AFC East: Anthony Collins
Perhaps no need is bigger in Miami than left tackle. The Dolphins set a new franchise record in 2013 with 58 quarterbacks sacks. Miami must protect young quarterback Ryan Tannehill in his third year for the team to be successful.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current left tackle market for Miami:
2013 team: Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: In my opinion, Monroe is the best combination of price and quality for the Dolphins. Monroe never made the Pro Bowl, like Branden Albert. But Monroe is a solid, above average left tackle who should be more affordable. The former first-round pick is only 26 and still has room to get better. Expect the Dolphins to be one of several teams in pursuit of Monroe if the Ravens allow him to hit the open market.
2. Branden Albert
2013 team: Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Albert, 29, is perhaps the biggest name among left tackles. Albert is coming off the best year of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and his stock has never been higher. That’s great for Albert, who is ready to cash in, but what does this mean for Miami? There are some red flags that Albert didn’t play to his Pro Bowl potential until his sixth season, which was a contract year. Albert also will be 30 in November. Would the Dolphins get Albert’s best years by signing him to a lucrative, multi-year contract?
3. Jared Veldheer
2013 team: Oakland Raiders
Analysis: It was a rough 2013 for Veldheer. He suffered a left triceps injury in training camp and only returned for Oakland’s final five games. But before the injury Veldheer had been solid at left tackle for the Raiders. The Dolphins or any team interested will be paying for Veldheer’s solid showing from 2011-2012 and also his potential. Veldheer is only 26.
4. Anthony Collins
2013 team: Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: Collins in an interesting prospect to hit the free-agent market. Collins has good size, is versatile and can play both left and right tackle. Collins also is just 28 and still in the prime. However, Collins only has 25 career starts in seven years with the Bengals. He’s been a part-time starter for a long time in Cincinnati and is looking for his chance to be a full-time starter in free agency. Collins could be a good value for a team willing to take a chance on his small sample size.
5. Bryant McKinnie
2013 team: Dolphins
Analysis: McKinnie is a potential fallback option for Miami if all else doesn’t work. The Dolphins acquired him in a midseason trade last October and he played decent football. But McKinnie, 34, is past his prime. Look for the Dolphins to go after top-shelf left tackles such as Monroe, Albert or Veldheer first. If Miami whiffs, the team could turn back to McKinnie on a short-term contract.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The positions most talked about for the New York Jets are quarterback and receiver. Some wonder if they might take running back Knowshon Moreno or tight end Brandon Pettigrew with the 17th pick.
In ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's ambitious seven-round mock draft, he has the Jets going quarterback (first round), receiver (second round), running back (third round), tight end (fourth round), tackle (sixth round) and guard (seventh round).
Should offensive line be more of a priority?
The Jets return all five starters, including Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold and perennial Honolulu visitor Alan Faneca, their left guard. But Faneca and right tackle Damien Woody are getting up in years. Before the end of the season, Faneca will turn 33 and Woody will turn 32.
The Jets also might want to take a hard look at left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. He was the fourth overall pick in 2006 and has started all 48 of his NFL games, but ESPN Stats & Information notes the Jets struggled last year when running behind him.
Here are the NFL's fewest yards per rush attempt behind left tackle last year:
- Jets (Ferguson) 2.2 yards
- Houston Texans (Duane Brown) 2.4 yards
- Cincinnati Bengals (Levi Jones, Anthony Collins) 2.8 yards
- Miami Dolphins (Jake Long) 3.1 yards
- Chicago Bears (John St. Clair) 3.1 yards
Only Miami made the playoffs. Brown, Collins and Long were rookies. Collins started the last six games in place of the injured Jones.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has declared he wants the Jets to run an all-weather offense behind their intact line and with their Pro Bowl running backs. Ferguson looks like the weak link.