The draft is over and I’m excited to get the 2020 season started. Hopefully, NFL training camps and the season will start on time with this coronavirus epidemic, but that’s a story for another day. I’m fired up about the Miami Dolphins draft and what they did. My biggest excitement is how the Dolphins drafted 3 offensive linemen in the first 4 rounds of the draft. For years, the Dolphins have had obvious needs to add talent and depth on the offensive line especially on the interior of the line but always seemed to add a cheap free agent on the back end of their career, a player with durability concerns, or flat a player who was just another body. Not this year the Dolphins finally decided to address the trenches of the offensive line.
For the past decade, the Dolphins have become one of the softest teams in the NFL on offense. The team has always been getting pushed back on the line of scrimmage not opening enough holes for their running backs or giving their quarterback enough time to throw. The team has failed over the years to upgrade the talent. The Dolphins added more size and power up front which should help fix the running game, which finished with a franchise-low in rushing yards in a season and also keep its quarterback upright.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 29, 2020
The Dolphins leading rusher last year was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with 243 yards. That’s just embarrassing. Frankly, it’s a miracle the Dolphins won 5 games with this offensive line and absolutely no running game. Since Tony Sparano was fired in 2011, the Dolphins got away from their tough physical style. When Sparano was the coach, the Dolphins had one of the toughest offensive lines in the NFL, but they have been going downhill since then and hit rock bottom last year if they hadn’t already. Some people will say it’s because the Dolphins didn’t have a capable running back to carry the football, but an offense starts with its offensive line.
I can’t remember a draft in my lifetime in which the Dolphins made multiple picks early an often on the offensive line. It started with Austin Jackson at pick 18. I know he is 20 years old, but he has some upside to his game that if coached up can be a stable at left tackle. There will be some growing pains with him, but his upside is too good. Some people will say the Dolphins reached with this pick, but he was the best tackle after the top 4 went off the board and you don’t want to take the risk of losing a player you like especially with a talent starved offensive line. Then with their 1st pick in the second round, they took Robert Hunt, who can play the right guard or right tackle. He has the versatility to play both. The biggest thing he is as a lineman is he’s a mauler on the offensive line who brings a tough physical attitude that wants to attack the opponent. That’s something that the Dolphins have been missing on the offensive for so long. Where he ends up playing, the coaches will have to decide, but he seems like a plug n and play guy from day one. Then the Dolphins traded up in the fourth round to take another guard Solomon Kindley. Kindley is another tough physical lineman that will add depth to the interior of the line with the potential to start. He went to Georgia, a school known for their tough physical running game, and had 3 linemen drafted this year. The Bulldogs have had great running backs the last 5-6 years in Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andrea Swift, but those guys wouldn’t have been as successful in the tough SEC conference without their offensive line and Kindley has been part of that group the last 3 years. He is another tough, physical lineman who needs work on some technique and gets his weight down but could be a player and part of the foundation on this line the team drafted this year.
The Dolphins became a much tougher and more physical team over the weekend. In the AFC, you have the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots and both teams have tough physical defensive fronts. If you don’t have a tough offensive line then you probably won’t get past them. The Patriots have had so many losses this year, but the Bills are getting stronger so hopefully, these guys can help up us compete in the AFC East. The Dolphins have had problems over the years with physical defenses and they finally addressed the offensive line so maybe they can match up better against those teams. As we saw last year, the Dolphins have some good receivers and a pass-catching tight end, but they didn’t have the offensive line to get physical in the running game. Maybe with these 3 players, the Dolphins can have a better balance on offense and can complement their free-agent signings in Erik Flowers and Ted Karras.