Dolphins Draft Need: Offensive Line

Nov 10, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper (64) on the field in the first half at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I wrote about what I feel is the Miami Dolphins main position that needs to be addressed in the draft. The next important position that must be addressed is the Offensive Line. After the Dolphins let Left Tackle, Jake Long, walk away and sign with the St. Louis Rams, they are lacking in talent on the O-Line.

Last year Miami took OT, Jonathan Martin, in the second round with hopes of being a dominate force opposite Jake Long to help protect the young Ryan Tannehill, and he did a pretty good job at it. But he seemed to play much better after being moved back to the left side which was his primary position when in college at Stanford. That might be one reason Jeff Ireland didn’t really try hard to bring Long back. Another good reason is his performance this season had dropped tremendously. He didn’t look like the Jake Long Miami fans had seen in his previous season’s.

Former Kansas City Chiefs OT, Eric Winston, has been linked as a potential target for Ireland, but his name hasn’t been mentioned by the Dolphins for a week or so now. Plus Ireland has said he doesn’t plan on signing any more players in Free Agency until after the NFL draft at the end of the month.

So what options are there for the Dolphins in the Draft? Several, but I’m just going to talk about 3 that could potentially land in Miami.

1. Jonathan Cooper(OG from North Carolina)- This should come to no surprise. Cooper’s name has been mentioned heavily by analysts as one of the main options for the Dolphins 12th overall pick. Cooper in my opinion is the best Offensive Guard in this years draft. He’s extremely athletic and has the speed to get out on blocks for run protection. He also does a great job using his hands to keep the defensive lineman in front of him. The only real knock on Cooper is he is a bit undersized for the position at 6’2″-311 lbs, but still is adequate for his skill set. Another issue is he has a tendency to miss some assignments on pass protection, but not very frequently. Cooper would be a great addition to the Dolphins.

2. D.J. Fluker(OT from Alabama)-Fluker is a big bodied Right Tackle who has great length. Defensive End’s have to be very quick off the snap to get past him due to his arm length and quickness. His quickness also helps him get around the DE when helping block for the running game.  A couple issues with Fluker are he has a tendency to struggle blocking secondary defenders. He also has a tendency to get burned by defensive players if they get a little space on him. Overall he is a solid RT who has some room to improve but would instantly be an upgrade for the Dolphins at RT.

3. Lane Johnson(OT from Oklahoma)-Johnson would be at the top of my list, but I don’t think he will drop this far even though it is possible. Johnson has the ability to play LT and RT, he even was a backup QB in high school and Junior College. He also spent some time with the Sooners as a TE before finally being moved to RT. With his size he has great quickness to prevent Defensive Linemen and even Secondary defenders from making the corner of the OL.  The biggest problem with Johnson is his lack of experience at the position.  That would be the main reason he could potentially drop down the the Dolphins at 12, but don’t count on it.

Any of these guys would be a huge upgrade compared to what the Dolphins currently have on the roster. Other than Mike Pouncey and Jonathan Martin, the Dolphins are in desperate need for some help at that position. If the Dolphins decide to not use the 12th pick on an OL, they will for sure bring one on in the second round.

Which three Offensive Linemen do you think the Dolphins could potentially use their first round pick on?

Topics: D.J. Fluker, Jonathan Cooper, Jonathan Martin, Lane Johnson, Miami Dolphins

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  • Bill Davis

    I don’t think your question can be answered. OT is our primary position of need, and all three of the top OTs project to be gone by the time we pick at #12. Even if we did trade up, I’m not sure OT would be our targeted position, given the depth of OL in this draft. If we do trade up, I’d be even money it would be to land Milliner. If we stay at #12, I’d guess we’d take Rhodes, unless somehow Johnson was to slip to us at #12. I think we can add a quality OL in the second round, while the CB talent drops off precipitously.

  • disqus_VIrpSvgGDI

    Atleast you mentioned pouncey as a solid lineman but you writers give incognito no respect even after making the probowl. Agreed a late add on but he has been solid and a joy to watch, the guy is a beast and never even gets a mention. By the way you list pouncey like a guard or tackle and he is our center sir.

  • disqus_VIrpSvgGDI

    Sorry about the name it is suspose to be dolphinatrix

  • gofins60

    I don’t consider Martin to be a lock for the starting LT position, or even RT. If he doesn’t improve a lot from last year, he may be nothing more than a back-up. It’s pretty sad that Miami has been working on the o-line for years without much success, and now Philbin has installed a new system that needs more athletic linemen. IMO, unless one of last year’s back-ups can make the jump to starter and Martin gets better, Miami needs a Guard and possibly two Tackles. I know that a lot of people think Martin will be a good LT, but I don’t see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002526247515 Ryan Jackson

    Everyone dont realize we signed Lance Louis from bears who was like their best linemen. Dolphins line not in to bad shape

  • Jcartwright67

    I think everyone has this empty feeling after Long left the organization. To remedy; we need to find a LT and quick!!! What if; we use(d) our 2nd pick on a LT(maybe a first round talent falls to the second round), find a LT with great mobility for our WCO, from a top tier College that runs NFL sets, a natural LT that played the position throughout his College career. This draftee wouldn’t have to start right away, we could give him some NFL experience…say…as a RT and ease him into the position of LT as the year progressed. Hang on!!! He might get bull rushed by some world class athletes…he might make a few mental mistakes and miss an assignment here and there. But, this guy will have a high ceiling (I like that word). If only we could find this draft option…..we’d be sitting pretty good come September ’13….oh, well….what to do! I am, of course, being coy. J. Martin is our starting LT folks. He’s good, capable, young and learning. He has been training at LT since the end of last season, he’s put time in the gym, he’s put time in the film room, he’s studying and applying his craft, he’s an Ivy League grad, he’s smarter now and he’s stronger now…..he’s going to show you all. In addition; we have talent on our OL, Pouncey is smart, athletic and pro bowl caliber, Incognito represented us at the pro bowl…though I don’t know if he’ll make it much further…he just doesn’t have that “nastiness” required in the trenches!!

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