For offensive line help, the Miami Dolphins must turn to the draft
Now that the dust has settled a little on free agency, it’s not hard to come away impressed with the moves the Miami Dolphins pulled off. Acquiring All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey was the headliner, followed by quality singings at linebacker and backup quarterback.
The one position group that seemed overshadowed was the offensive line. Many Dolphins fans see protecting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as priority number one. Still, other than a couple of one-year deals for depth, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier hasn’t made any moves to improve a unit that needs some reinforcements. That said, maybe the help won’t come from the open market but from the draft.
The Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick this year and, as of this writing, only have five picks in total. The most valuable picks are a second-round pick (51st overall), and two third-round picks (77th and 84th overall). Not the sexiest picks in the world, but many of the best teams in the league build their offensive lines in this part of the draft. Of the 23 offensive linemen named to the 2023 Pro Bowl, 10 were drafted in the second or third round. If the Dolphins aren’t going to spend big free agent money to fix the offensive line, then the draft is the way to go.
The Dolphins are secure with Terron Armstead at left tackle, but right tackle could be due for an upgrade. Some options include BYU’s Blake Freeland, North Dakota State’s Cody Munch, Ohio State’s Dawand Jones, and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron, all of whom rank in the bottom 50 of Pro Football Focus’ top-100 big board where Miami’s picks will land.
The interior offensive line needs a facelift as well. Center Connor Williams had the highest PFF grade among all Miami linemen, but both guard spots yielded disappointing results. Former 2021 second-round pick Liam Eichenberg from Notre Dame was hampered by injuries for much of last season, but even when he was healthy his play was poor. Robert Jones didn’t fair much better, either, leaving the middle of the line vulnerable. Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence is a likely plug-and-play selection for whichever team selects him. He ranks 33rd on PFF’s big board, which may put him just out of reach for Miami. Other options include Ohio State’s Luke Wypler, USC’s Andrew Vorhees, Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe, Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz, Duke’s Graham Barton, Connecticut’s Christian Hayes, and TCU’s Steve Avila.
If the Dolphins want to capitalize on the all-in season they’re building towards right now, they need to protect Tagovailoa. To do that, they’ll need to invest in the offensive line more than they have been in free agency. For Tagovailoa’s sake, let’s hope help is on the way.