, but that would be good enough to rank him in the top-5 NFL tight ends in 2019, and top 3 in 2018.

Adam Shaheen's impressive catch-rate makes him worth a sixth-rounder © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Shaheen’s impressive catch-rate makes him worth a sixth-rounder © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It remains to see how much of his growth was stunted by the increase in competition level, and how much by the lack of consistent QB play in Chicago.

Shaheen still has the potential to be a major threat in the passing game and a solid pass blocker. He has one year left on his rookie deal, so likely has a lot to prove in short-time in Miami. With a limited offseason program, he may struggle some to win the battle, but if he can show that athletic ability again he could be another dynamic piece for the retooling Dolphins offense.

However, for a sixth-round pick, Adam Sheehan is the kind of upside offensive playmaker that is worth a flyer.

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