Sunday, May 5, 2013
Do the Dolphins have a legit left tackle?
By James Walker
The Miami Dolphins finally landed a starting-caliber offensive tackle this offseason. The team signed former Atlanta Falcons lineman and free agent Tyson Clabo to a one-year contract.
But even with Clabo on board, the Dolphins' biggest offseason question remains: Who is Miami's starting left tackle?
Clabo played right tackle nearly his entire career with the Falcons. He also started 10 games at right guard in 2006. But asking a 31-year-old veteran to make a tough switch with a new team and a new offense is probably asking too much. That makes 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin the favorite to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blind side.
Is Martin up to the challenge? He played left tackle in college but was inconsistent as a rookie when filling in for the injured Jake Long. Martin's lack of strength and inexperience are two major questions. It's vital that Martin steps up his game in Year 2, which would allow Tannehill to also make the jump in his second season.
The Dolphins whiffed on their best chances for a pure left tackle this offseason. They didn't draft a left tackle, they failed to land Branden Albert in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and free-agent Bryant McKinnie re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens. It's also curious that the Dolphins passed over free-agent right tackle Eric Winston, who was a star at the University of Miami.
The Dolphins signed who they felt is the best right-tackle option, but they are taking a risk with Martin potentially on the left side. Martin's development is one of the biggest keys to Miami's success this upcoming season.