Dolphins shouldn't draft an offensive lineman in first 3 rounds

Credit: AL DIAZ

Credit: AL DIAZ

Offensive line has been a point of frustration for the Miami Dolphins for years. And even though the Dolphins released their most visible and best offensive lineman in Mike Pouncey, they believe they'll be better overall among their starters, and perhaps even among their backups.

That means addressing the offensive line likely isn't a first-round consideration for the Dolphins in the April 26-28 NFL draft.

Of course, something unforeseen could happen like in 2016, when left tackle Laremy Tunsil fell to the Dolphins due to the infamous gas-mask video.

Actually, the Dolphins don't need to draft an offensive lineman in the first two rounds.

That would be a big change for a franchise that's drafted an offensive lineman in the first two rounds in four of the last seven years, three of which were first-rounders (Pouncey, Tunsil and tackle Ja'Wuan James).

Still, the Dolphins could stand to improve their interior offensive-line depth.

In the middle rounds is where the Dolphins, who have one third-round pick and two fourth-round picks, should select an offensive lineman. However, the fourth round seems ideal.

Miami could choose among guard Wyatt Teller of Virginia Tech, guard Terry Hearn of Clemson, guard Colby Gossett of Appalachian State, guard Skyler Phillips of Idaho State, center Will Clapp of LSU, center Coleman Shelton of Washington, center Billy Price of Ohio State or center Scott Quessenberry of UCLA.

There are many other possibilities, those are just a sampling.

Miami figures to start Tunsil at left tackle and James at right tackle with Daniel Kilgore at center, Josh Sitton at left guard and Ted Larsen at right guard.

Among the backups are guard-center Jake Brendel, guard Isaac Asiata, guard-tackle Jesse Davis, and tackles Sam Young, Eric Smith, Sean Hickey, Zach Sterup and newly-signed Roubbens Joseph.

Young has served well as the backup swing tackle the last two years, and the Dolphins like Davis, a starter at right guard last season who likely projects as a tackle. So, they have depth at offensive tackle but need help inside.

If the Dolphins do the unexpected with the No. 11 pick and select an offensive lineman, or if someone again falls into their lap, they'd be looking at Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, the only offensive linemen likely to be selected among the top 12 picks.

The other first-round projections, and possible high second-round picks, among offensive linemen include Iowa center James Daniels, Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Texas-El Paso guard Will Hernandez, Texas tackle Connor Williams, Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby, UCLA tackle Kolton Miller and Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn.

Miami has the 10th pick of the second round, which is the 42nd pick of the draft.

The Dolphins released Pouncey, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, in a move that cleared $7 million in cap space. He signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers that could be worth up to $15 million.

Despite the loss of Pouncey, the Dolphins have a veteran starting unit with solid backups at tackle. The offensive line still needs to earn the trust of coach Adam Gase and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

But after drafting an offensive lineman in the first three rounds for seven consecutive years (2010-16), Miami should continue going the other way.

They shouldn't draft an offensive lineman in the first three rounds for the second consecutive year. Instead, they should focus their attention on more pressing needs such as linebacker, defensive tackle, tight end and backup quarterback.

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