In an unsurprising turn of events, the Miami Dolphins released former Missouri Tigers tight end Michael Egnew on Friday. Egnew, who was a consensus All-American in 2010 and was a first-team All-Big 12 player in both 2010 and 2011, accumulated 147 catches for 1332 yards and eight touchdowns over four years with the Tigers. After a spectacular showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, Egnew was selected in the third round (78th overall) in 2012 by the Dolphins.
Unfortunately, Egnew was never able to put it together in Miami. He failed to make his way up the depth chart, and after being active for only two games as a rookie, Egnew played in a reserve role for the Dolphins last season and caught just seven passes for 69 yards. The Dolphins went on to select tight end Dion Sims in the fourth round of last year’s draft, and Sims passed up Egnew on the depth chart. The combination of 25-year-old Charles Clay emerging as a reliable starter last season and a new football operations staff selecting Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch in the fifth round of this year’s draft made it apparent that Egnew was not a very prominent part of the Dolphins’ plans going forward.
Egnew is just the latest in a long line of recent Missouri tight ends to enter the league as heralded prospects and ultimately fizzle out as pros. Martin Rucker, a consensus All-American in 2007, was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns in 2008, dealt with injuries early on and was never really able to establish himself. He was released by the Browns a year later and bounced around to four different teams over the remainder of his career, ending up with just two career catches for a total of 17 yards.
Rucker’s successor, Chase Coffman, was a consensus All-American a year later and was seen as an elite receiving tight end coming into the draft. He was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2009 draft, but also struggled with injuries as a rookie and ultimately played in just six games over three years with the Bengals. Coffman has made a living as a backup since then and is currently battling to make the Tennessee Titans’ roster, but it’s safe to say he hasn’t lived up to expectations as a pro.
With Egnew having been released in advance of the cutdown to 75 players, we’ll see if he gets another opportunity and if he can perhaps live up to the hype he had coming out of the draft two years ago.