Missing Pieces the Miami Dolphins Could Still Land
The 2013 NFL offseason has treated the Miami Dolphins extremely well. Jeff Ireland appears to have done enough to retain his position as general manager, barring a severe lack of performance this fall.
As a fan, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an entirely revamped roster that looks primed to compete. However, one must wonder whether or not this team has what it takes to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Miami.
Despite all of Ireland's offseason acquisitions, there are still a few areas where this team could utilize some added talent and depth.
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Jorvorskie Lane is a bruiser of a back who was a pleasant surprise for the Dolphins in 2012.
He still has two-years left on his contract, but the team could use some quality competition for the second-year player.
With both Charles Clay and undrafted free agent Ina Liaina from San Jose State looking for playing time, there may not seem like a dire need to bring in a free-agent fullback.
However, no one knows what to expect out of Liaina at the moment and Clay is used in passing situations, showcasing his solid hands and often asked to line up at tight end.
Currently, there aren't a ton of options for a veteran run-blocker on the open market, especially after Corey McIntyre's recent arrest for battery. Rest assured, there will likely be a cut or two that may catch the Dolphins' attention as the season draws closer.
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There is no doubt that Ryan Tannehill will be receiving snaps from Mike Pouncey in 2013, that much is for certain. After the recent signing of Tyson Clabo, it appears that both he and Jonathan Martin will be lining up alongside Pouncey as well.
With those three spots relatively set in stone, the battle for the two guard positions is in full effect.
Third-round pick Dallas Thomas is a versatile lineman who can certainly compete, but I find it unlikely that he'll earn a starting gig as a rookie.
Lance Louis has the quickness and ability to win himself a starting job this preseason, but that's still contingent upon a full recovery from his surgically repaired ACL.
Nate Garner seems destined to retain his role as the all-purpose back-up, while John Jerry's weight issues still warrant concern.
Richie Incognito made his way to the Pro Bowl last season, but he could free up over $4 million in cap space if the Dolphins decide to cut him.
Jeff Ireland has done a great job of bringing in an influx of youthful talent, but it wouldn't hurt his cause to bring in the best free agent guard on the market for a year or two.
Currently, that player is former New York Jet, Brandon Moore.
Pro Football Focus ranked him as the top free agent guard this offseason, and at the age of 33, he may just be available for a bargain.
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An offseason overhaul for the Miami Dolphins sent linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett packing.
Only Koa Misi remains, with newcomers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler ready to pick-up where Dansby and Burnett left off. Let's not forget rookie Jelani Jenkins either, who has a ton of upside and surely has his sights set on seeing some playing time this season.
This youthful infusion of talent into the 'Phins linebacking corps is a warm welcome in Miami, but the team could still use a seasoned veteran to provide some leadership on the field.
With a lot of depth on the outside, it's more likely to see that come in the form of a middle linebacker.
Some guys to consider are Bart Scott, Takeo Spikes and Bradie James, all of whom should be available at a reasonable price as they begin to decline with age.
Keep in mind, the Dolphins aren't looking for a starting linebacker by any means. What they need is a vocal leader who can still be effective for a down or two and provide depth as well as guidance for some of the younger athletes.
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At this point, it would appear that the Dolphins have an excess of receivers on their preseason roster.
Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline provide a solid one-two punch, while Brandon Gibson should step right in and pick up where Davone Bess left off.
After those top guys, however, their is a myriad of youth fighting to take on a complimentary role as the fourth and fifth options.
Since Ireland is in a win now mode and the 'Phins look relatively solid on both sides of the ball, it wouldn't hurt to bring in an experienced receiver to add to the plethora of players acquired this offseason.
One individual immediately comes to mind, and that man is Brandon Lloyd.
He's a reliable veteran without a home, one who has made a living in this league with his crisp route running and ability to separate from opponents.
Lloyd is an athletic receiver with good size and average speed, currently coming off of a one-year stint with the New England Patriots. At the very least, he should be able to provide some valuable insight into Belichick's offensive scheme.
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Reshad Jones made a name for himself with his stellar performance in 2012, while Chris Clemons proved to be an adequate option opposite him in the Dolphins' secondary.
Despite the fact that Clemons is back on a one-year "prove-it" contract, it wouldn't hurt to bring in a free agent safety to heat-up the competition and add some depth.
Woodson was injured for the majority of last season, but has played at a Pro Bowl caliber level for the better part of his career.
He still has the ability to produce on the field, despite turning 37 in October, and should be able to act as a mentor for younger players at the very least.
With no suitors at the moment for this future Hall of Famer, it wouldn't take much for the 'Phins to ink him to a one- or two-year deal.