Every NFL team has needs. Even the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. The Miami Dolphins have needs as well. Some are far more important that others. The question is why do we have these needs to begin with? For starters, poor drafting and poor free agency moves create needs. A teams own free agent departures, retirements, and yes, poor play also create needs.
With the NFL Draft a few short weeks away, it’s time to take a look at the Miami Dolphins needs.
Offensive Line: Jonathan Martin played good but not great following his move to left tackle after Jake Long left for the injury list. Some believe that Martin is capable of playing the left side permanently but he will need to get stronger in the off-season to make that happen. There are questions as to whether or not the Dolphins view him as a solution to the left side. If they do, they have no need for a top LT but they will have a need for a RT. If they do not, then the need for a LT becomes glaring.
The departure of Jake Long was neither a shock nor unexpected. The Dolphins did not value Long like Long valued himself and that kept the team from making a run at him prior to the start of free agency. This years FA market at the position was weak and while the Dolphins still have options, either RT or LT will be a top need heading into the draft.
TE: The Dolphins made a big attempt to land free agent TE Jared Cook but lost out. The did however add former New York Jet TE Dustin Keller. However the team currently employs only Keller, coming off an injured 2012, Michael Egnew a major disappointment thus far, Kyle Miller who has no experience, and flex HB/TE Charles Clay currently on the roster.
Keller’s deal is for one year and with the loss of Anthony Fasano the Dolphins, while not having a glaring hole at the position, needs to have a second TE for their two tight sets. The Dolphins will likely address this position in the draft and many believe they will draft a top TE in the first three rounds. Regardless, the team lacks more than a suitable starter opposite Keller. They lack depth of any kind. The Dolphins do not possess a clear replacement for Keller should he miss time.
WR: The Dolphins spent a ton of money on the WR position this off-season. They re-signed Brian Hartline, added Michael Wallace, and slot receiver Brandon Gibson. They have on their roster Davone Bess but Bess is entering his final season of his contract and while he is a great asset to the possession game, he adds little in terms of down-field threat. The Dolphins’ Jeff Ireland recently made comment to the fact that they have added solid WR’s to the team and that they still had the draft to come.
It’s obvious that the Dolphins do “need” another WR, they surely have the picks to address the position and if the opportunity presents itself to find another speed WR, they may take that shot.
RB: Miami allowed Reggie Bush to leave for Detroit VIA free agency without hesitation. They firmly believe that Lamar Miller, entering his sophomore season will be more than adequate to fill Bush’s role. Marcus Thigpen is expected to see increased opportunity as well. The issue lies with Daniel Thomas who is not presenting himself as a reliable goal line and short yardage runner.
DE/OLB: To say that the team will be fine with Olivier Vernon and Koa Misi means you didn’t watch a lot of football last season. The Dolphins lack a consistent edge pass rusher and while Vernon showed an improvement and Misi proved he can play to support the run, neither showed enough to believe they can play opposite Cameron Wake. The Dolphins have a very solid front line and it could be one of the best in the league. Still, without a pressing pass rusher on 3rd downs creates a need.
CB: The Dolphins traded Vontae’ Davis and let Sean Smith leave for Kansas City. They signed a one year deal with Brent Grimes who is coming off an Achilles injury. They have Richard Marshall returning and Dimitri Patterson in the fold but there is no question that the Dolphins need to upgrade both sides of the field at the position. The Dolphins don’t lack depth they lack unquestionable starters at the position.
S: Reshad Jones played very well last year and emerged as leader but the Dolphins still lack a ball hawking safety. Depth is thin but in reality there is a big gap between Jones and whomever lines up next to him. The Dolphins need to find a solution to that situation and give them two hard hitting safeties to control the deep field.