Miami has their future left tackle in Laremy Tunsil but they do not have their future left guard and frankly they don’t have a future right guard, right tackle, or center. In other words, the Dolphins offensive line may look nice now but it’s really a mess.
Mike Pouncey should and will return but his health is becoming a major issue. Miami needs to address the future sooner rather than later because he can no longer be counted on 100% to make it through a full season. Jermon Bushrod played well last year at RG but he is over 30 years old and Miami lacks competing depth behind him.
The Dolphins wasted too many years waiting for Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner to develop and because of that they wasted too many years believing that the future of their offensive line was on the roster. When Tunsil moves to left tackle there will be a void at left guard.
On the right side of the line, Ja’Wuan James is struggling and his future isn’t looking very good at the moment. If he doesn’t turn things around in 2017, the Dolphins will have to find a replacement. Miami’s struggles along the offensive line are well documented and this year the team needs to focus on the roster in both the draft and in free agency.
For the most part, the Dolphins have taken the poor man’s approach to their offensive line in recent years. Only Branden Albert who was signed in 2014 was signed to be a starter. Players like Jeff Linkenback, Shelley Smith, Jason Fox, Jacques McClendon, and Lance Louis were all supposed to compete and add depth. Miami’s failures however has come at the expense of this practice.
When coupled with the lack of success in the draft, the failures of free agency are magnified. Yes, Laremy Tunsil looks to be heading towards a great career but 2016 saw one offensive lineman taken in the draft and back-up Sam Young taken in free agency.
In 2015 it was the wasted pick of Jamil Douglas in round 4, 2014 was Billy Turner in round three. 2014 was the last season that Miami doubled up on offensive lineman in the draft taking Turner and Ja’Wuan James in round one. In fact you have to go all the way back to 2008 in Bill Parcell’s first season to find the next draft that Miami doubled up on offensive lineman. Not in rounds 1, 2, or 3 but any rounds combined. In 2008 the Dolphins took Jake Long number one overall and added Shawn Murphy and Donald Thomas as well.
One of the issues that has plagued the Dolphins in all these years was the fact that Miami’s roster had so many holes that the team continued to try to piecemeal the roster together with higher spending and focus spent on free agency.
This year the Dolphins need to spend money in free agency on at least one starting caliber player. Preferably guard. They then need to add at least two offensive lineman through the draft that can be developed.