Dolphins 2016 offensive line preview: starting right guard


While the Dolphins are slated to start four first-round draft picks on the offensive line, the biggest question about the line will be who will fill the remaining position – starting right guard.  Jermon Bushrod, Billy Turner, and Kraig Ulrick might each be given a shot.

With the drafting of Laremy Tunsil in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and the healthiness of Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey, and Ja’Wuan James, the Dolphins’ 2016 offensive line appears to be set at every position – with a first round draft choice, no less – except right guard.  OTAs and training camp should go a long way in determining that spot, though consistency and cohesiveness mandate that the right decision be made quickly.

Billy Turner

Billy Turner was originally a third-round draft selection (67th overall) of the Dolphins in the 2014 NFL Draft.  He played in just 2 games during his rookie season, being inactive for the first 14 games of the 2014 season.  In 2015, Turner saw 787 offensive snaps, was below average in pass blocking, and was particularly bad against the run.  The 2016 season might be his final shot at convincing the Dolphins’ new coaching staff and brass that he has the talent and skill to fill the right guard starter role.  Various depth charts currently project Turner as the starting right guard.

Jermon Bushrod

Jermon Bushrod was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and he was the Saints’ starting left tackle in their Super Bowl XLIV championship.  In 2013, Bushrod signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears.  Last year, playing with offensive coordinator and now Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase, Bushrod played in 12 games but made only four starts after injuries, including a concussion during a Week 3 loss, limited his playing time.  The Bears released Bushrod in February, and the Dolphins signed him one month later.  Despite never playing guard at any level, the Dolphins will try Bushrod at right guard and will also consider him as a backup on the offensive line.

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Kraig Ulrick

Kraig Ulrick was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft.  During his rookie season, he remained largely inactive and was waived prior to the start of the 2010 season.  The Buffalo Bills claimed Ulrick off of waivers two days later, and by 2012, Buffalo felt so strongly about him that they signed him to a four-year, $13.3 million contract extension.  In 2015, Ulrick agreed to a pay cut in an effort to stay with the team.  By 2016, Ulrick was available to sign with the Dolphins.  Realistically, Ulrick is expected to compete more for a backup position than to be the starting right guard.