The Miami Dolphins have a lot of holes to fill this off-season. When you start looking at their roster you realize just how many there are. But which one of those holes is the top priority?
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Heading into the off-season the Dolphins will need to make coaching changes. Sorry Dan Campbell but you are not ready just yet. Miami needs a strong leader who can bring in top coaching assistants. Those assistants could change the schemes on defense and on offense. That could lead to more holes. That being said a new set of eyes and coaching philosophy could be enough to make some of these players better.
The Dolphins will need to create cap space. They have more money tied up in 2016 than any other team in the league. Free agency could be vital this off-season. No, not the top names of players available but the 2nd and 3rd tier players that can play at this level. The players that are better than what Miami has now. Offensive lineman perhaps.
When the draft rolls around in April, Miami will likely have a top 10 pick. How they use that pick and on whom will be a pivotal part of the off-season. On the Palm Beach Post, Andrew Abramson took a look at who might be available in the top six. You can read that here. As I read it, it got me thinking. What’s the most important position that needs addressing?
Immediately I thought about offensive line. The Dolphins line is horrible and have been for some time. Then I realized that I am not a supporter of using a first round pick on offensive lineman. Especially when I believe you should be able to use free agency to fix that problem. Afterall Miami doesn’t need a center, they don’t need a tackle, they need guards. Two of them. Not in the top five.
So I then realized that linebacker is a huge need. Probably more glaring than the two holes on the offensive line. If the Dolphins switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 they are really going to need linebackers. Linebackers who can stop the run and cover tight-ends. There is no easy or cheap fix here. Especially in free agency. The draft is almost the only route to go unless they decide to sign an aging veteran to milk what he may have left to use.
A linebacker can change the game. On a dime. A good one can elevate the play around him and possibly make Jelani Jenkins better. Maybe Koa Misi too. Having Ndamukong Suh up front doesn’t hurt either and we know this because even Kelvin Sheppard has had his moments although few and far between.
So I was settled at linebacker until I realized that the Miami secondary is just as bad. Brent Grimes is starting to show his age and will wear down quickly over the next few seasons. On the other side of him, well there isn’t anyone. Bryce McCain has been disappointing, Bobby McCain is still raw, Jamar Taylor has been benched, and Tony Lippett is a converted wide-receiver. That’s when I realized how important that position is.
Miami can no longer play mediocre talent at cornerback and expect the pass rush to cover for it. They need a play maker. They need a young Brent Grimes who will take the ball and have the attitude to defend the best receivers in the league. The bonus? If the Dolphins can get a top end corner at the top of the draft, Brent Grimes can be taken off the top receivers and his career can be extended.
Which also brings up Brent Grimes. At some point in the next year or two the Dolphins will need to replace Grimes. Like it or not that’s reality. If they don’t fix the position opposite of him now, they will be needing to fix both in the next two seasons possibly at the same time. They may be forced to do that this year if Grimes doesn’t restrucure his deal.
With a solid cornerback the defensive line will have more time to get to the quarterback. More time to get more sacks. Force bad throws. The entire defense can be better with the addition of a blue-chip cornerback. After thinking about it and looking over all of the holes, I came to realize that if the Dolphins pick in the top 6 of the draft, CB needs to be the top position of need.