Genovesi’s Grades: Miami Dolphins free agency part 2
In the first part of this series I looked at how the Dolphins addressed the wide receiver and defensive line positions in free agency. Here, I break down the moves made on the offensive line and at running back .
Offensive Line: A
The Dolphins welcome two newcomers to their offensive line in 2018. Josh Sitton will play LG and Daniel Kilgore will be Miami’s center when the Dolphins open the season in September, if everything goes according to plan. Jesse Davis is also the favorite to be the RG.
Josh Sitton might be the biggest addition of the offseason for the Dolphins. Sitton is a four-time pro bowler, most recently in 2016. Three of his four pro bowl seasons are at left guard as well.
The 10-year veteran played eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, winning one Super Bowl in 2011. He played the last two years with the Chicago Bears.
Simply put, Sitton can do anything the Dolphins ask him to do.
Miami was looking for not only a good player but a leader that could mentor LT Laremy Tunsil this season. They found their guy with Josh Sitton.
Daniel Kilgore is the surprise addition of the offseason for Miami. All reports were that Mike Pouncey would be the Dolphins center in 2018, and in the blink of an eye Miami traded for Kilgore and released Pouncey.
I have read a lot of mixed opinions on this move, so to avoid any confusion: I love it.
I do not care that Pouncey is 28-years-old and Kilgore is 30. Pouncey’s hips are so bad that he only practices once a week in order to play every Sunday for Miami. That is simply not good enough.
Practicing every day as a cohesive group matters on the offensive line. It develops chemistry and allows all five to become familiar with one another. With Pouncey that was not going to happen.
Plus, Pouncey was elite three years ago, not so much anymore.
With Kilgore, the Dolphins gain another leader on the offensive line who played extremely well during San Francisco’s five game win streak to close out 2017. The 49ers even gave him an extension a month before trading him to Miami.
When the GM likes a guy so much that he quickly gives him a three year extension and says that about him, what’s not to like?
Kilgore is an excellent run blocking center. The knack on him is he struggles to pass block. According to ProFootballFocus.com, he was the 23rd best center last season, out of 35 players.
The reason he was rated so low is his pass blocking. However, when Jimmy Garoppolo started for the 49ers in their last five games, “Kilgore did not allow a sack or quarterback hit and his grade was among the NFL’s top 10 centers”, according to Armando Salguero.
Basically, Kilgore’s play elevated with a good quarterback under center, and he excelled in both the run and pass game.
Bottom line: Sitton and Kilgore are both strong leaders that help fortify Miami’s offensive line. Even if Kilgore is not a top-10 center, he will not be a massive downgrade from injury prone Mike Pouncey. The Dolphins could easily have their best offensive line in the Ryan Tannehill era in 2018.
Running back: B-
This one is short and sweet (or not so sweet). The Dolphins signed Frank Gore to a one-year deal this offseason, and chose not to resign Damien Williams.
At first, I hated this move. Damien Williams is only 26-years-old and is the exact type of running back that Adam Gase loves. He can catch the ball out of the back field, is a fantastic blocker, and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and take contact.
Williams just didn’t get used much in his time with the Dolphins because of guys ahead of him such as Jay Ajayi, and after his injury last year, Kenyan Drake thrived.
In his first start after the Ajayi trade, Williams had 6 receptions for 47 yards and a TD out of the backfield. That is the type of receiving production Gase wants out of his backs.
I thought Miami did not bring Williams back because he was asking for too much, but then he signed with the Chiefs for a whopping $1.5 million. I still believe the decision to not bring him back could be a mistake made by the Dolphins front office.
The signing of Frank Gore brings 13 years of experience to the running backs room in Miami. Somehow, Gore is still producing at the age of 34.
The Coral Gables, Florida native rushed for 961 yards and three touchdowns last season. Last year was just the second time in the last seven seasons Gore failed to rush for 1,000 yards.
From a production and leadership standpoint, Gore is a fantastic signing for the Dolphins. The reason I give the running back position a B- is because the Dolphins do not have another guy that can take a full work load if Kenyan Drake gets injured.
Gore only carried the ball over 18 times on three occasions last season with the Colts. One of those was the “blizzard” game against Buffalo when neither team could throw the ball. I do not believe he could be Miami’s featured back for a long stretch this season.
The Dolphins still need to add a young back through the draft or another off season signing in order to complete the RB position.
That wraps up the free agency portion of “Genovesi’s Grades”. The next edition will cover what the Dolphins did in the Draft at the end of the month unless Miami makes another big move in the next few weeks.