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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Would RT make sense for Dolphins?

By James Walker

I am almost always against taking a right tackle in the top 10. But the more I think about it, the more I am starting to make an exception for the Miami Dolphins. I think they should at least consider the possibility.

Here are several reasons:

No. 1: RT is a big need

The entire right side of the Dolphins' offensive line could need reconstructing in 2012. Right guard Vernon Carey and right tackle Marc Colombo are both unrestricted free agents. Colombo is not expected to return, but Carey has a chance. Pass protection at times was an issue for Miami. Drafting a first-round right tackle to pair with Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long would solve that issue for the next quarterback (Peyton Manning? Matt Flynn?) coming in. It's also another way to help build the offense.

No. 2: This is a good draft for offensive tackles

Offensive tackle is one of the deepest positions this year. There are three or four offensive tackles projected to go in the first round. The Dolphins at No. 8 or No. 9 will have a shot at most of them. There also is less pressure playing on the right side. That rookie would have a chance to succeed right away in Miami. The Dolphins drafted center Mike Pouncey in the first round last year and could have two long-term building blocks.

No. 3: Long is entering a contract year

Coming off a season-ending biceps injury, it's too risky to give Long a huge extension right now. The Dolphins most likely will let 2012 play out and see how Long bounces back. Long had arguably his worst season in 2011. He battled through injuries, and to his credit he never used them as an excuse. But long term, what if injuries are catching up to Long? What if Miami is afraid to give Long a Joe Thomas contract? Thomas received a seven-year, $84 million extension last year from the Cleveland Browns. If the Dolphins aren't willing to do the same with Long, it may be wise to draft a first-round tackle with potential to play the left side in a year or two.

With that said, it still makes me cringe for any team to take a right tackle with the No. 8 or No. 9 pick. Miami has other needs it can address. But I'm a little more open to the idea than I was before.