Miami Dolphins 2015 Needs: Offensive Line
By Brian Miller
It’s been about twenty years or so it seems, since the Miami Dolphins had a top offensive line. Neither Cam Cameron or Nick Saban could fix it and Bill Parcells’ arrival didn’t fix it either. Jeff Ireland couldn’t fix and so far Dennis Hickey hasn’t fixed it either.
The Dolphins have some very good talent on the offensive line and truth be told it’s not far from becoming one of the best in the NFL. Ja’wuan James was a stellar selection in the 2014 first round and Branden Albert is a Pro-Bowl left tackle while Mike Pouncey is a Pro-Bowl center. Unfortunately the Dolphins were a little nearsighted in early 2014 because while they applauded the James selection and the Albert signing, they didn’t bother to look to the future.
Albert has a long history of back problems and missed time with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins knew that but apparently didn’t quantify adding a legit back-up at either tackle position. In the end it was a defining reason for the Dolphins offensive slide late in the season.
Heading into 2015 the Dolphins will once again need to address the offensive line. They will need to get someone who can legitimately be a back-up tackle in case 2014 repeats itself or if Branden Albert isn’t ready to go at seasons start. They will also need to address both guard positions.
Currently the guard spots are a mash-up of players that are not getting the job done. Either by veteran or unproven rookie, the guard positions continue to be weak. Last season the right guard spot suffered even with Mike Pouncey manning the position.
The Dolphins will need to address this position in free agency and not the draft. Here’s why. The Dolphins can’t afford to wait for a rookie to step up and play at the NFL level and frankly there are no real guard options at the 14th spot for the Dolphins so barring a trade back Miami won’t select a lineman in round one. The team already has more than enough day two and day three lineman that they are trying to make into NFL starters so adding one more will only thin out the quality of depth until someone steps up. In free agency however you can add one good guard and then let the younger players compete for the other spot.
Regardless of what the Dolphins decide to do, time is running out on this regime and Dennis Hickey needs to get this off-season 100% correct or he too could be on his way out after the 2015 season. It will all start with the offensive line and what they do in free agency and the draft will go a long way in determining the teams 2015 season and the future of their head coach.
49ers Guard Mike Iupati, 27 years old
Packers Tackle Bryan Bulaga, 26 years old
Titans Tackle Michael Roos, 32 years old
Cowboys Tackle Doug Free, 30 years old
Chargers Center Nick Hardwick, 33 years old
Patriots Guard Dan Connoly, 32 years old
Lions Guard Rob Sims, 31 years old
Cowboys Guard Ron Leary, 25 years old (RFA)
Bills Guard Erik Pears, 32 years old
Chargers Guard Jerome Clary, 31 years old
Redskins Tackle Tyler Polumbus, 29 years old
Seahawks Guard James Carpenter, 25 years old
Chargers Tackle King Dunlap, 29 years old