So, now what? The Dolphins lost Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey might be facing discipline from the team, Tyson Clabo and John Jerry are free agents and not expected to return and the offensive line coach was fired. Despite that the Dolphins offensive line was absolutely terrible last season and a complete overhaul isn’t such a bad thing, the Miami Dolphins front office has their work cut out for them.
New General Manager Dennis Hickey was quick to begin the transformation of the Dolphins offensive line, as the team promoted John Benton as their new offensive line coach. The Dolphins also went out and hired Jack Bicknell Jr. – who previously worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers – as their new assistant offensive line coach. This gives Miami two very experienced and disciplined coaches that will look to change the culture, behavior and play of the offensive line.
Now that the coaches have been hired, the Dolphins must address both tackle and guard positions in free agency and the draft. Luckily for the Dolphins, they have an abundance of cap space that they can play with in an attempt to fix the offensive line. Just as the Dolphins did last season with the linebacker position, I think that they must go out and sign two tackles, via free agency. Two tackles that come to mind are Michael Oher and Brandon Albert.
Let’s start with the right tackle position. A former first round pick by the Ravens in 2009, Michael Oher has blossomed into one of the better run blockers in the National Football League. Although he never developed into the elite tackle that the Ravens had hoped, he is still very reliable starter in the league. Over the past couple of seasons, the Dolphins running game has not exactly been very good. Oher would do wonders for Miami’s running game. If Oher does not demand a large contract, the Miami Dolphins would be an excellent fit.
Next up, the left tackle position. Last offseason, the Dolphins had let All-Pro left tackle Jake Long sign with the St. Louis Rams. The decision to let Long walk meant that the Dolphins had total confidence in Jonathan Martin’s ability to take over as their starting left tackle. Well, we all saw how that worked out. One option that makes a lot of sense for Miami is Brandon Albert of the Kansas City Chiefs. Last offseason the Dolphins had the chance to trade for Albert, but ultimately decided not to. Instead of trading a draft pick for him, Miami will now have to give him a huge contract. Albert is one of the most talented left tackles in the league and is arguably the best out of this year’s free agent class. Having Albert and Oher on the outside will give Ryan Tannehill the proper protection needed, while also drastically improving the running game.
This season, the Dolphins hold the nineteenth pick in the draft. While there are other holes that the Dolphins would like to fill in the draft, it is quite obvious that they will need to continue to work on their line. One option that I am very high on is Zack Martin. Martin played tackle at Notre Dame, however, due to his body size, he might be better fit as a guard in the NFL. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, who also serves as an analyst on Notre Dame’s telecast believes that Martin is the most versatile lineman in this year’s draft and that he can play at a “high level” at all five positions. Kicking Martin inside would give the Dolphins a viable replacement for Richie Incognito and John Jerry.
That fills three out of the four positions that needed to be filled. An offensive line of Brandon Albert, Zack Martin, Mike Pouncey and Michael Oher could instantly put Miami back in the playoff hunt. But what will they do with Pouncey and the other guard position? As I stated earlier, Pouncey will likely face some sort of suspension from within the organization. It is important that the Dolphins find a replacement for Pouncey if he is suspended. With everything that transpired last season, one bright spot on the offensive line was Sam Brenner. Yes, Sam Brenner was a bright spot on the offensive line; pretty sad. Brenner, who went undrafted out of the University of Utah, provided Miami with incredible depth throughout last season. He could play both guard positions and center. He would be an option for Miami moving forward as he is not only cheap, but effective and someone who would provide this team with depth.
The Dolphins should also look to add a veteran guard in free agency and another rookie in the draft. One player that I am really high on is Brandon Thomas out of the University of Clemson. Thomas, who first started as a sophomore in 2011, can protect in both the pass and run game and can play both guard positions and possibly the center. He is a very good fit in a zone-blocking scheme which is exactly what the Miami Dolphins run. Drafting Thomas would give the Dolphins with another young lineman who could play multiple positions.
There you have it. That is my solution to fixing the Miami Dolphins offensive line. What do you all think? Leave your comments down below with your solution to the Dolphins offensive line problem. I would love to see what you all think!
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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Brandon Albert Brandon Thomas Buffalo Bills Featured Free Agency Indianapolis Colts John Jerry Jonathan Martin Miami Dolphins Michael Oher New Orleans Saints NFL Draft Opinion Popular Richie Incognito Sam Brenner Zack Martin