Charles Clay

Charles Clay of the Dolphins scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter after breaking the tackle of Cortez Allen of the Steelers. (Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel / December 8, 2013)

DAVIE - One of the bright spots of the 2013 Dolphins season has been the emergence of Charles Clay, a three-year veteran who was once perceived as one of Miami's most inconsistent players.

Clay, who started 18 games and scored five touchdowns as an H-back in his first two seasons, had always flashed his talent from time to time. But the former Tulsa standout struggled to develop as a blocker, and had too many highs and lows since being selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.

However, it appears those issues are in his past because this season Clay's emergence has him on the verge of setting a franchise record for receptions and passing yards produced by a tight end.

Clay, who has caught 60 passes for 678 yards and scored a team-leading seven touchdowns this season, needs to catch 14 passes for at least 113 yards to become the most productive tight end in Dolphins history. And he's got three games to do it.

Clay has become one of Ryan Tannehill's favorite weapons, and as a result he's been targeted 83 times this season, which has him tied for the fifth most passes thrown to a tight end after 13 games.

The only tight ends who have been targeted more than Clay this season are New Orlean's Jimmy Wilson (111 passes), San Diego's Antonio Gates (98 passes), Cleveland's Jordan Cameron (96), and Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez (93). Clay is presently tied with Dallas' Jason Witten.

Interestingly, Clay is ranked third in yards after catch this season, producing 331 yards after juking a defender, or catching a pass in open space. Only Graham and Gates have produced more this season.

Here is a look at the franchise's best tight end seasons.

TOP FIVE DOLPHINS TIGHT ENDS, RECEPTIONS

YEAR      PLAYER                        REC

2004       Randy McMichael        73

2006       Randy McMichael        62

2013       Charles Clay                60

2005       Randy McMichael        60

1994       Keith Jackson            59

 

TOP FIVE DOLPHINS TIGHT ENDS, SINGLE SEASON RECEIVING YARDS

YEAR      PLAYER                     YARDS

2004       Randy McMichael        791

2013       Charles Clay                678

1994       Keith Jackson             673

2006       Randy McMichael        640

1994       Keith Jackson             613

2003       Randy McMichael        598