Nov 9, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive linesman Taylor Lewan (77) walks off the field after the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium. Nebraska won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Could Have Solved Line Problems

Nov 9, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive linesman Taylor Lewan (77) walks off the field after the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium. Nebraska won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Martin.  Taylor Lewan. Cyrus Kouandjio. Those are the top three names making their grapevine word of mouth connections to the Miami Dolphins ahead of this coming May’s draft.  The Dolphins through reports are very smitten with Taylor Lewan but they are not in position to get him.  At 19, where Miami stands, Lewan and likely Martin will both be off the board.  It’s not out of the question to see Miami move up or at least try to move up and get one.  A tackle that is.

Some will point their fingers backwards to last year when Miami moved up to get Dion Jordan instead of taking a tackle.  Others might point their fingers at the long list of failed attempts to fix the line over the last six seasons.  The Dolphins could have had this already fixed, should have already had it fixed.  This year.  Not last, not the year before, this year.  Instead, their backs are for now, on the surface, against a wall.

The hands of the Miami Dolphins are tied.  They have no one who can step in now and play guard or tackle on the right side.  Sorry Jason Fox but your injury history makes you a competitor for that side not a starter.  A couple million more added to the offer Jacksonville gave Zane Beadles and the RT spot would have been solved and drafting a tackle would not be as big a priority.  Instead, it’s rather glaring.

The Dolphins should be entering the draft looking at BPA in the first round and maybe even the 2nd instead they will play a dangerous game.  If the Dolphins move up in the draft, they will likely overspend in compensation.  If they stay put they either lose out one of the top tackles or reach for a projected late to 2nd rounder.  If they go BPA and hold their cards for a tackle/guard in round two they stand a chance to completely miss on everyone or reach high in two for a projected three.

All because they opted to not spend a few extra million on the right side.

This is not to say that Beadles was the right answer.  I don’t know if he was but there were other options.  The Dolphins opted to add Branden Albert and then add a couple of competition pieces instead of starters.  I’m not complaining either only making the obvious observation.  The Dolphins have a hole on the right side of Mike Pouncey and there is little left in free agency and a gamblers table awaiting them in New York on draft day.

It’s an old drum that keeps getting beaten on but the simple fact is the Dolphins do not have what is believed to be a starter on the roster ready to take over both guard and tackle positions if the season started tomorrow.  You would need to use Nate Garner, Sam Brenner, and others to fill those holes and hope they develop.  The Dolphins want to protect Ryan Tannehill and they want to be a better running team.  You can’t do either without lineman capable of blocking.  In this one area the Dolphins have thus far not succeeded.  They haven’t failed but they have surely not fixed that part of the line and frankly you can’t have a good passing game and a rushing attack with no line.

The Dolphins are sitting on a draft that will frankly be a bit boring.  Lineman are not exciting they are necessities and it’s fine drafting needs when you have other key positions filled with players who make a difference.  Miami lacks difference makers.  I’m not so sure it will be all that interesting come draft day.  If a lineman falls Miami should feel fortunate but I sense they may reach for a guy because their options may be gone.

It’s a position they have no one to blame but themselves for.  They had the chance to fix the line and opted to chance it with the draft.  It may still work out well and we all hope it does but frankly, too much is riding on finding that right fit rookie to not only fall to you at 19 but to make the move to the NFL a seamless one.  They could have had this addressed early in free agency.  Wouldn’t have been cheap but it would have taken the risk out of what they are hoping for now.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Taylor Lewan Zach Martin

  • jeremy161616

    Brian Miller, always the negative guy

  • Johnny

    Eric Winston is still available..

    • Bob Grush

      Eric Winston graded out at -16.3 according to PFF and Zane Beadles plays LG with a grade of -5.7…..I am just guessing, but Miami may feel their money is better spent trying to find player that are on the upswing.

      • Johnny

        Like who??? Fox?? Clabo, McKinnie?? Theirs nobody left in FA that is better then Winston at RT.. Just saying that atleast we would have some insurance if another rookie doesn’t pan out..

        • David Thompson

          David Stewart and yes McKinnie. Travelle Wharton is still out there, he’s probably the 2nd best OG available this FA period. Davin Joseph, Uche Nwaneri and Wade Smith are unsigned. Relax

          • Johnny

            I think Travell Wharton is like 50yrs old.. And I believe McKinnie will struggle at a new position for him at RT.. He struggled at LT… Winston is a young 30.. He’s also a leader in the locker room.. He’s the president of the Players!!! As for Travelle and other guards over the hill… I know we can easily grab 2 more guards in the draft… It’s the RT position that it’s worries me… Hopefully we can land Martin in round 1 or maybe Moses slides to us in 2.. Don’t want to reach for the 5th ranked T in round 1… Either trade up and get the one of the “Top 3″ or take a Gamble… Maybe Winston will be around after the draft.. Who knows..

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      We do need another incognito, what we dont need is another crybaby like martin. Dude it happens in all the locker rooms it just happened to be exposed in ours. I loved it when incognito would not back down from nobody plus all the team mates backed him, that says a lot dude. I would love to have Lewan i just would like for him to restrain himself after the play. If Miami where to draft Lewan and Lewan were to show maturation it would show so much on behalf of the Dolphins organization, people say Miami wont go for him cuz of the bully scandal but it actually makes more sense to grab him because of who he is and what they can do to help him. If they dont go for him there will be plenty of other options. It doesnt matter if they grab a guy in the first thats projected in the second as long as he is a solid starter. The scouting department will spend all their resources in picking the right guy rest assured. And i hope we dont go Mosely, he is good in pass coverage but lacking in run defense so we dont need another Ellerbe. Even tho im not a professional scout anyone with a football brain knows Mosely is not a run stuffer. If we want a sideline to sideline guy who can play the pass well then Jelani Jenkins is our man.

      • DragonFly34

        I would like to have Incognito back, he’s paid his fine, re-sign him. But they won’t. Ross is running scared, thus the firing of O’Neil to appease the media. This entire event is being driven by the media,,,its good print, the bad ole white man is bulling the poor little black boy,,,,,,pure left wing media bias, bull shit. Has anyone noticed that Goodell is dragging his feet in suspending or fining any of the principals in this bully case. It appears the Wells investigation hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans.

    • Miami Jules (Julian)

      Johnny, I have shared your concerns about Taylor “Facemask” Lewan in the past, but then I figured this. Lewan would be a rookie coming into an intimidating locker room of veterans. That and the fact that the Dolphins have veterans leaders like Albert and Fox who are reputedly of good solid character and unblemished reputation, will draw the line between traditional locker room behavior and over the line off limits area for those who fail to see it. If Taylor was a veteran free agents I would be yelling “Do not sign him!!!!” at the top of my lungs too, but the fact he would be a rookie subject to shaping up has made me change my mind.

      • Johnny

        Don’t get me wrong Jules… I like Lewan.. I want that scrappy, nasty player who plays threw the whistle… I just think the Dolphins FO will pick him just because of their image.. That’s why they would keep away from him… I like him.. He’s definitely a Top 3 Tackle, possibly better then Mathews… Either way.. He will now fall to #19… We’d have to trade up and lose a precious pick in which we do not have many… Hopefully he falls to 13-16, then it wouldn’t cost as much to trade up… But like I said.. Ross, Philbin, and crew will be worried about the teams image after that BS Bullying crap last year..

        • Miami Jules (Julian)

          True Johnny, I doubt it if he falls to # 19 and if he did, it’d probably be because other teams have concerns about losing yards because of penalties. Remember last year? All the rage was about the top 3 OT’s but it was Fluker who was actually getting a lot of praise during the season, so if we miss on a quality player in the 1st and with this draft being maybe a bit deeper than last year’s, the real stud maybe someone in the 2nd round like Mewhort or Moses… who knows, maybe even Antonio Richardson.

          • Johnny

            It’s a gamble… I’d take T/G Zach Martin if he’s there at #19… He can start day 1 at RT or G… But he doesn’t have the size.. Only 6’4 with shorter then average arm length.. But he’s a technician.. Or go with ILB CJ Mosley (BPA) and gamble on a 2nd T like Richardson… I doubt Moses will make it to #50????????

  • John Smith

    I love my Dolphins as I must be masochistic. But we have got to be one of the dumbest pro teams going. Hell yeah this should have been fixed a long time ago. Isn’t that why they hired Sparano?? Any fool could see that the O line needs complete overhaul and it’s also obvious the Dolphins are not doing enough about it. The Brandon Albert move was a year late. Getting a blue chip from the draft may be possible but no matter who you get -they are going to be a rookie. Your not going to the playoffs with a rookie being responsible for half the line.

    It’s time to make some trades. Up or down in the draft. Spend some money – do something to guarantee that Tannyhill can get some time and that we can run the ball or it’s going to be the same results as last season.

    It really sucks when I as a fan can “out manage” the coaches and management for this team. Time and time again I know what they should do – they don’t do it and if they would have done what I thought they should do it would have been gold and when they do what they do it turns out to be crap.

    Any fool would have picked up Drew Brees over Culpepper. Well almost any fool. This is just one of COUNTLESS examples.

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      Brees had a serious shoulder injury where as Culpepper was a hip or leg, it wasnt black and white as you claim. They did try as fix/strengthen the line you have to give them that. Plus they moved from a man to zone blocking scheme, you have to factor that in as well. All in all they have to do a better job evaluating

  • Gene Hauze

    I believe that the current line problems also stem from the change to a zone blocking scheme. As a result, the Dolphins need lighter, more mobile OL — so, guys like Jerry did not fit. Interestingly, at the same time, the Dolphins changed from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defensive scheme which shuffled chairs and put some players out of their natural positions. Heck, I think Ireland drafted Jordan thinking they were still using a 3-4.

    Given this predicament and the fact that I am tired of paying $$$ for cast off vets as stop gap measures, I think Hickey should draft OL in a big way. I say draft OL in the first three rounds and then take another one in the 5th or 6th round. Bring in 4 guys and let them fight it out for two spots. This draft is deep in RTs — Kouandjio, Moses, Mewhort, Bitonio, James, and Turner can all be had in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Heck, you can get Hurst (North Carolina), who was projected as a 2nd rounder at LT until he broke his leg in the bowl game, in the 5th or 6th round. He is a smart guy and, if he will be ready by training camp, take him in the 5th round. If you get four guys who can play tackle and guard, bring ‘em in and let them fight it out. You got to hit on at least one.

    One last thought, I wonder if Hickey is not thinking about moving up using Matt Moore? Devlin played well last pre-season. And, Hickey just signed Little Rodgers (a third string QB). Maybe something like the 19th pick and Matt Moore for the Rams 13th pick — the Rams need a good backup for Bradford. With the 13th pick, the Dolphins could get Ross’ Michigan Man Lewan — by the way, I am really not a big fan of him.

    • Miami Jules (Julian)

      You make really good solid points in your comment Gene, and while I may have alternate options I can fully more than understand your points, including the last paragraph which is the first thing I thought of when I read Miami had signed Rogers.
      According to some “analysts”, this draft is deeper at guard than at tackle but still deep enough to help us. I like, of all the tackle options you mentioned, I am more partial to Mewhort (Kuoandjio used to be my undisputed #1 until the NFL Combine). I have also been on the JaWuan James wagon as a 3rd rounder.

  • Robert Jason

    Brian, you mentioned lack of difference makers. Add Chris Johnson, and with Wallace and Johnson you’ll have 2 of the 4 fastest guys inn the NFL. Johnson needed to get out of TN, and they obliged him.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    Great article there Brian, and I agree that neither Taylor or Martin should drop to 19, but I think there’s still a chance Martin could indeed drop to the Phins. I am NOT sold on Martin though. Yes, he’s done great, and turned heads at the SR Bowl and had analysts raving during the Combine… but what about the pro level, especially at tackle like some are suggesting. I have concerns due to his size and arm length, which hasn’t been a problem considering SR Bowl or Combine, he’s still facing college players. I am one of those (remember my question to Ireland during the Webbies?) who would’ve loved to have had the Dolphins draft OL last year. I was not sold on Martin… the other Martin, going into last year’s training camp my concerns were Martin, Clabo and Tannehill and while my Tannehill concerns were put to rest after the first scrimmage, my OL concerns remained and were validated as the regular season got under way last year, hence my then unwelcome question to our former GM.
    It looks like we’re a bit late at 19 for any worthy 1st round caliber OL prospect, so I am not opposed to those who call for an ILB @ 19, however, I have my own solution (I don’t want to be different on purpose, it happens because I stay true to what I believe in): Trade down and with 2 picks in the 2nd round, go Jaylen Watkins and Jake Mewhort, followed by hopefully JaWuan James in the 3rd. Don’t like Mewhort? OK, fill the spot with your OT/OG of choice then, I have no problem with that, but while I do believe a stronger DL will take some pressure off our linebackers this year… hopefully, I am still very edgy about our secondary…. sorry but last year’s rookies and Finnegan do not overwhelm me with confidence and if we’re to win the division, we can not afford a famed QB in our division to have easy pickin’s at our secondary’s expense. Don’t misunderstand me, I still have OL, secondary, DL, and LB as areas that at the very least Miami needs depth at. Great discussion everyone.

  • Johnny

    Hey Brian…. Should I renew my Season Tickets??? My prices went up… Should I stay at the shade section of 149 on aisle (around 1 yd line)??? About $ 2 Gs or move up to section 450 corner up for about half that price???? HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!! HELP!!

  • DragonFly34

    The Dolphin front office has failed miserable over the past yrs to produce a good OL ,,it makes a fan think the front office would rather be lucky then good?