Tuck: Miami Dolphins With Options

The Dolphins have been very busy little bees this offseason.  Active in free agency, changing their uniform and helmet design, and yet they still have some holes to fill on their roster.

That has some people nervous.  But have no fear, they still have money and the draft on their side.  Most importantly, they have time.

In addition to their 1st round pick (12th overall) they also have the 42nd, 54th, 77th, and 82nd pick in the first two days.

Clearly, the spot that has most people worried is offensive tackle.  Last year’s 2nd round selection, Jonathon Martin, was an effective right tackle last year, but it is possible he may be moved to left tackle this season.  When Jake Long was injured last year, Martin made the switch, and struggled, which has everyone concerned over a permanent switch.

They do have options.  They can make the switch, hope Martin improves (he did play LT in college), and find a RT.  In the draft, they don’t necessarily have to take an OT with their first round pick.  They have those other high picks at their disposal as well.  They could go RT or LT.  They also have a free agent market filled with good tackle choices: Tyson Clabo, Andre Smith, Eric Winston, and Bryant McKinnie.

Corner is also a need area, even after a nice addition of Brent Grimes, but corner is a deep position in this year’s draft and perhaps drafting a couple is possible with their 2nd and 3rd round choices.

Defensive line, or pass-rushers, are also likely to be high on the priority list for Miami.

They should ideally select the best player with their first pick, not necessarily fill their biggest need.

GM Jeff Ireland has been in the cross-hairs, and spent this spring like a man with his job on the line, but what I hope he, and Dolphins fans keep in mind, is that Miami isn’t, and shouldn’t be, all-in for 2013.  This is a team building toward what is hopefully a longer, sustained run of success.  Miami shouldn’t be packaging picks to get one guy in this draft.  This isn’t a team one player away.  Teams like Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, and New England can do that.  Miami needs all the help they can get, and should be forward-thinking, even trading down for picks next year.  My biggest fear is Jeff Ireland is only worried about himself and this year’s team, more than the viability of a team growing and building toward something bigger in 2-3 seasons.

The Dolphins have a lot of good options still, and even if they don’t fill every gap, that shouldn’t be the goal in one offseason for a team that isn’t expected to contend for a Super Bowl next year and shouldn’t be planning on that.