The Miami Dolphins might want to take 10 offensive linemen in the 2014 NFL Draft. Their o-line was seriously bad enough for that to not even be a joke. With that said, the good news is that Miami has already addressed the left side of their o-line, and will only need a couple more pieces to help moved forward away from the 2013 debacle.
Miami’s main objective heading into 2014 has to be protecting Ryan Tannehill better, while also improving the rushing attack. They are starting to get the first part taken care of, while the addition of veteran back Knowshon Moreno should greatly assist the latter.
Elsewhere, Miami has done a solid job keeping their defense trending upwards, as they brought back Brent Grimes and got a bargain on free agent Cortland Finnegan. Still, there are some holes needing to be addressed going into this May’s draft. Let’s break down both sides of the ball and go over a few options the Fins could consider in the early rounds:
Offensive needs: OT, OG, TE
Miami seems to be set on the left side of the offensive line, so for now they really need to focus on improving the right side. Grabbing a versatile offensive lineman like Zack Martin seems to make the most sense right now, while just getting any kind of remotely elite offensive lineman probably is what needs to be done with their first pick. There have also been whispers about Taylor Lewan if he falls, and that would be excellent. I just don’t see him falling to them.
Martin could take care of either guard or tackle thanks to his solid athleticism and versatility. However, he’s probably better suited to take over the right guard spot, which could have them going after a tackle in the next few rounds. It’d be even interesting to see them grab a second versatile o-lineman like David Yankey to package with him. Yankey can play center or guard, and having those two to flip around as needed would suddenly give Miami’s o-line a ton of flexibility.
Beyond the offensive line, there isn’t anything all that crucial to Miami’s success in 2014. You could argue for another running back, but with Moreno and Lamar Miller in place, it’d be silly to grab one before round four. Wide receiver is the same story, as Brian Hartline is as underrated as they come and they just paid a king’s ransom for 60 Minutes. The other big need could end up being tight end, where they could either upgrade over Charles Clay or at least add another talented tight end to pair with him. Clay was very solid and a bit of a surprise last season, but they could use someone a little more explosive at the position. It’s a bit of a luxury pick at this point, however, and the Fins will be better served concentrating on their offensive line and filling some holes on defense.
Defensive needs: LB, CB, DE
Miami’s biggest need is arguably at linebacker (after the o-line, of course). They spent a lot of money on improving their corps last year and it’s yet to pay off. Their current group could easily still come together, but they might want to grab another talented ‘backer just to play it safe. Wisconin’s Chris Borland would be an awesome get in the second round, while a free fall from C.J. Mosley would be awfully hard to resist in round one if he did in fact see a crazy slide.
Grimes was a fantastic re-signing, but he’s already past 30 and won’t be around forever. Finnegan could easily be a free agency bust, too, so the Fins overall need to bring in more talent to compete at corner. They don’t need a savior for 2014, but they need to make sure they keep competition and depth at the appropriate level. Going after a solid corner like Marcus Roberson in the second or third round (if he falls) could make sense.
There have been way too many Dolphins rumors about trading Dion Jordan, who is versatile enough to play on the line as a defensive end or drop back into coverage as a linebacker. It sounds like the Fins either don’t like him at linebacker or don’t want to use him over their other options at defensive end. Perhaps both. If he sticks around, defensive end is clearly not a big need, but if they suddenly ship him off elsewhere, they’ll want to go after some depth in the pass rush department. Someone like Stanford’s Trent Murphy could make sense if he slides to the third round.
Overall, Miami has a fairly no name but very effective defense. They can dominate the ground game at times and really just need to get a little more consistent with their pass defense. On offense, it’s all about the development of Tannehill. Improving the ground game will go miles in aiding Tannehill, while properly utilizing burner Mike Wallace couldn’t hurt, either.
In all honesty, the Dolphins actually aren’t a poorly built team at this point. So far they’ve just been poorly coached and mismanaged. If they can right the ship in terms of sheer direction, they seem to have enough talent to make a push for a wild card playoff spot in 2014.