AFC East: Taylor Lewan

One of the worst-kept secrets in this year’s NFL draft is the Miami Dolphins will draft offensive linemen. There is a strong chance Miami will dedicate at least two of its six draft picks this year on fixing the position.

The Dolphins are in the process of completely making over the offensive line. Miami could have four new starters next season after the departures of tackles Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo in free agency and guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry due to last year’s bullying scandal. Jonathan Martin, who began the 2013 season at left tackle, was traded after leaving the team in late October due to the harassment.

Miami could only do so much in free agency. The Dolphins signed starting left tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith. But another guard position and right tackle remain wide open entering next week’s draft.

Top prospects such as Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan are expected to be off the board when the Dolphins select at No. 19. Therefore, former NFL head coach and ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden shared his thoughts on this year’s second tier of offensive tackles in a recent conference call:
“Morgan Moses at Virginia is a very interesting guy to me. They've had a history of left tackles come out of Virginia. Moses is a kid that played one year at left tackle. He was a right tackle for a couple years. Joel Bitonio at Nevada is an interesting player. A fifth-year senior, been around, worked hard. I think he has some position flexibility, can play right, left or go inside. I like Zack Martin at Notre Dame. He might be my favorite linemen in this draft – 52-time starter, captain, really excelled at the Senior Bowl, drill work. Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama, interesting player. Had some knee issues. I believe he's rounding into health. Massive person with experience on the left side. There's a number of interesting big people in this draft. I think last year we had three tackles go in the top five. So we got a lot of good quality offensive linemen coming into pro football here.”

The Dolphins are expected to have interest in all of these prospects. Martin is the top target at No. 19 of this group. But Moses and Bitonio also are possibilities in the second round.

Look for Miami to not only look for offensive linemen in the early rounds, but also in the middle and late rounds, as well.

McShay: Bills trying to trade up

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
2:30
PM ET
Add some more fuel to the fire.

There have already been several reports over the last month placing the Buffalo Bills among teams looking to trade up in the draft.

In his latest mock draft released Tuesday, ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay says that he's been hearing the same.

"I've heard from three league sources in the past week that the Bills are trying to trade up," McShay writes. "If they do make a move, it'll likely be to land [Jadeveon] Clowney, [Greg] Robinson or [Sammy] Watkins."

Of the three, Robinson would seem to be the least likely target for a trade-up. The Bills could potentially select Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Michigan's Taylor Lewan at No. 9 and fill their need at offensive tackle, without giving up the significant assets it could take to acquire Robinson at the top of the round.

Meanwhile, Watkins and Clowney are considered top-flight prospects at their positions. Trading up for Watkins would give EJ Manuel another offensive weapon, while Clowney would give the Bills -- already well-stocked with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus -- the NFL's best defensive line.

Yet trading up as far as No. 1 would likely require the Bills to give up their No. 9 pick, their 2015 first-round pick, and potentially more. We explored the impact of such a move Monday.

NFL combine takeaways: Miami Dolphins

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
11:00
AM ET
The 2014 NFL combine is reaching its final stages. It was an interesting year with plenty of good stories and developments.

Here are a few that stood out for the Miami Dolphins:
  • The Dolphins clearly have a huge need on the offensive line. Therefore, that was a group I paid close attention to last week. Fortunately for the Dolphins, there are some stud prospects at offensive tackle. Jake Matthews of Texas A&M and Greg Robinson of Auburn were as good as advertised. But the left tackle who really impressed me with his athleticism was Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. He ran the fastest 40 time for offensive linemen at 4.87 seconds. Lewan has good acceleration and smooth, fluid footwork, which is key for a left tackle. Lewan may be out of Miami’s range at No. 19 unless the team is willing to move up.
  • Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin did about what I expected at the combine. He’s not going to wow you with measurables and athleticism. His body typed looked more like a guard at the next level. Martin is an effort player with good intangibles such as leadership, and that doesn’t show in workouts. Martin is one of the players projected to be a strong target for Miami.
  • Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam said he would welcome the opportunity if he was drafted by the Dolphins. Sam is on pace to become the first openly gay athlete in the NFL. Credit Sam for saying the right things, but I don’t believe Miami is the best fit right now for Sam. The Dolphins are coming off a huge bullying controversy that included anti-gay slurs in their locker room, according to the Ted Wells report. Miami is working to clean up its locker room environment, but I don’t believe the team is ready to handle another major media storm in its locker room. Also defensive end is arguably the deepest area of the team. Miami has Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby, who are all capable players at the position.
  • Miami also is in need of a running back, and I liked what Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde had to say during combine interviews. The burly tailback described himself as a “violent” runner who is workhorse. He wants the ball 20 times a game and often got it at Ohio State. The Dolphins were 26th in rushing last season. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas proved they can handle the load. Hyde would be a strong second-round pick for Miami if he falls that far.
  • I was not impressed with Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses. He had a disappointing combine and looked sloppy at times. Moses is a raw prospect who entered the combine projected as a late first-round pick. But I would scratch him off Miami’s list at No. 19. I view him more as a second-round option.

Wake-up call: Combine, Day 2

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
6:00
AM ET
On the schedule for Thursday in Indianapolis:

Local media: New York Jets coach Rex Ryan (2:45 p.m.) and general manager John Idzik (3 p.m.) are scheduled for news conferences. The hot topics will be the futures of Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie; the draft and free agency; and the organization's first public comment on former Missouri DE Michael Sam. The New York Giants' media availability begins Friday.

Combine schedule: Placekickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and tight ends will undergo medical exams, measurements and team interviews. They also will be available to the media. ... Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs arrive in town. They will have a medical pre-exam, X-rays, orientation and team interviews.

Players of interest: The Jets (18th overall pick) and Giants (12th) both have a need at tight end, so North Carolina's Eric Ebron -- the consensus top player at the position -- will be a focal point among the New York reporters. Ebron has the ability to light up the combine -- on and off the field. He's confident and entertaining, once bragging that his speed should be "illegal." He will be asked about his weight in light of a recent report that he put on extra pounds in an effort to become a better blocker. ... The Giants need help at offensive tackle, so Thursday's media session will offer a chance to meet first-round possibilities, namely Michigan's Taylor Lewan. We know how the Giants love those Big 10 linemen.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider