From the opening day of free agency and throughout the NFL Draft, Jeff Ireland and the Miami Dolphins have arguably been one of the most active and aggressive teams in the National Football League. It all started with an overhaul of the roster, after they decided to release Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, while also letting players such as Jake Long and Sean Smith sign with other teams. Although they decided to release these veteran players, they were able to sign a couple of really good young players such as Dannell Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler and Mike Wallace. The aggressiveness continued through the draft as the Dolphins decided to surprise the NFL world by trading up to the third spot in the draft and selecting the athletic linebacker/defensive end out of the University of Oregon, Dion Jordan. Although many people have their own negative opinions about trading up for Jordan, you have to enjoy the fact that Ireland is finally going out of his way to try and obtain playmakers. With dozens of moves already made by the Miami Dolphins, you have to wonder exactly what else they are going to do in order to improve this team.
Some of the positions that could use another veteran player are the tight end position, the running back position and the offensive line. When the offseason began, the Miami Dolphins decided to opt out of re-signing tight end Anthony Fasano; instead they chose to sign former New York Jet, Dustin Keller. Not only did they sign Keller to a contract, they also went out and drafted Dion Sims out of Michigan State University. Although they have properly addressed the position, I think it is important that they go out and sign another tight end; here’s why. For the most part, Keller has been able to remain healthy throughout his career; however, last season Keller missed eight games due to a variety of ankle and groin issues. If Dustin Keller misses time due to injury (knock on wood), then the tight ends would be rookie Dion Sims, Kyle Miller, and Michael Egnew. I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t sound like a very good group of tight ends. Although the quality of available tight ends has dropped, there are still some tight ends that can come in and play at a decent level. Some tight ends that are still available to come in and be a second or third stringer are Kevin Boss, Dallas Clark and Chris Cooley. I know that these players are a bit older and not as good as they once were earlier in their careers; however, they would add incredible depth and experience to the position which currently lacks both.
Another position that could be addressed is the running back position. Yes, the Dolphins do have potential at the running back position with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but, it can’t hurt to have another guy come in and compete for a backup role. When you look at some of the free agent running backs that are left, you have to wonder how they are still available. Some players that are currently out of a job are Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Turner, Kevin Smith, Beanie Wells and Cedric Benson. Out of those running backs, I would only see Bradshaw competing for a starting job; however, a back like Michael Turner or Kevin Smith would be really nice to have on the field. They’re not starting backs and they probably won’t rush for 1,000 yards, but their ability to pound the ball up the middle or bounce it outside every so often would be a nice luxury for the Dolphins to have. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are still ridiculously young, so a veteran to come in in order to push them to the next level would be a fantastic thing for the Dolphins.
Last but certainly not least, the offensive line. When Jake Long decided to sign with the St. Louis Rams, the offensive line took a huge hit. With the line having tons of question marks coming into this offseason, the Dolphins haven’t really done much to address the need. So far Lance Louis has been the premiere signing at the offensive line position. For weeks Eric Winston has been a popular name that has been thrown around across the different social media sites. Despite having a down year last year with the Chiefs, Eric Winston would be a great addition to the Dolphins offensive line. I know all of you have probably already heard this a million times, but Winston is a great zone-blocker and the Dolphins want to run a zone-blocking scheme. Not only does he fit strategy wise, but he also played his collegiate ball at the University of Miami. Not only did he play college ball here, but his brother is a scout for the Dolphins. To me, it doesn’t make sense as to why Winston is still a free agent and not a Miami Dolphin. Hopefully he will soon become a Dolphin. If he doesn’t, there are still some quality tackles left that could give the team some quality play. Tyson Clabo, Barry Richardson and Sean Locklear are all still available. Those players could easily step in and have a high impact immediately.
Even though Miami has been aggressive, there are still some holes that could be filled. Clearly, the Dolphins have vastly improved their team and are expected to compete with the New England Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East. I cannot wait to see what other tricks Jeff Ireland and the rest of the front office have up their sleeve. Normally I won’t say this, but until I am proven wrong I am just going to have 100% trust and faith in Jeff Ireland’s abilities to put together a playoff caliber team.
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