I know this article could disappoint and anger many Dolfans, but I believe the Miami Dolphins will most likely draft an offensive lineman with their first round pick. Trust me, I’m not super excited about the thought of another boring, first round pick on the O-line, but all signs are starting to point that direction. That’s of course if we assume the Dolphins won’t trade away their entire 2012 draft for Luck or RGIII.
The Dolphins are between a rock and a hard place with that eighth or ninth draft pick, depending on the coin toss in February with the Carolina Panthers. For the past four years, starting back with Parcells in 2008, Miami has a history of choosing safe, conservative “needs” in the first round. And to their credit, Jake Long, Vontae Davis, Jared Odrick, and Mike Pouncey have all been fine selections. No, they were not the “sexiest” picks, but these guys have been excellent at their respected positions. This draft philosophy will continue this year based on where we are picking and who will most likely be available.
It is clear that the Dolphins have some major issues on the O-line. They finished 30th in the league in pass protection, giving up a whopping 52 sacks on the year, which tied the team record set back in 1969. Only the Rams and Cardinals gave up more sacks. That’s very discouraging considering Tony Sparano was considered an “O-line genius.”
What’s even more alarming is that the Dolphins are ranked 31st in the league when they run the ball on the right side of the line, just averaging 2.27 yards. That would be the side where RG Vernon Carey and RT Marc Colombo supposedly “hold down the fort.” On the other hand, the Dolphins average 4.6 yards per carry when they run to the left side where LT Long and LG Richie Incognito play. Wow, talk about a tale of two lines. Thus, it’s pretty obvious we are flawed on the right side of the line and you better believe GM Jeff Ireland is fully aware of this.
Colombo is on the wrong side of 33 years old and is statistically one of the worst right tackles in the NFL. In my opinion, he is the biggest liability on this team. Any Dolfan knows exactly what I’m talking about here so there is no need to debate that. If you need more evidence, just go back and watch tape on the Philadelphia Eagles game where he gave up three sacks alone. You can bet that he will not be a Dolphin next year. This opens up “need” number one on the O-line at right tackle.
As for Carey, he turns 31 in July and will be an unrestricted free agent. He has done some great things for this organization and we all certainly appreciate his services and leadership during his tenure here. Unfortunately, he has regressed over the past two years and I believe his best days are behind him. He has been susceptible to injury and the Dolphins will most likely not resign him to a new contract. That leaves “need” number two on the O-line at right guard.
Also, backup linemen G/OT Nate Garner and G/OT John Jerry have been huge question marks the past two years. There is a lot of uncertainty with these two being able to consistently play at a high level and stay healthy. This would suggest the Dolphins have some depth issues and instability at these positions. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dolphins drafted multiple O-linemen this year.
If history repeats itself, all signs are pointing towards a first round guard or tackle selection. The philosophy and mindset of Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins is to “play it safe” with conservative first round picks. I’m not claiming to agree with the selection of an O-lineman with that eighth or ninth pick, but I just wanted to point out the facts, since many Dolfans are hoping we select a QB, WR, or possibly a TE that can boost our 20th ranked offense and become more explosive in the red zone. I don’t mean to ruin your 2012 draft parties, but don’t expect a “play-maker” with that first round pick. The question is, how will you react on draft night?