FA/Draft Primer – OLine
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have a ton of needs and none are as glaring as the offensive line. With the TE position locked down, the WR’s finished, and the QB spot finally not a need. The Oline poses a challenge for the Dolphins coaches who were dissappointed in last years running game and pass protection. The Phins locked up Vernon Carey for the next 6 years and have the left side solidified with Guard Justin Smiley and last year number 1 pick Jake Long. The RG and Center position however are huge question marks that could dictate the Dolphins free agent and draft plans early.
ON THE ROSTER
Al Johsnon, Samson Satele, Vernon Carey, Justin Smiley, Donald Thomas, Jake Long, Ikechuku Ndukwe, Shawn Murphy, Andy Alleman, Nate Garner, and Brandon Frye.
(5 out of 5) The Miami Dolphins have a problem with their RG (Donald Thomas is unproven) and Center position as well as depth at all other line positions. The team is on a youth movement and the Phins will likely address the position with two of their draft picks in this years draft with at least one expected to come in the first 3 picks on day 1. The team is also expected to be players in free agency and will not only settle on searching for upgrading their depth but may throw more money at a sure fire road grater starter.
FREE AGENT OPTIONS
(4 Stars out of 5 vs. Phins needs)
UFA’s – Unrestricted free agents
Jason Brown – Center – Baltimore: No name is linked to the Dolphins more often than Jason Brown. Brown is a 25 year old Pro-Bowl caliber Center that fits the size and drive of a Bill Parcells style offensive line. Brown however will not come cheap if he does in fact hit the FA market. Brown has stated that he wants to be the highest paid Center in the NFL and likely will be. The Phins just sent a bunch of money to the Vernon Carey family so the question is can they afford Brown?
Kwame Harris – LT – Oakland: Harris was released yesterday by the Oakland Raiders after signing a big free agent contract last off-season. He struggled at the end of the season with penalties and poor play. With the Phins shoring up their RT spot with Carey and Long on the left. The T position in free agency will be for depth. Harris will start somewhere.
Stacy Andrews – T – Bengals: The Bengals had no running game last season. They had no passing game either. Andrews is supposed to be a good lineman. He won’t come to Miami to be a backup.
Khalif Barnes – T – Jacksonville: It seems as though there are some names atop the free agent market for tackles, but each of them has their own issues. Barnes played well in Jax over the last few years and was one of the reasons that the duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew had as much success as they have. Barnes is young at 26 and is well over 300 pounds but again, the Phins won’t be looking for a starting LT.
Joe Berger – G – Dallas: The team alone says that Berger could be a target of the Phins. However, in his 5 years in the NFL, Berger has started only 7 games. He is a 6-4 310 pound lineman who could be a depth addition to the team.
Elton Brown – G – Arizona: Brown signed a one year deal worth just under a million last season. He is a wapping 340 pounds at 6’5″. Brown’s problem is that he can’t seem to get it together consistently. He will seek a bigger contract this season but teams may shy away from him as he has had some knee issues.
Jason Fabini – G – Washington: At 6’7″ and 312 pounds Fabini would be a perfect fit in the Dolphins offense…except for the fact that he will be looking for one last contract at the age of 34. The Phins don’t look at guys over the age of 30 unless they are for depth. Fabini can still start and expects to.
Mike Goff – G – SD: Goff is 33 years old but could be an option for the RG position while Donald Thomas gets back on track. Thomas is the future at the position, or so the Phins think but he is recovering from a Lisfranc fracture in his foot so it may not be as simple as returning to the field for TC and picking it up where he left off. Goff will be a 2nd tier or maybe even a top 3rd tier free agent.
Adam Goldberg – T – STL: Goldberg is 28 years old and has been backing up Orlando Pace for the last 6 years. He has been a lifer at the backup position but has starting experience. He may try and find a starting gig but if teams are not willing to give him a shot, he will have to land a spot for depth. At that point maybe there is Phins interest.
Matt Lehr – G – NO: Lehr started only 3 games last season as he is a backup G. 29 years old and 6-2 304 he is an ideal candidate for the Phins depth issues. Shawn Murphy so far has been nothing special and while he will go through training camp this year, the Phins brass may have to seriously look at how he is developing and that could be a key to what and who is signed in free agency.
Duke Preston – G – Buffalo: This is a guy that may draw some interest from the Phins. He is a 2/3 tier Guard who started 11 games last season. Comes from a division rival, stands well over 6 ft. and is pushing 323. Preston is young at 26 and would not be handed the keys to a starting job. He would be someone who would push Donald Thomas and vice-versa. Depending on what other teams value him, Preston may be a free agent target.
Cory Proctor – G – Dallas: Pretty much any free agent coming out of Dallas will have their name associated with the Dolphins. A career back-up, Proctor is over 6 and over 300 at the age of 26. He was an undrafted signee by, you guessed it Bill Parcells.
Marvel Smith – G – Pitt: Smith played in only 5 games last year and has hit the big 30 which limits the Phins interest in him. However, he isn’t expected to be the next great name starter in the NFL which means he would compete. A solid lineman when healthy, Smith is 323 and comes out of the Pitt road-grader style which is a plus.
Mark Tauscher – T – GB: Tauscher has started in every game he has played. Last year it was 13 games. With both tackle spots locked down, the Phins won’t be interested in a competition.
The rest of the UFA’s: (tackles in red)
Floyd Womach, Eric Young, Billy Yates, Ray Willis, Jason Whittle, Chris White, Fred Weary, Tra Thomas, Barry Stokes, John Stinchcomb, John St. Claire, Blaine Saipaia, Jon Runyan, Frank Omiyale, Chris Naeole, Edwin Mulitalo, Fred Miller, Seth “the sloth” McKinney, Evan Mathis, Daniel Loper, Pete Kendall, Adriane Jones, Scott Jackson, Russ Hochstein, Chris Gray, Brandon Gorin, Wayne Gandy, Renardo Foster, George Foster, Kynan Forney, Damane Duckett, Anthony Davis, Damion Cook, Kirk Chambers, Cooper “Turnstile” Carlisle, Milford Brown.
RFA’s: Restricted Free Agents
The Dolphins won’t likely look to the RFA list of offensive lineman when there is quality available for free. They are not looking for a long term answer as much as a question of depth and challenging Donald Thomas at the RG position. Because of that only one name really stands out among the RFA’s.
Chris Kemoeatu – G – Pitt: Chris is coming off a Super Bowl victory so winning is something that he has and something that Phins look for. The problem is that draft pick compensation would be needed to land him and then it’s not guaranteed that an offer wouldn’t be matched instead. Not likely a target.
The rest of the RFA’s:
Wesley Britt, Rashard Butler, Tyson Clabo, Richard Collier, Willie Colon, Harvey Dahl, Trai Essex, Jahri Evans, Dan Federkeil, Justin Geisinger, Marcus Johnson, Chris Morris, Mike Otto, Tony Palmer, Erik Pears, Donald Penn, Mark Setterstrom, Zach Strief, Tony Wragge.
The Draft Availables
Duke Robinson, Oklahoma Height: 6-5. Weight: 329. – Robinson is the standout guard from this draft class and it gets a bit muddled after the top 3. Guards are not normally drafted high which could bode well for the Dolphins. Should Robinson fall to 25, the Phins would be hard pressed not to draft him.
Late round 1 Round 2 projections:
Andy Levitre, Oregon State Height: 6-3. Weight: 305.
Herman Johnson, LSU Height: 6-7. Weight: 364.
Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati Height: 6-5. Weight: 307.
Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin Height: 6-5. Weight: 328.
Tyronne Green, Auburn Height: 6-2. Weight: 309.
Anthony Parker, Tennessee Height: 6-2. Weight: 297.
The Phins won’t likely draft a tackle in round 1 or two
Names like Jason Smith, Mike Oher, and Eugene Monroe are unnescessary to put here as they will be long gone before the Phins pick at 25. Andre’ Smith out of Alabama could be someone the Phins look at if he falls to 25 but the problem is they have nowhere to put any day one tackles with the money already invested.
Outside of those 4 names, the Phins will likely address the “T” spot on day 2 for depth and development.
If the Dolphins sign Jason Brown in free agency, this list won’t matter.
Alex Mack, California Height: 6-4. Weight: 311.
Max Unger, Oregon Height: 6-5. Weight: 309.
Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas Height: 6-4. Weight: 301.