On the eve of the Dolphins trading for former-Panther’s 2nd-round tackle, Greg Little, I thought I’d share a hypothesis I had in the shower yesterday: 

With how much we have invested into our offensive line, it would be a franchise-breaker for it still to be our Achilles heel in a year’s time.

Before we get statistical, I will attempt to be fair and say: the pass pro for Tua’s reps on Saturday often looked solid – notably, when he completed that beautiful toss to Mike Gesicki for 40+ yards.

Though nearly the very next play, the cracks started to form as every time Tua handed the ball to Malcolm Brown, the entire line seemed to slip on nonexistent banana peels – forcing Brown to finish the game with a lackluster 9 carries for 8 yards (a 0.9 yards per carry average).

This issue seemingly intensifies when mixed with every beat writer, dubbing our offensive line as the start of the football apocalypse:

 

Why is it, no matter who the Dolphins sign or draft, the line still seems to fold in week 12 to Buffalo?

And, based on our draft assets used for the positional unit, shouldn’t our line soon be dominant?

(What a terrific segway, Carter!)

To answer this question, I went into the lab to determine how much ‘draft capital’ we have actually spent on offensive line assets since 2019 (the year we drafted our starting center, Michael Deiter). 

I set out to answer one major question: 

Compared to the rest of the league, how much ‘draft capital’ has Miami used on offensive line help between 2019 and 2021?

The Research Method 

I first wanted to find out how to accurately define the phrase ‘draft capital.’ Lucky for me, many reputable websites have compiled draft value charts that teams often use for draft information and trades. 

These charts start at ‘3000’ for the first overall pick and move south from there:

2021 Draft Value Chart:

  1. Jaguars – 3000 – Trevor Lawrence
  2. Jets – 2600 – Zach Wilson
  3. 49ers – 2200 – Trey Lance
  4. Falcons – 1800 – Kyle Pitts
  5. Bengals – 1700 – JaMarr Chase
  6. Dolphins – 1600 – Jaylen Waddle

So, for example, the Dolphins spent ‘1600’ draft capital on wide receivers in the 2021 Draft.

Now, here is where it gets tedious. I was then tasked to compile each and every offensive-line-related draft selection in the first 3 rounds by every NFL team over those last 3 years (2019-2021) and compare it to the draft value chart I had found. 

Using this data, I was able to create these leaderboards:

 

The Results

*As a prelude to these results, I want to emphasize that I wouldn’t have written this article unless the numbers had backed up my hypothesis.*

Let’s start with the leaderboards for which team drafted the most players in those first 3 rounds:

NFL Rank Team # of Players Rounds (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
T1 Dolphins 4 1,2,1
T1 Falcons 4 1,1,2
T3 Jets 3 2,0,1
T3 Vikings 3 2,1,0
T3 Broncos 3 0,1,2
T3 Titans 3 0,2,1

 

Now, let’s move on to the juicy data:

NFL Rank Team ‘Draft Capital’ Used
1 Jets 2482
2 Falcons 2150
3 Dolphins 2090
4 Vikings 1980
5 Lions 1770

 

Dolphins Selections (2019-2021):

Year – Selection Player Drafted
2019 – 78 overall Mike Deiter
2020 – 18 overall Austin Jackson
2020 – 39 overall Robert Hunt
2021 – 42 overall Liam Eichenberg

 

Analyzing the Results

Here is what we have learned:

  • Out of all 32-teams in the league, Miami has drafted the most offensive lineman (in the first 3 rounds) in the last 3 years. 
  • Miami has spent the 3rd most ‘draft capital’ on offensive lineman over that same span.

Now, what does this all mean?

Theoretically, if the Dolphins have drafted well, they should have a fully solidified line by next year. But, at the moment, that outcome seems far-fetched – as I can’t think of even one lineman from those drafts that I’m currently comfortable giving a long-term contract to.

That being said, it’s not yet time to panic. Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Liam Eichenberg still have a ton of time to develop enough to justify the team’s investments in them. 

In Conclusion

Based on the team’s ample investments in this area, the o-line unit should be one of its’ best by next year. 

I pray it is.