Monday, October 26, 2020

Dolphins beef up O-Line in Free Agency and Draft

Following on from a 2019 season where the Dolphins could not protect the quarterback or rush the football it was clear the Offensive Line was in need of some serious attention. The Dolphins ranked last in the NFL in Rushing Yards per Game (72.2) and allowed an NFL worst 147 QB Hits, including 58 sacks.

General Manager Chris Grier and the Miami Front Office had a plan in mind to address their O-Line woes. As Free Agency and the NFL Draft came by it started to become clear as the Dolphins added some players who, even by NFL standards, are physically huge.

Free Agency

The Dolphins started off their O-Line additions in Free Agency by signing 6’6” 330lbs Guard Ereck Flowers to a three-year $30million deal that includes $19.5million guaranteed. Having originally struggled as a Tackle when he was drafted by the NY Giants, Flowers found a home at Guard with the Washington Redskins and had a solid 2019 season. Look for Flowers start at Left Guard this coming season.

Ereck Flowers was a big money addition for the Dolphins in Free Agency. Credit – thescore.com

Ted Karras was the next to arrive in Free Agency following a 2019 season where he started 15 games for the New England Patriots. At 6’4” and 305 lbs Karras is the smallest of the new additions but is still plenty big at a Center position where he will likely be the Dolphins starter in the coming season.

NFL Draft

With the 18th pick in the 1st round of this year’s draft, and with a shiny new Franchise QB of the future to protect in the shape of Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins selected Offensive Tackle Austin Jackson out of USC. Still only 20 years old, Jackson stands at 6’5” 322 lbs and has room to grow into his frame.

Jackson is seen as a high character guy, it has been well documented that he donated bone marrow to help save his sisters’ life prior to this past college season. The Dolphins hope that Jackson will play at Left Tackle this season and for many more to come.

Austin Jackson was a first round draft pick for the Dolphins. Credit – fanduel.com

Robert Hunt was selected in the 2nd round of the Draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette. Hunt, 6’5” 323 lbs, was a Right Tackle in college but could kick inside in the NFL. Hunt may compete with Jesse Davis for the RT position or look to cement a spot on the line at RG. One look at Hunts tape shows he is a beast in the run game with enough athleticism to be effective in pass protection also.

Georgia’s OG Soloman Kindley rounds off the 2020 Draft selections on O-Line. At 6’3¼” 337 lbs, Kindley is the heaviest of the new additions. Kindley, knicknamed ‘Big Fish’ as he was once a lifeguard, was a beast in the run game at college but perhaps lacks the athleticism needed at times in the passing game and his scouting reports suggested he struggled getting to the next level. Kindley has the potential to be a starter in the NFL but may have to settle for a backup role to begin with.

What this means going forward?

  • All this added size means the Dolphins may switch to more of a power running scheme. With Jordan Howard and Matt Breida added to the Dolphins backfield, look for the rushing stats to improve on last season.
  • Keeping new QB Tua Tagovailoa upright will, of course, be of upmost importance and allowing the newly formed O-Line some time to gel before he sees the field could be key.
  • Some regulars on the 2019 O-Line such as Julién Davenport, Michael Deiter, Danny Isidora and Shaq Calhoun may find their roster spot under threat as the Dolphins get bigger along the line with their new additions.

Time will tell as to how well the new O-Line will gel but, following an offseason plan that the Dolphins staff stuck to, we should see a marked improvement along a newly improved, bigger and nastier Offensive Line.

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