Once relegated to the role of return man, the 32-year old Ginn has re-established himself the last few years as a poor man's DeSean Jackson -- a moderate-volume home-run threat that keeps the safeties back. At 5-11, 180, Ginn is small and slight, but his 4.38 40 speed (timed at the 2007 Combine) appears to be intact -- he had nine catches for 40-plus yards on 191 targets the last two seasons combined. Ginn probably would have had more but for some drops on perfectly thrown Cam Newton deep balls -- Ginn has never been known for his hands. This year, Ginn finds himself in New Orleans, a good destination for someone with his skill set, especially now that former deep threat Brandin Cooks is in New England. Michael Thomas and Willie Snead will be the team's top targets, but Ginn should reprise the role he had in Carolina with similar results.
It only took him nine years, but the ninth overall pick in 2007 finally spent a season as a team's No. 1 WR. After Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL, Ginn carved out the biggest role among the WR, netting 97 targets and averaging a robust 16.8 YPC (3rd among 90-target receivers). Unfortunately, that translated to only 7.7 YPT as Ginn caught a meager 46 percent of the passes thrown his way. Part of the problem was his 10 drops (T-2nd). At 5-11, 185, Ginn is slight and small, but even at 31 he's blazingly fast (4.38 40). He used that speed to haul in five passes of 40-plus yards, but Ginn's never going to see regular red-zone work (nine targets) and he's not built to handle major volume. And with Benjamin back - and Cam Newton's top target Greg Olsen around – Ginn's work is likely to be even less regular in 2016.
Following a poor 2014 campaign that included just 14 catches for 190 yards in Arizona, Ginn returns to Carolina this season with hopes for regaining the form he enjoyed with the Panthers in 2013. That season saw the speedy Ginn rejuvenate himself with a career-best five touchdowns along with 556 receiving yards and 36 catches on 68 targets. However, while Ginn was gone, fellow former Ohio State receiver Philly Brown made strides as a slot receiver last season and the Panthers also signed wideout Jarrett Boykin this offseason to compete for pecking order on their depth chart. As a result, Ginn runs the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, leaving his fantasy value relatively low heading into this season.
Ginn proved to be a surprisingly effective deep threat for Cam Newton in Carolina, but his opportunities should be more limited in 2014 behind Larry Fitzgerald and the emerging Michael Floyd. He'll be hard-pressed to match last season's targets or TDs.
In addition to kick and possibly punt returns, Ginn will likely be Carolina's No. 4 receiver this season.
Ginn is still listed on the 49ers depth chart alongside both Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and should still see some work in the receiver rotation that coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman envision. However, his receiver work will undoubtedly be limited to the point where his fantasy value will be fairly low unless you get credit for return yards.
Ginn will battle to be the team's No. 3 or No. 4 wide receiver. He's at best San Francisco's fifth option on offense. Ginn will be most involved as a punt and kick returner.
Ginn was traded by the Dolphins to a team in desperate need of help in the return game, the 49ers. His offseason work as a punt returner was not up to par, but that's his job to lose heading into training camp. Ginn is also the presumptive third wide receiver, but Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler among others will push him for that job.
One of the league’s true burners, Ginn took a step forward in his second season, averaging 14.1 yards per catch and 8.5 yards per target. He’s still not a polished route runner, and at 6-0, 180, he’s not physical enough to go over the middle and make tough catches in traffic.
As such Ginn was rarely used anywhere near the goal line – just four of his 93 targets occurred inside the 20, and none inside the 10. Ginn did have four catches of 40 yards or more, which is a lot for a receiver with less than 100 looks.
Ginn will again be the team’s primary downfield threat, though the Dolphins are a strange team from their Wildcat sets to their quarterback Chad Pennington who gets by on guile, timing and accuracy in place of arm strength. We expect Ginn to make his share of big plays and have a few big weeks, but it’s hard to see how his skill set in the Dolphins offense will result in consistent production.
The numbers aren't pretty – even on a
per-play basis – but its hard to make
too much of a receiver's rookie season on a
team that couldn't throw the ball. This year,
the slightly built but very fast Ginn will start
opposite possession receiver Ernest Wilford.
That the Dolphins brought in undrafted free
agents to compete for the kick return job this
spring is a signal that they want to emphasize
Ginn's role in the passing game instead. With
new head coach Tony Sparano and new offensive
coordinator Dan Henning at the helm, look
for the Dolphins to throw more than they did
last season under Cam Cameron. If veteran
quarterback Josh McCown can hold off Chad
Henne and John Beck for the job, there's a little
big-play upside here, though it's likely Wilford
will see most of the red-zone targets.
By every account but the Dolphins', drafting Ginn with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft was an enormous reach, especially with Brady Quinn still on the board. Ginn hasn't been at full speed since injuring his foot in the BCS title game in January, so even once he's healthy, he's likely to be rusty. Given that he'll start 2007 as the No. 3 receiver, his primary role will likely be kick returner, so he'll need to be at full speed to have any value. If healthy, however, his explosive playmaking ability will make him an asset as a return man and a downfield threat.