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New Dolphin comes with unmet expectations; Fifteen notable NFL cuts this weekend among familiar names to South Floridians

A couple notes on new Dolphins receiver Justin Hunter, claimed off waivers from Tennessee: Miami cut Griff Whalen to make roomroom as we first reported, per sources:

• Hunter had just 22 catches for 264 yards last season, as his playing time diminished.

• The former second-round pick has just 68 catches for 1116 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career, which includes 13 starts.

• Hunter has the same receivers coach he had last year with Tennessee (Shawn Jefferson). And here's what Jefferson said about him in June 2015: "A lot of times, new receivers come into the league with the physical tools, but the mentality hasn’t caught up,” Jefferson told The Tennessean.

“We’re seeing his mental catch up to his physical skills now. He’s making some plays. It’s like now he expects to make them, when before he was unsure. He goes to the line now like, ‘Give me this rock.’ And that’s what you want to see. There comes a time we’ve got to s--- or get off the pot, and this is his moment."

But Hunter played just 376 snaps in 2015.

• Hunter has consistently failed to meet expectations.

In June, coach Mike Mularkey said:  "I’m asking him to step up and be more aggressive about it – to look at the guy across from him and tell him, ‘You can’t cover me.’ He just needs more confidence in his body language and everything about him, he’s got such talent. I think he’s got to believe he’s got the talent."

“I want him to be successful. I’m on his side. What’s it going take to get you to play at the level we want you to play at?"

In 2015, then-coach Ken Whisenhunt said of Hunter:  "At some point, you either get it or you won't be in this league anymore. That's the natural order of the NFL."

• Among the criticisms of the 6-4 Hunter: passive play at times, questionable body language and durability issues.
He missed seven games last season, four in 2014, and two in 2013. Hunter suffered a torn ACL in college, a lacerated spleen in 2014 and a fractured ankle last season.
The fractured right ankle, sustained against the Panthers on November 15, required season-ending surgery. Hunter’s 2014 season ended after he suffered a lacerated spleen against the Texans in late November.

• During his three-year career at the University of Tennessee, Hunter appeared in 28 games with 106 receptions for 1,812 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Hunter’s eight 100-yard career receiving performances are tied with Tim McGee and Peerless Price for third all-time by a Volunteers player. His 18 career touchdown catches are tied for fifth.


Beyond the Dolphins' cuts (which included former UM receiver Rashawn Scott, who is expected to be re-signed to Miami's practice squad), here are 15 other players released this weekend who have South Florida ties:

• Defensive end Chris McCain. Cut by New Orleans, meaning the Dolphins won't get the conditional seventh-rounder they acquired for him last Monday.

• Safety Chris Clemons. The former Dolphins starter was cut by Arizona.

• Safety Jordan Kovacs. The former Dolphin special teams contributor was cut by Los Angeles.

• Receiver Marlon Moore. The ex-Dolphin was dumped by Cleveland.

• Guard Jacques McClendon. The ex-Dolphins guard/center was dropped by Jacksonville.

• Quarterback Logan Thomas. Cut by the Giants after ending last season on Miami's 53-man roster.

• Safety Jimmy Wilson. Miami's former nickel back was dropped by Cincinnati.

• Linebacker Thurston Armbrister. The Jaguars released the former UM linebacker, who became a very good player at Miami despite being very lightly recruited.

• Receiver Herb Waters. The undrafted rookie from UM made it to the final round of cuts before the Packers released him.

• Defensive tackle Ufomba Kamala. The undrafted rookie from UM made it to the final round of cuts before Houston released him. 

• Quarterback Jake Heaps. Seattle cut the player who was expected to be a starter after transferring to UM in 2014 before then-freshman Brad Kaaya beat him out in August.

• Tight end Beau Sandland. The former UM tight end, who spent his last season at Montana State, was cut by the Carolina Panthers, who drafted him in the seventh round this year. Alabama and ex-UM assistant Mario Cristobal had predicted Sandland would become another Jeremy Shockey.

• Linebacker Arthur Brown. Baltimore cut the player who did nothing in two seasons in Miami, then become a star at Kansas State. (Jacksonville claimed him off waivers on Sunday).

• Quarterback Jake Rudock. The Iowa and former St. Thomas Aquinas star was cut by the Detroit Lions, who drafted him in the sixth round.

• Linebacker Corey Lemonier. The 49ers cut the former Hialeah High star, even though he was a third-round pick just three years ago. 

For tons of UM nuggets from Saturday's opener, and more Dolphins news, please click here.

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