Tua Tagovailoa finally announced he is entering the NFL draft, which set the Dolphins fan base ablaze on twitter with trade scenarios on how to move up for the Alabama quarterback or casting doubts about his medicals. No matter what side you sit in being a Tua guy or not, it won’t matter if Miami takes him or any other quarterback on draft day if they don’t have a decent line protecting him and despite the Dolphins offensive line having a few good games late in the year – that line needs to be upgraded via free agency and or the draft. Let’s first look at Miami’s offensive line this year and talk about possible upgrades or replacements for next season.
At left tackle after sending Miami’s former round one draft pick Laremy Tunsil to Houston for a king’s ransom of picks, the Dolphins played multiple players at the position. Including J’Marcus Webb, Jesse Davis, and Julian Davenport. Davis finished the year at right tackle with a PFF rating of 59.1, with 975 snaps played and allowing 7 sacks for the season. Julian Davenport on the other hand, finished the year with 534 snaps played and allowed 6 sacks with a PFF rating of 56.3. J’Marcus Webb had a PFF rating of 44.2 with 471 total snaps and allowed only 2 sacks.
The guard positions saw Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun finishing the year at both spots. Deiter, who played left guard for Miami – finished the year with PFF rating of 42.5, 995 snaps and allowed 6 sacks. As Shaq Calhoun, who manned the right guard spot – allowed 2 sacks in 471 snaps and finished the season with a 44.2 PFF rating. Eric Boehm played his 595 snaps switching between center and guard – he allowed just one sack and had a 47.4 rating.
Daniel Kilgore had the highest grade among the Dolphins offensive lineman, finishing the year with a PFF rating of 66.3 – allowing 3 sacks in 877 total snaps.
So, after going through all that – it’s obvious the line needs work… a lot of it. I don’t expect a complete overhaul on the line, but I do believe Miami will focus on rebuilding and upgrading it.
First off, who remains as starters in our current group? If I will to take a guess, I’d say Kilgore at center and Jesse Davis (signed extension during season) at either tackle or right guard. The others like Michael Deiter, Shaq Calhoun, and Julian Davenport will more then likely remain with the team but in back up roles unless the front office messes up and doesn’t upgrade those spots. So every spot on the line minus the center position needs to be filled and we know Davis will take of those spots, so lets say he takes the right guard spot – who from either trade, free agency, or trade fill the other remain starting roles for the Dolphins? Well, let’s go over it:
Trade – Trent Williams | Washington | The former pro bowl tackle has been having it out with the Redskins for a while now and didn’t play a single snap last season in protest. Williams, who has only allowed one sack over between the last two seasons he’s played in 2016 and 2017. He’s earned 80.0-plus ratings for six consecutive years, and was ranked 14th among offensive tackles with at least 300 snaps in 2018.With plenty of draft capital this year and next, the Dolphins have the ammo to get a legitimate veteran tackle to protect their 2020 quarterback’s blindside.
Back up option (Free Agency): Anthony Castonzo | Colts | Had a PFF rating of 81.3 last season, with 1076 snaps played and allowed just 3 sacks.
Free Agency – Brandon Scherff | Washington | Scherff has been talked about amongst Dolphins fans as much as Tua has throughout the 2019 season and with reason. Only 28 years old, with 3 pro bowls (16, 17, & 19) to his name. Last season, the elite guard finished the year with 643 snaps and allowed just one sack – finishing the season with a PFF rating of 75.0.
Back up option (Draft): Tyler Biadasz | Wisconsin | Can play center or guard but played the majority of his snaps at center for the Badgers. He’s a heavy hitter who’s great at pass protection, has high play IQ, and is a natural leader.
Free Agency – Jack Conklin | Tennessee | Conklin is not a flashy name or player, but he gets the job done. This past season, with the Titans – The former 8th overall pick closed out the regular season with 933 snaps, allowed 4 sacks, and finished with PFF rating of 78.3. He is also a part of the group that has blocked for NFL leading rusher Derrick Henry, which bodes well for Miami as they look to upgrade their running game this offseason and need a good line to do it.
Back up option (Draft): Prince Tega Wanogho | Auburn | A big bodied physical tackle coming in at 6’7 and 305 pounds. Still growing as a player but the potential is there, he can start his career at right tackle and move over to left once Williams or who ever is there moves on.
Know lets imagine the final lineup if this were to play out: LT Trent Williams | LG Brandon Scherff | C Daniel Kilgore | RG Jesse Davis | RT Jack Conklin – Now tell me, wouldn’t you feel a whole lot better with your rookie quarterback behind that offensive line? I know he would, who ever he turns out to be.