Miami football needs Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins to develop for 2021

Oct 11, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team needs the development of wide receivers Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins entering the 2021 season. Either Pope or Wiggins is likely to lose their starting spot at WR to Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo in 2021. Pope and Wiggins had career seasons in 2020, but far too many drops and inconsistency.

Pope is second among the 2021 Miami returning receivers with 33 receptions and 403 yards and third with three touchdowns in 2020. Wiggins is third 31, 358 and second with three receiving TDs among the returnees for the Hurricanes. Both players need to step up in 2021 and significantly decrease their amount of drops.

Rambo joins the Miami football program with the expectation of being the big-play receiver Miami often lacked in 2020. Rambo’s play fell off in 2020, but he averaged 17.5 yards per receptions catching passes from Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts in 2019. Rambo and Mike Harley provide Miami with a solid WR tandem.

For the Miami offense to improve at another level in 2020, the Hurricanes need more WRs performing at a high level. Pope and Wiggins will get the first chance to be the third and fourth receivers for quarterback D’Eriq King. If Pope and Wiggins are not consistent the returnees and freshman will take their snaps.

Pope and Wiggins were often too unreliable in 2020. Miami could have easily won the Cheez-it Bowl if not for Pope and Wiggins dropping key passes in the second half that often stalled Miami drives. David Lake of Inside the U stated that Pro Football Focus far too often dropped catchable passes.

"“Pro Football Focus credited Wiggins with dropping six catchable passes in 2020 and his drop percentage rate (the percent of drops against catchable passes) while second worst amongst  ACC receivers that were targeted at least 50 times.”"

Both Pope and Wiggins have had chances to prove they are first-team WRs. At times they have been playmaking wideouts with the capability of breaking a play open. Far too often like against Oklahoma State Pope and Wiggins have failed to make the big play when thrown too. That has to change in 2020.

Next. Manny Diaz building SEC style Miami football defensive staff. dark

Both Pope and Wiggins have the talent to become playmakers for Miami. Returning WRs like Jeremiah Payton and Keyshawn Smith can become the big play WRs Miami needs if Pope and Wiggins continue to have drops. Four-star freshmen Romello Brinson, Jacolby George and Breshard Smith are worth watching in 2021.