Team Need Number 5: Offensive Line
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have several needs this year entering the NFL Draft which is now less than a week away. From the offense to the defense only QB is set as far as the roster goes and even that may take a surprise turn if the Phins decide to draft QB Pat White.
This week, the final 5 days leading up to the draft, I will look at my top 5 needs for the Miami Dolphins and rank them based on what I feel should be their top priorities. By no means do I believe that the Dolphins should draft in this order but instead should draft the players that make the most sense at that time that fill a need.
The Miami Dolphins will continue their rebuild in 6 days and this our first look at the top 5 needs of the team begins with the Offensive Line at number 5. The Dolphins are trying to get meaner and more physical along the offensive trench as evidenced by the addition of Jake Grove at center and the trade of the more finesse Samson Satele.
Team need number 5: Offensive Line
Why is this a need:
The Phins have some bright youngsters on the line but lack depth and a reliable RG. Donald Thomas was placed on IR after week 1 and as a promising rookie has no guarantees that he will return to showing the promise he displayed last year. Behind the starters, the depth is nothing much. The Phins only have one “center” on the roster.
What the team has: Vernon Carey – RT, Jake Long – LT, Jake Grove – Center, Justin Smiley – LG, Donald Thomas – RG, Nate Garner, Brandon Frye – Tackles, Andy Alleman, Shawn Murphy, Ikechuku Ndukwe – Guards.
The Good: With Jake Long making the pro-bowl in his rookie year, the Dolphins hope that his sophomore year will be even more rewarding. Long loves to learn from his mistakes and rarely makes them twice. The Phins assured themselves that they would not be searching for RT when they re-signed Vernon Carey prior to free agency. The Dolphins didn’t believe that Samson Satele was their answer at center so they traded him to Oakland and signed Oaklands free agent center Jake Grove. Grove is a beast who’s injury history may be attributed to poor conditioning practices in Oakland. With Just Smiley returning from a freak injury and Donald Thomas expected to be 100 percent the Dolphins have a good base to build their offense around.
The Bad: Justin Smiley has spent the last two seasons on IR. One in Miami last year and the other in SF. Both injuries were not related. Donald Thomas, a rookie last year, was placed on IR. Thomas is the bigger question because despite the promise he showed in training camp and game 1, he never got to develop so in some regards he is a rookie all over again. The RG spot needs to be addressed if for depth only. The real spot however is center. Jake Grove has had some injury history and the Dolphins have no depth behind him.
Who is available:
Not much outside of the top guys at tackle which the Phins don’t need. At center, Max Unger and Alex Mack represent the top of their class and while both should be available at 25 it’s very unlikely that the Phins invest a pick on a guy that will be a back-up. The Dolphins will likely look to day 2 to address the Oline unless they acquire extra picks on day 1 and someone falls.
And the Dolphins select…
On day one it would be a surprise if the Phins used a pick on offensive line. Should one of the top centers be available at 44 and the Dolphins top listed guys are gone, then maybe they take one or perhaps they go for guard Duke Robinson. It’s more likely that we hear an offensive linemans name called mid-way through day 2.
Looking at day 2 talent, the Phins may draft Louis Vasquez from Texas Tech who is a 6″4″ 333 pound guard.