Miami Dolphins: Reshad Jones

The NFL draft is coming up in a few weeks and all the talk with the Miami Dolphins is focused on the offensive line. But Miami cannot draft an offensive lineman with all seven picks. The Dolphins also will look to fill other needs.

That leads to our latest poll question: What is Miami’s second-largest need heading into the draft?


Besides offensive line, what is the Dolphins' next-biggest need?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,400)

The Dolphins (8-8) collapsed down to the stretch and missed the playoffs for the fifth-consecutive season. Miami needs quality depth and impact players at more positions in order to get over the hump.

Do the Dolphins need another linebacker? Starters Koa Misi, Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler all received long-term extensions last year. Yet, this group was a major disappointment as Miami finished 24th in stopping the run. Would a player like Alabama’s C.J. Mosley make a difference?

Or does Miami need more help at safety? Reshad Jones is coming off a down year and free-agent pickup Louis Delmas is injury-prone. Should the Dolphins use their No. 19 overall pick to for safety insurance?

What about other positions such as cornerback and tight end? The Dolphins have quality veterans at those positions, such as Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and tight end Charles Clay. But these are positions where it’s always beneficial to have as many talented players as possible.

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on Miami’s second biggest need. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below or send a message via Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.
Free agency has been open for about a month. After a furious start, teams slowed down their spending and turned into bargain shoppers as they approached the NFL draft.

The Miami Dolphins addressed several of their needs in free agency, such as left tackle, running back and safety. Here are their top remaining needs:

1. Right tackle

Analysis: The Dolphins did a good job of securing quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blind side. Miami spent $47 million to sign Pro Bowl left tackle Brenden Albert, which was the team's highest-rated free agent. But who will protect Tannehill's front side? This remains the top need for the Dolphins entering the draft. Miami signed career backup Jason Fox, who was often injured with the Detroit Lions. Fox adds depth to the position, but the Dolphins need to add a top draft pick to the mix.

2. Guard

Analysis: The Dolphins lost both starting guards -- Richie Incognito and John Jerry -- due to last season's high-profile bullying scandal. Miami signed Shelley Smith in free agency to fill one guard position. But who will fill the other guard position? The Dolphins have backups such as Sam Brenner, Nate Garner and 2013 draft pick Dallas Thomas ready to compete. But none of these players have proven to be the long-term solution. Miami could spend a high draft pick at guard.

3. Linebacker

Analysis: The Dolphins spent plenty of money last year on linebackers. Former general manager Jeff Ireland thought he fixed the position by signing Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe to free-agent contracts and extending starting outside linebacker Koa Misi. But this trio underachieved last season, as Miami finished 26th in stopping the run. Now, the Dolphins are exploring their options at linebacker and how to make this group better. Miami tried to sign linebacker D'Qwell Jackson when he was a free agent. It won't be a major shock if the Dolphins use a pick in the first three rounds on the position.

4. Safety

Analysis: The Dolphins let Chris Clemons walk in free agency and replaced him with the more dynamic Louis Delmas. In terms of talent, Delmas should be an upgrade. But there is considerable risk considering Delmas' lengthy injury history. He's missed 14 games in the past three seasons. The Dolphins could use more insurance at safety. Reshad Jones fills the second safety position but must play better after an inconsistent year in 2013.

The Miami Dolphins have more than $30 million in salary cap space and are expected to be major players in free agency for the second year in a row. Offensive line is an obvious area of need, but what about the safety position?

Should the Dolphins take the plunge with free-agent safety Jairus Byrd?

The former three-time Pro Bowler is one of the best players on the market and won’t come cheap. A source informed's Dolphins page Monday that Byrd is seeking a contract in the range of $9 million per season. That number would make him the second highest-paid safety in the NFL behind Eric Berry, who has a six-year, $60 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL Network reported over the weekend that Miami and the St. Louis Rams are among the teams expressing interest in Byrd. He is a dynamic playmaker who has 22 career interceptions with the Buffalo Bills. Byrd also had plenty of success against the Dolphins in the AFC East.

Signing Byrd would fill a need in Miami’s secondary and take away a top defensive player from a division rival. That is a win-win for the Dolphins. However, Miami has been on a spending spree since last year. The Dolphins recently shelled out $29.3 million contract for safety Reshad Jones last season and a $32 million contract for Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes last week. Adding Byrd could allocate $100 million or more into Miami’s starting secondary, which is a significant investment.

The Dolphins have other well-defined needs such as offensive tackle, guard and defensive tackle. These are not sexy positions, but they must be addressed if Miami wants to improve on last year's 8-8 record.

Potentially signing Byrd would make a huge splash for the Dolphins. But it does not come without financial risks.

Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 17-20

February, 11, 2014
Feb 11
We're ranking the top 40 players on the Miami Dolphins.

Next up, we take a look at Nos. 17-20.

No. 20: Dimitri Patterson

Position: Cornerback

2013 stats: Four interceptions

Analysis: Patterson is an interesting player to rank. He is productive on the field and led the team with four interceptions. However, Patterson only played in six games due to a nagging groin injury. Durability has long been an issue for Patterson. He has a high salary next season and it is questionable the Dolphins will pay that much.

No. 19: Bryant McKinnie

Position: Offensive tackle

2013 stats: 10 starts

Analysis: McKinnie was a pleasant surprise for Miami. The Dolphins’ offensive line was struggling mightily in the first half of the season -- particularly offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Jonathan Martin. Former general manager Jeff Ireland made an in-season trade for McKinnie in hopes that he could solidify the left-tackle position. McKinnie would up starting 10 games and was an upgrade over Martin. McKinnie will be an unrestricted free agent and is questionable to return.

No. 18: Philip Wheeler

Position: Linebacker

2013 stats: 118 tackles, .5 sacks

Analysis: Wheeler was expected to bring speed and playmaking ability to Miami’s defense as a free-agent addition in 2013. But Wheeler struggled with missed tackles and inconsistency most of the year. Miami’s run defense was mediocre and Wheeler also struggled in coverage. Wheeler still led the Dolphins in tackles.

No. 17: Reshad Jones

Position: Safety

2013 stats: 105 tackles, one INT, one TD

Analysis: Perhaps it was just a down year for Jones. But despite a lot of tackles, he was pretty much a non-factor throughout last season. Jones didn’t make the big plays in the secondary the Dolphins were accustomed to. Miami’s pass coverage against tight ends and slot receivers also lagged because the safeties struggled. Jones has the ability to make more plays and needs to get back to form in 2014.

Most expensive Dolphins in 2014

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
The Miami Dolphins are searching for a new general manager after parting ways with Jeff Ireland last week. One of the biggest jobs for Miami’s new GM will be analyzing the roster.

Despite a spending spree last year in free agency, Miami goes into the 2014 offseason in solid shape with the salary cap. The fact the Dolphins have more than 20 unrestricted and restricted free agents has a lot to do with it.

At right is a chart of the 10 most expensive salary-cap charges for the Dolphins in 2014.

The new Dolphins GM certainly has some decisions to make with their 10 most expensive players. For example, two players on this list are coming off season-ending injuries. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin) and receiver Brandon Gibson (knee) ended the 2013 season on injured reserve.

Noticeably missing from this list is Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is the 12th most expensive player on the roster with a cap charge of $3.455 million next season. That is peanuts for a starting NFL quarterback. Tannehill is entering the third year of his rookie contract.

Dolphins-Bills final injury report

December, 20, 2013
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills released their final injury report leading into Sunday's game.

Here is the game status of both teams:


Questionable: RB Daniel Thomas (ankle)

Probable: DT Paul Soliai (ankle), CB Brent Grimes (groin), LS John Denny (ankle), S Chris Clemons (hamstring, knee), CB Nolan Carroll (knee), S Reshad Jones (groin), DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), CB Jamar Taylor (hamstring)

BILLS (5-9)

Out: QB E.J. Manuel (knee), WR Stevie Johnson (personal), S Aaron Williams (ribs)

Probable: CB Brandon Smith (ankle), RB Fred Jackson (ribs), DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles)

Analysis: The Dolphins are healthy going into this Week 16 game. The biggest injury scare all week has been Grimes, who is Miami's top corner. Grimes didn't finish last week's win over the New England Patriots but said in the locker room that he's good to go for the Bills. However, Miami's tailback depth could be an issue if Thomas can't play. The weather conditions are expected to impact the game where the Dolphins have to run the ball. Miami starting tailback Lamar Miller must step up if he has to shoulder the load. Buffalo will be without their top quarterback (Manuel) and one of its top wide receivers (Johnson). That should make things easier for Miami's defense.

Patriots-Dolphins inactives

December, 15, 2013
MIAMI -- Here are the players you won’t see in Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots:

Dolphins (7-6)
Patriots (10-3)

Miami starting safety Reshad Jones will play Sunday. He was questionable this week with a groin injury.
The Miami Dolphins (7-6) released their final injury report before Sunday's game against the New England Patriots (10-3).

Here is the final playing status for Miami:

Questionable: S Reshad Jones (groin), CB Jamar Taylor (hamstring)

Probable: CB Nolan Carroll (hamstring), S Chris Clemons (knee, hamstring), P Brandon Fields (non-injury), OL Nate Garner (ribs), RB Lamar Miller (concussion), DT Paul Soliai (ankle), C Mike Pouncey (non-injury)

Analysis: Nearly all of Miami's key players are expected to play. Starting safety Jones is the biggest question mark. He missed two practices during the week but returned Friday for Miami's light practice. Miller, Miami's starting running back, made good progress from his concussion and is expected to play. Pouncey also will play, despite missing practice time this week because he met with a grand jury in Massachusetts in relation to the Aaron Hernandez investigation.

W2W4: Chargers at Dolphins

November, 16, 2013
The Miami Dolphins will host the San Diego Chargers Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) in an important game for both teams.

Here are three things to watch from Miami's perspective:

Must-win situation: The Dolphins, despite losing five of their last six games, still believe they can make a run for the playoffs in the second half of the season. Both clubs have identical 4-5 records, and the loser of this game essentially will be eliminated from postseason contention in the AFC. The winner will be back at .500 with six games remaining.

Grounded attack: Miami rushed for a franchise-low 2 yards in last week's defeat to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins must improve and have more balance on offense Sunday against the Chargers. Miami has a patchwork offensive line already down two starters due to Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy. Starting center Mike Pouncey also is questionable for the game with an unspecified illness, and the Dolphins lost backup offensive tackle Will Yeatman on Wednesday with a significant knee injury.

Slowing Rivers: Miami's 16th-ranked pass defense has a major test on its hands with San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback is putting up outstanding numbers. San Diego has the fourth-rated passing attack and a variety of weapons. Miami's secondary has been hit and miss this season. But this group must step up for the Dolphins to prevail. Players such as cornerback Brent Grimes and safety Reshad Jones have to make big plays defending the pass.

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

October, 22, 2013
The Miami Dolphins (3-3) are struggling and on a three-game losing streak.

Here is a look at whose stock is up and down in Miami.


1. Coaching staff: Coming off two weeks to rest and prepare for the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins simply did not look ready to play. That falls squarely on head coach Joe Philbin and his staff. The Dolphins looked underprepared and fell behind quickly, 14-0, in the first quarter at home. At that point, Miami knew it was in for a tough game. Many of the Dolphins’ bye-week adjustments were hit and miss. For example, I’m not sure why the coaching staff felt taking the starting job away from Lamar Miller and giving him fewer carries was a good idea. Leaving right tackle Tyson Clabo one-on-one with Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams in the fourth quarter also was an oversight. The team also is rotating stud defensive players like Cameron Wake and Paul Soliai on defense too much and rendering them ineffective. Coaching hasn’t been a huge issue this season. But it was on Sunday.

2. Tyson Clabo, right tackle: Clabo’s stock has been falling for weeks. It plummeted even further after he allowed two more key sacks to Buffalo in the fourth quarter. Clabo’s second sack caused Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to fumble and set up Buffalo’s game-winning field goal. Clabo has now allowed a team-high eight sacks in six games. A lineup change should be forthcoming soon. The Dolphins traded for former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie on Monday.

3. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: Tannehill did not respond well to the bye week. He was rusty early with two first-half interceptions that put the Dolphins in a tough spot. Tannehill’s first throw was a pick-six where he telegraphed a throw to the slot. His second was another bad read on a lob in the end zone. Tannehill eventually warmed up and threw three touchdowns after his early struggles. But the quarterback can’t have two interceptions and a lost fumble and expect to win.


1. Dolphins' running game: It wasn’t all bad for the Dolphins. Miami’s running game made solid strides against the Bills. The Dolphins rushed for a season-high 120 yards on 25 carries. Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 103 yards rushing. Miami leaned more toward a power running game and plowed forward, as opposed to the sideline stretch plays that’s weren’t successful earlier in the season. The Dolphins need to adopt this running style the rest of the season.

2. Reshad Jones, safety: Jones got off to a slow start to the season, but he’s starting to come around and make impact plays. Jones led the Dolphins with 10 tackles and a sack Sunday against Buffalo. He also had a pick-six in Miami’s recent loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Jones signed a contract extension with Miami and needs to continue making big plays.

3. Brandon Gibson, wide receiver: Gibson is quietly having a solid season and led the Dolphins with two touchdown receptions. He caught five passes for 40 yards, but was a big red zone threat in this game. Gibson fought off a hip injury to make an impact.

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

October, 3, 2013
The Miami Dolphins fell to 3-1 after Monday's 38-17, blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Here is a look at whose stock is up and down:


1. Jared Odrick, defensive tackle: Odrick had his best game of the season against New Orleans. He registered five tackles, one sack and four of his tackles were for losses. Odrick was nearly unblockable inside. He was a big reason why the Saints averaged only 2.8 yards per carry.

2. Lamar Miller, running back: Miller is finding a way to make more out of his opportunities the past few weeks. He rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Miller's yards per carry have increased to a solid 4.6. However, the Dolphins are not running the ball a lot and splitting time between Miller and backup Daniel Thomas. Miller needs more carries.

3. Charles Clay, tight end: It's hard to pick three standouts for Miami in a 21-point drubbing. But Clay has gone about his business and tied for the team lead with six receptions. Clay also is second on the team with 20 catches and has done a decent job replacing injured tight end Dustin Keller. Clay has five or more receptions in three games this season.


1. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: Tannehill began the season playing at an MVP level. He was due to lay an egg at some point, and that happened Monday. Tannehill had four turnovers, which included three interceptions and one fumble. It wasn't the kind of game Tannehill wanted to have on national television. The key will be whether Tannehill can bounce back Sunday with a good game or allow things to snowball.

2. Safety play: Two players (Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles) had more than 100 yards receiving for the Saints and a third (Marques Colston) had 96 yards. That's a pretty good indication that Miami's safeties aren't playing up to expectations. Miami starting safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons have been together for a while, but this group isn't gelling in the first four games. Both struggled mightily by allowing big plays to the Saints, who registered 413 passing yards. Miami is 24th against the pass, and Jones and Clemons need to step up their games in order to prevent more big plays.

3. Offensive line: It wasn't as bad as New Orleans linebacker Junior Gallete claimed, but Miami's offensive line did struggle against the Saints in pass protection. The Dolphins allowed four sacks on Tannehill. Miami's offense became predictable after falling behind in the second half, which allowed the Saints to tee off. Tannehill is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL this year with 18. It's not all on the offensive line, but the group has had its fare share of mistakes this season.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Miami had a walkthrough practice in shorts before the team travels to Cleveland this weekend.

Here are some notes from Friday's practice:
  • The only absence was third-string quarterback Pat Devlin, who has an ankle injury. Devlin hasn’t practiced all week, and it appears the Dolphins are comfortable going into Sunday's game with two quarterbacks. Miami starter Ryan Tannehill and backup Matt Moore got a lot of reps in practice this week without a third player available.
  • Miami also is expected to be without rookie cornerbacks Will Davis (toe) and Jamar Taylor (groin). Both players rehabbed and worked with trainers in the portion of practice open to the media. Neither Davis nor Taylor practiced all week. So it’s safe to assume they won’t be available for Sunday’s game. Miami will release its final injury report with the official status designations Friday evening.
  • It’s interesting to see the amount of starters and key contributors Miami has working on special teams. Starting tight end Charles Clay, cornerback Brent Grimes, No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan and starting safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons are all working on various special teams. We won't know for sure which starters will play in the third phase until Sunday. But it’s clear Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is taking special teams very serious, even if it's an additional injury risk involved with key players.
  • Dolphins starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson suffered an ankle injury in practice this week. Patterson hasn’t missed a practice but was limited on Friday. Patterson wore a protective sleeve in Friday’s walkthrough.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the web: Morning take: It will take nine or 10 wins for the Dolphins to make the postseason from the AFC. It’s possible, but Miami must get off to a fast start in the first five games, which won’t be easy.
Morning take: Miami’s rankings range from the mid-teens to mid-20s. The Dolphins are going to have to earn respect on the field first.
  • Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post writes Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes is preparing for picks.
Morning take: Grimes had a great training camp and quickly became Miami’s lead corner. As long as Grimes stays healthy, he should make an impact on the defense.
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel takes an in-depth look at the Dolphins’ safety tandem of Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons.
Morning take: Miami finally has continuity at the safety position. The Dolphins re-signed both starting safeties to new contracts with the expectation that their chemistry together would boost their secondary.