With the Miami Dolphins looking towards the future, the team has begun adding players to their 2015 training camp roster. The players added are former Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker, veteran wide receiver Michael Preston, and former Oklahoma State safety Shamiel Gary.
The signing of Hocker will surely be of great interest to several Dolphins fans, as former fifth-round draft pick Caleb Sturgis has had an unfortunate tendency to miss field goals at the worst possible moments, especially on longer distances, as he went 9 for 16 on field goal attempts of 40 yards or more during the 2014 season.
Hocker appeared in 50 career games at Arkansas from 2010-13, and he left the program with the school records for points and points by a kicker with a total of 354, as well as having a field goal percentage of 77.2, making 61 total field goals. He also made 171 PATs out of 173 attempts.
Just for comparison's sake, Sturgis had a 79.5 field goal percentage during his time in college, making 70 out of 88. But he did miss more PAT attempts, making 130 out of 136. Hocker may be able to provide some competition for Sturgis, but given the team's history, it will take a very good showing to move Sturgis out of the way.
Preston, a former undrafted free agent out of Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, has spent a lot of time on the Tennessee Titans practice squad, and eventually got promoted to the active roster and got to make his regular season debut on December 9th, 2012 against the Indianapolis Colts, where he made one reception for 11 yards. Not very impressive just looking at the initial numbers, and the Titans eventually released him on August 31, 2014.
However, several outlets were quite impressed with Preston's potential to be a good wide receiver in the National Football League. While not a speedster by any means, recording only a 4.63 40 yard dash time, he does possess a very impressive 6'5 frame and weighs 213 pounds. Should Preston impress come training camp, he could provide the team with some much needed size, but he'll have a long road ahead of him if he intends to make the team.
Gary spent his first two college years at Wyoming before transferring over to Oklahoma State where in two years he managed to accumulate 119 tackles, and in his senior year in 2013, he led the team in pass breakups with 9 as a strong safety. Gary isn't very imposing, standing only 6'0 and weighing 205 pounds, but he did manage to find his way onto the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears squads after going undrafted.
Presumably, moves like these are merely to ensure there are enough bodies for OTAs and Training Camp, but all of these players have a fair amount of talent, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that these players might make an impact when camp comes around. Only time will tell.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater