Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan

Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday:
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says first-round pick Ja’Wuan James makes sense.
Morning take: I don’t have a problem with filling the need at right tackle. But the Dolphins reached and perhaps could have traded back for the same player and acquired extra draft picks.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins missed out on top-tier offensive tackles.
Morning take: The board didn’t fall Miami’s way. Potential targets like Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin were taken off the board, forcing Miami to take the fifth-rated tackle according to the general consensus.
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel says Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey still has work to do.
Morning take: The Dolphins still have six picks to round out this year’s draft class. There are still impact players available.
  • The Dolphins team site has photos of Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin working together.
Morning take: Miami’s new power duo is working to turn the team around.
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.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel wonders if the Dolphins can get a difference-maker in the first round.
Morning take: Miami certainly needs to hit big in new general manager Dennis Hickey’s first draft. The Dolphins have talent on their roster, but they need more playmakers to build a playoff contender.
  • The Dolphins' website takes a look at former Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.
Morning take: This is a dream scenario for Miami. Lewan would be a great get for the Dolphins at No. 19, but do not expect him to fall that far.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post takes a look back at the Dolphins’ 2012 draft.
Morning take: The Dolphins took quarterback Ryan Tannehill at No. 8 overall two years ago, and the jury is still out. This will be a huge third year to determine his long-term future in Miami.
  • Cody Strahm of Rant Sports says do not rule out UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr as a possibility.
Morning take: It would be surprising if Barr made it to No. 19. Candidates such as offensive tackle Zack Martin and linebacker C.J. Mosley are more likely targets in the first round.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Monday from around the Web:
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports the Dolphins have significant interest in Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.
Morning take: The Dolphins still have a major hole at right tackle, but it’s unlikely Lewan could fall to No. 19. Zack Martin seems more realistic.
  • Nate Silver of takes a look at the Dolphins’ popularity compared to the rest of the NFL.
Morning take: Miami was rated 15th in Google searches, which is middle of the pack. That’s not bad considering the Dolphins haven’t been successful in a while and struggle to fill their stadium.
Morning take: Huff could be a nice pickup for a team due to his speed and athleticism. But could he fit in Miami?
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post takes a look at the rest of the AFC East division.
Morning take: The New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills all made offseason moves to get better this year. The division should be more competitive overall in 2014.

NFL combine takeaways: Miami Dolphins

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
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.