New England Patriots AFC East Offseason Analysis: Miami Dolphins

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Nov 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Miami Dolphins guard Mike Pouncey (51) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Miami’s offensive line was their biggest offseason need even though the unit was improved compared to their Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying scandal group of 2013. Tackle should be set with veteran left tackle Branden Albert healthy again and developing second year player Ja’Wuan James at right tackle. However, the Dolphins still need to be improve the interior, as they did not play well throughout 2014.

At center the Dolphins chose not to bring back Samson Satele after the veteran had a rough season last year. Continuing their trend of signing former New York Giants this offseason by bringing in 28 year old J.D. Walton. They added backup guard/center Jacques McClendon from the Jaguars as a depth move. They let starting guards Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith leave as well.

Miami is counting on center Mike Pouncey returning to form after an atrocious 2014 season. The 2011 first round draft pick battled injuries and was not at his best when he returned and played out of position at right guard. The Dolphins are counting on a return to form by Pouncey and a few young players stepping up this season.

Miami drafted guard Jamil Douglas in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Arizona State rookie will have to get up to speed in a hurry as his presence is sorely needed. He was a solid pass blocker but did not have the strength needed as a run blocker in college. The Dolphins have an immediate need at left guard and Douglas will likely be given every shot by the coaching staff to win the job. Douglas may need some bulking up to handle some of the big defensive tackles of the AFC East, but in a year or two the Dolphins may have plucked a potential gem from the fourth round.

One of Jeffrey Linkenbach, Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, or Jacques McClendon will likely start at right guard.  All four of these players may be decent depth players, but all are potential liabilities if asked to play each week. Turner will likely battle last year’s starter Thomas at right guard.

Thomas has been consistent–consistently bad. Whether at tackle or guard he has been a liability. Turner was a third round draft pick last year but played just 17 snaps–all in the meaningless regular season finale. He is basically an unknown. If McClendon and Linkenbach are starting it is a bad sign for Miami.

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