Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins’ Most Glaring Need


 

The Miami Dolphins have been quite busy during the beginning weeks of the free agency period. General Manager Jeff Ireland made it clear shortly after the Dolphins played their last snap of the 2012 season that the organization would be looking towards getting faster, more explosive and younger. Ireland has not let the fan base down so far.

As of today Miami has signed former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver – Mike Wallace, former New York Jets tight end – Dustin Keller, former St. Louis Rams wide receiver - Brandon Gibson,  former Baltimore Ravens linebacker – Dannell Ellerbe, former Oakland Raiders linebacker – Phillip Wheeler, and has re-signed many of their own free agents (WR Brian Hartline, S Chris Clemons, QB Matt Moore, DT Randy Starks – Franchised all come to mind as “key” players being re-signed). Ireland’s plan is becoming quite clear. The team is signing players that are explosive and young, while also filling a position of need.

 

But there are still quite a few “glaring” needs the team must address. CB, DE, RB, OT, OG..

 

After a negotiation period that took forever, offensive tackle Jake Long opted to join the St. Louis Rams rather than returning to Miami. Losing Long puts Miami in quite a pickle. The team is said to value last year’s second round selection, Jonathan Martin, as a left tackle rather than a right tackle. Boom. Miami instantly has a gaping hole along the offensive line at the right tackle position.

 

Shortly after Jake Long left Miami for greener pastures in St. Louis, Kansas City Chiefs‘ franchise player, Brandon Albert, signed his franchise tender making him interesting trade bait for the up and coming Chiefs. Albert, who was drafted as a guard, has been the Chiefs’ stud at the left tackle position for years. Although the Miami Dolphins have been linked to a possible trade, likely sending a second round selection this year plus a 2014 mid-round selection, I’m not buying into it. Albert would command a decent contract – not a huge one but a significant one. Miami would be losing an important draft pick plus valuable cap space. No thanks.

 

The team recently re-signed versatile offensive lineman, Nate Garner, leading many to assume Garner would become the team’s right tackle. Please, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Garner is not a starting caliber offensive lineman. Garner was brought back to add depth along the offensive line.

 

Another in house option would be moving right guard, John Jerry, to the right tackle position. Jerry has had an up and down career in Miami and has had issues maintaining his weight – last year he reportedly showed up to camp well over 350 pounds. Jerry is at best a decent guard, therefore I for one am not crazy about the idea of putting the former Ole Miss Rebel at the right tackle spot.

 

Miami also has brought in former Miami Hurricane Eric Winston for a visit. Winston, who is one of the National Football League’s better right tackles, was recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs even after putting together a decent season. Reports are swirling that Winston wants to play for Miami, but the Dolphins have not offered a contract and there is no report if the team is interested in doing so.

 

If Miami lets Winston get away for a second straight season, where could the team go from here? Well, the Dolphins are in a decent position during the upcoming NFL Draft. No, I do not expect one of the draft’s top three tackles (Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson) to fall to the team currently positioned in the number twelve slot during the first round. But the team has ammunition to make a trade with a team looking to trade out of the top ten. Miami possesses two second round picks, two third round picks and two fifth round picks. There are a few possible suitors such as Arizona, New York and Buffalo, but whether or not these teams would like to trade back depends on what happens with the first six selections (all three teams are quarterback needy and may not want to “reach” for a quarterback at their current position).

 

If Miami was to trade up for an offensive tackle, one prospect to keep an eye on would be Lane Johnson. The former Oklahoma Sooner is an incredibly athletic offensive lineman – ran a sub 4.8 forty-yard dash at February’s NFL Combine – that projects well at both offensive tackle positions. Johnson would be an excellent compliment to Jonathan Martin. Not to mention Johnson fits the mold that head coach Joe Philbin wants in his offensive linemen – strong and athletic. Johnson is the perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme Miami has in place on offense.

 

Clearly the team’s biggest hole is the right tackle position and it must be addressed first and foremost – yes it is an even bigger need than corner. Eric Winston is the clear-cut favorite as of right now – maybe I am just a little biased being a Cane fan. But if the team passes on Winston, keep an eye on Johnson during the draft. Best case scenario would be Johnson falling to Miami at twelve come April if the team passes on Winston. Worst case, well I will let you come up with that one – it’s not that hard…

Tags: Eric Winston Featured Jeff Ireland Jonathan Martin Lane Johnson Miami Dolphins Popular

  • Angry Guy

    How is RB a glaring need? Just because we have young RB’s doesn’t mean we have bad/no RB’s. Miller is going to pick up where Bush left off with Thomas spelling him. Marcus Thigpen is pretty decent too. I would not spend any money/picks on a RB because I’m pretty sure we’re good on that front. We don’t need a veteran RB coming in a taking precious carries away from the young guys. Veteran presence does absolutely nothing…I’ve experienced it and doesn’t help at all.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Oh trust me, I agree with you. My only concern is Thomas to be quite honest. I’m not a fan. Well, I am but I’m not if that makes any sense. I love Miller – again probably because I am a hurricane fan and I peed myself when they picked him last year. Thomas has great upside and could surprise many. But his fumble issues concern me. His concussions are beginning to become a huge red flag – he had concussion problems in college also at Kansas State. He has all of the talent in the world. He just needs to learn the system and hold on to the darn football! I really like Thigpen. Upside there, but I see him as a tweener type of football player. More of a “let’s get this guy the ball in space” rather than “let’s pound it inside with Thigpen.” Now, I’m not saying they should bring a vet in. NO WAY. Mostly because there is no backs on the current market that the team views as a MUST sign. But, I would definitely draft someone. Miami has been linked to Lattimore. I wouldn’t mind Lattimore, but I’m not spending a third round pick on him. Heck, I wouldn’t spend a fourth on him either. Two guys I really like are Jonathan Franklin from UCLA and Joseph Randle from Oklahoma State. Both are big guys that have speed and hold on to the football. AND they have great hands. It’s not a glaring need, but it is a need! Thanks for the read and the comment!!!

  • Chris

    1. OT 2.CB 2.DE 3.CB 3.OG
    That wouldn’t be so bad…

    • TylerMcMullen

      Agreed. Given the depth this year though in the draft, our hand is not really forced via the first two rounds. Best player available at a position of need is really the way to go. If Johnson is there, sweet deal. If not, Rhodes or a pass rusher will likely be the pick. Thanks for the read and the comment, Chris!!

  • Miami Jules

    There’s no more pressing need that in the secondary. We have 1 quality safety and NO quality corners, tackle is another, but I believe Tannehill should be rolling out a lot but it shouldn’t be because we “have to” and right now we have to> Having expressed that… with the 12th pick of the 2013 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins select…. From Florida State, corner back Xavier Rhodes…. with the 42nd pick, etc etc, etc,.. Jonathan Cyprien.

    • Miami Jules

      Don’t worry, I have Menelik Watson or Margus Hunt with the 77th pick…

    • TylerMcMullen

      I would love Rhodes at twelve. I would love Johnson at twelve. I’m a firm believer that the best way to fill the rest of our needs is by drafting the best player available at a position of need. If Ziggy Ansah is there at 12, TAKE HIM. Ansah is gone and Johnson is still there, TAKE HIM. If Ansah and Johnson are gone, take Rhodes. The secondary needs help, but this draft is incredibly deep at the corner back position. I’m incredibly high on Darius Slay from Miss St. and David Amerson of N.C. St. Both will be there in the second round – and I wouldn’t be opposed to doubling down on corners in the second round. This draft is deeeeep at corner. I also am a huge fan of Watson. Love his athletic ability. If he’s there at 42, we HAVE to take him if we don’t take Johnson at 12. But I fear that he will be long gone! Thanks for the read and the comment, Jules!

      • Miami Jules

        Tyler, you may not believe this but in the latest updated and revise version of Miami Jules’ Picks, I have all 3 you mentioned at 12, except that if by some lunar eclipse effect, Ansah and Johnsonwere to be available at 12 (Fat chance), I would take Johnson. Not that I see Ansah as a luxury pick necessarily but when compared to LT, yes, at least we have Wake plus our new LB corp. If we were to get Johson at 12 (fatter chance, right down obese), then I would go for Reid at 54 if Margus Hunt isn’t there… OK, a picture tells the story so below you’ll see it.

        Selection (Option A)

        Selection (Optiion B0

        Selection (Option B)

        Selection (Option C)

        1st — 12th overall

        *Xavier
        Rhodes
        Or

        Bitmap

        Lane
        Johnson

        Or
        Ezekiel
        Ansah

        2nd — 42nd

        Jonathan
        Cyprien
        Or
        Jamar
        Taylor

        2nd — 54th (from Indianapolis)

        *Menelik
        Watson
        Or
        Margus
        Hunt
        Or
        *Eric
        Reid

        3rd — 77th

        Larry
        Warford
        Or
        Robert
        Alford
        Or
        BPA At Pos Of Need

        3rd — 82nd (from Chicago)

        Ryan
        Swope
        Or
        Ryan
        Swope
        Or
        Ryan
        Swope

        4th — 110th

        Bacarri
        Rambo
        Or

        Bitmap

        Bitmap

        Bitmap

        Bitmap

        *Chris
        Faulk

        Or
        John
        Simon

        • Miami Jules

          It came out all messed up… it looked fine when I cut and pasted but obviously not when I posted. I apologize.

        • TylerMcMullen

          Looks good my man. Keep it up. I’m working on a 7-round mock for Miami right now. A little tough to pan down where they’ll go after round 4, though. I’m not sure that safety is a need, though. I’m hearing that the organization likes Clemons (obviously, they re-signed him) and they’re incredibly and I mean INCREDIBLY high in Kelcie McCray – someone who I was also very high on last year. I’d love a safety. But Cyprien won’t last until the second round – mark my words. And I’d like Rambo, he’s a decent option. But I think someone like Duke Williams or maybe TJ McDonald would be better options. I’m seriously getting into Alford at the corner position. I just cannot pin down where his value is. Is it in the second round or third? Some give him an early second grade, some give him an early third grade. The same can be said with Taylor. I wouldn’t mind grabbing Taylor AND Amerson in the second round if the team feels like Taylor’s value is at 42. I love Amerson – yes even after watching Miami’s Phillip Dorsett absolutely torch him. Dorsett is a legitimate 4.2 deep threat. Seriously though. Anyways, Ireland and Philbin want guys who can create turnovers and take the ball away. Amerson can do that. Thanks for the read and the comment, Jules!