Miami Dolphins Preview: Ja’Wuan James


Entering the 2014 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins had a glaring hole at right tackle they needed to fill. The hole was so glaring, they selected one in the first round that some pundits questioned as a reach. All the Tennessee rookie Ja’Wuan James did was come in from day 1 and step in as a starter and play like one unlike the last failed high pick experiment at right tackle — cough, cough Jonathan Martin; overall a solid pick through and through.

2014 Review

A plug and play player, James proved to be just that for the Miami Dolphins by starting all 16 games of his rookie season. Coming in from day one of rookie mini camps and stepping in as the starter and future of the right tackle position. Getting a player to live up that quickly to the billing as a first round pick is always a tricky proposition, but James handled it with tremendous poise. James also displayed versatility for Miami by stepping in at left tackle for the injured Branden Albert when he went down with a season ending injury against the Detroit Lions. For most players, having not played left tackle since high school would be a daunting task, while James did endure his growing pains, he played his tail off and proved nothing was too big for his britches. While better suited to stay on the right side, James showed he’s capable of providing dependable versatility in a pinch. Overall, James had a fine rookie season for the Miami Dolphins, as they not only got a player they can depend on and develop, but also got a player with invaluable versatility.

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2015 Preview

Entering his second season, James comes into the year as one of the young bright spots on the offensive side of the football for the Miami Dolphins. Last season, James proved himself as a building block for the future and Miami is expecting some big leaps in growth, especially physically after a year in their training program. James enters training camp as the undisputed starter at right tackle this season and while left tackle Albert remains out rehabbing, Miami is conscience of keeping James at his natural position to keep his progress on track. James looks to continue the promise he showed as a rookie and if the rest of the line around him can stay healthy and come together, James could potentially begin to earn league wide recognition for his abilities. Point blank, James is a stud that along with a healthy Mike Pouncey and Albert, provide the Miami Dolphins with the building blocks they need to improve a once shaky line.

The challenge for James is to avoid a sophomore slump and continue his growth. The key for him will be the health around him; and not having to play out of position again, which could stunt his progression. James looks like a durable individual and has a track record of success as such dating back to his college days, so look for him to start all 16 games again. If those 16 starts all come at right tackle, it will have been a good year for the Miami Dolphins health and production wise, because a healthy offensive line should fuel a potentially explosive offensive attack.