Biggest Questions Miami Dolphins Must Answer over Draft Week
Disappointing seasons lead to offseasons filled with questions. The Miami Dolphins consider 2013 to be a disappointing season, making the 2014 offseason and draft one filled with questions.
Some of these questions have already been answered. A new general manager, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach hope to alleviate some of the team's problems from last year, while the Dolphins answered some questions along the offensive line, defensive line and secondary during free agency.
From here we turn to the draft, where the Dolphins will be looking for more answers to their questions. These questions must be answered in the draft, or else 2014 could wind up a lot like 2013.
This list highlights (and just for fun, ranks) the biggest questions that the Miami Dolphins must answer this week at the NFL draft.
The rankings are based on what I (and the results on the field last season) believe to be the most pressing issues the Dolphins have this offseason.
5. Is a Backup Quarterback and the Release of Matt Moore in the Cards?
Here's how I look at the Dolphins' backup quarterback situation.
You have two guys who are what they are and nothing more. The problem is one guy who is what he is is making way too much money for a backup quarterback (and almost $1.5 million more than the starter), while the other backup quarterback will likely be nothing more than a teacher's pet who will make some fans crazy and sing his praises as he does well against fourth-string defenses in the fourth game of the preseason.
I think it's time for the Dolphins to invest in a new backup quarterback, but in a backup, I want someone who can push current starter Ryan Tannehill.
Now, I support Tannehill as the starting quarterback and believe he will have a great year this season thanks to an improved offensive line, running game and offensive coordinator, but I'd like to see him pushed further.
After pushing Tannehill for the starting job, I want a backup who can be further developed. If the Dolphins can find that player while Tannehill becomes the great quarterback he's capable of becoming, Miami has a great investment in the future in terms of draft picks.
Will the Dolphins take that chance? I'd like to see them do so.
4. Will the Dolphins Upgrade at Wide Receiver?
I didn't think the Dolphins would touch the wide receiver position.
Tight end maybe (I will be shocked if the Dolphins don't draft a seam threat tight end this year), but wide receiver seemed too deep to touch at the time.
Then you look at what the Dolphins have at receiver and you realize that one might be needed.
Correction, one is needed.
Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Armon Binns are coming off of major knee injuries, Mike Wallace is a speed guy and nothing more and Rishard Matthews is still an unknown factor.
General manager Dennis Hickey seems to acknowledge this. Why else would so many wide receivers visit the Dolphins prior to the draft? (At least according to this list of pre-draft visits compiled by The Palm Beach Post's Andrew Abramson.)
USC's Marqise Lee, who visited the Dolphins last week, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, seems to be the most likely pick if the Dolphins go wide receiver at No. 19.
If it's not Lee, the Dolphins might have to trade up in Round 2 in order to get a receiver. The position is very deep in the draft this year; however, I could see a run on receivers starting at the end of the first round that will go into the first 10 picks of the second round.
3. Do the Dolphins Draft Another Running Back?
The Dolphins used free agency to address the running back position by signing Knowshon Moreno, and they already had Lamar Miller, Mike Gillislee and Daniel Thomas on the roster.
Does this mean there's no need for a running back? It probably does, but it's still a position I'd consider drafting (especially after releasing Daniel Thomas, whom I can't believe still has a roster spot at this point in the offseason).
Considering that Moreno's contract is only for one year, a running back wouldn't be such a bad pick for the Dolphins in the long term.
2. How Will the Miami Dolphins Address Their Poor Linebacker Play?
The Miami linebackers in 2013 were bad. Let me rephrase that: The Miami linebackers in 2013 were The Room bad.
Actually, that's an insult to one of my favorite "so bad, it's good" movies of all time, because there was nothing funny, intentional or not, about the Dolphins linebackers.
These linebackers did have me questioning why, and they were tearing me apart throughout the season.
The hope in this draft is that the Dolphins can find a solution to this problem. The solution could come with the 19th pick on Thursday night by drafting Alabama's C.J. Mosley or Ohio State's Ryan Shazier (I see Shazier being drafted earlier than most people do), or it could come in Day 2 of the draft.
Either way, something must be done about the defense's most troublesome unit, one that dragged down a defense that on the defensive line and defensive backfield could've been elite.
1. Will Miami Solidify the Porous Offensive Line?
I described the linebackers as being as bad as my favorite "so good, it's bad" movie of all time in the last slide.
The offensive line, on the other hand, was much worse.
How much worse? Think Batman and Robin, the movie that almost killed superhero movies forever.
The Dolphins already took steps to fix this unit by signing left tackle Branden Albert, guard Shelley Smith and tackle Jason Fox, while picking up the fifth-year option on center Mike Pouncey last week, per Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald.
There's a lot more to be done, as the Dolphins are solid on the left side but have many questions on the right.
Who will be Miami's right tackle? Does it involve a trade up for Taylor Lewan or Jake Matthews, do they go with Zack Martin as almost every mock draft since January has suggested they do?
Do the Dolphins reach with the 19th pick and draft Morgan Moses or Joel Bitonio?
If I were the Dolphins, I'd address right tackle in the second or third round, as it has been my stance since acquiring Albert back in March, but no matter what, the right side of the offensive line must be addressed by the Dolphins this week.
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