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2015 Free Agency
The Miami Dolphins extended a vital cog to their offensive line when they signed OC Mike Pouncey to a 5 year, 52.15 milllion dollars deal, with 22 milllion of that guaranteed. The Dolphins made a sound move by re-signing one of their own, as the 26 year old Pouncey was a 2011 1st round draft pick for the Dolphins, and is considered one of the very best OC in the NFL. I know some on the boards are not happy with the money Pouncey got, but it is the market now for a top flight, Pro Bowl, young OC. He may not be the top OC, which he is being paid like, but you are not naming many before you get to Pouncey. He will be totally healthy in 2015, back to his natural position of OC, and very motivated to prove he is worth the money he got.
Pouncey makes up 3/5th of an offensive line that made strides in 2014, but still has holes to plug and have their OLT Branden Albert coming off of a torn ACL an MCL. The main concern with this offensive line is the play and personnel at the OG spot, which was by far the worst unit on this offensive line in 2014. Right NOW, 2nd year player Billy Turner is slated to be the starter at ORG, while Dallas Thomas is PENCILED in at the OLG spot. Anyone that saw Thomas play in 2014 cringes at the thought of Thomas being a starter. He has been given every chance to prove himself as a starter and has failed miserbly. He is no more than a backup and depth on the roster.
There are also questions about the young OG Turner, as he did not play much at all in 2014, but did play well towards to the end of the year when he got a chance to play. He will be given every chance to man the ORG spot, and the Dolphins need to hope that their 3rd round pick from the 2014 Draft is ready to step up to the task of being a starter in the NFL.
The question for some Dolphin fans are how soon and how many offensive guards will be bought in. I still do believe there is a chance of Philadelphia cutting OG Evan Mathis, the Pro Bowl OLG. Some have expressed concerns about Mathis age, as he will turn 34 during the 2015 NFL season. While that is a concern, Mathis has performed extremely well the last 3 years, as he has been either 1 or 2 in the ProFootball Focus rankings. He would be an INSTANT upgrade for the Dolphins. The other possibility in free agency is New England OG Dan Connolly, who is not coming off one of his better years, but still would be an upgrade for the Dolphins.
And then we have the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft, now less that 3 weeks away. The Dolphins have been very active with OL personnel through out this process, showing interest in 1st round possibilities Ereck Flowers of Miami, D.J Humphries of Florida. While Miami has not had LSU OLT/OLG La'el Collins in for a visit, there certainly does not mean there is not interest, and he has to be on the radar in the 1st round as well. 2nd-3rd round target Ali Marpet of Hobart was in last week and Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel tweeted out that there was a contingent of Dolphins personnel that visited Tallahassee last week to work out the OL personnel from FSU in the draft, OC Cameron Erving, OG's Tre Jackson and Josue Matias and ORT/OG Bobby Hart. There is also an article posted from the Sun-Sentinel as well on the visit.
My thoughts are the Dolphins could address the OL as early as the 1st round, especially if they trade down. I don't believe they will go past the 2nd round before the look to address the OL, with Ali Mopart and Tre Jackson being prime candidates in my mind. I also believe we could be looking at multiple players bought in to address the OL/OG spots via the draft and or free agency.
It is a MUST for the Dolphins to FINALLY get the offensive line addressed. It is essential to the Dolphins making a playoff run in 2015.
It's been since February since I did a mock draft for Miami, so it's time to put one out again. Next week, I will put out my NFL Mock Draft as well, as we are now within a month until the 2015 NFL Draft.
Before I go further, I want to clear up some issues on my last blog. I mentioned several prospects that Miami had interest in and I started off by mentioning Simon Clancy and reading several of his tweets. Along the way, I did not mention as I was posting the information that this was from Mr. Clancy tweets. I had been following him on Twitter and he bought that to my attention. I went back into the article to correct that and want to make it clear that most of that information I posted was from tweets from Mr. Clancy. I have enjoyed his work with the Sun-Sentinel and the piece he use to do and he certainly seems to be tuned into to all that is Miami.
With that said, let's take a look at my 2nd Phinfever Mock for the Miami Dolphins. As much as I think the possiblity of a trade down is REAL, I will not do my mock with any trades, just the picks the Dolphins have at this moment.
1) DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville, 6'3, 209 lbs - Miami has been very busy at the wide receiver position, as they released Brandon Gibson & Brian Hartline and traded Mike Wallace to the Minnesota Vikings for a 5th round pick. They also obtain Kenny Stills from the New Orleans Saints in a trade that sent ILB Darnell Ellerbe to the Saints along with a 3rd round pick. The Dolphins still are looking for that BIG wide receiver, that Red Zone threat. That receiver that runs solid routes and is dangerous after the catch. Parker checks all of those boxes. If he is there at #14, and a lot of mocks now have him going to the Dolphins, I believe Miami takes him.
If HE is not there, then you now have a very good chance of the Dolphins looking to trade down, and it is known that Philadelphia and the Dolphins have talked on numerous occasions in regards to players and trades. If those teams to consumate a trade, players to look at would be WR Jaelen Strong of Arizona State, WR Breshad Perriman of Central Florida, ILB Eric Kendricks of UCLA and La'el Collins of LSU if he makes it there. CB Marcus Peters of Washington could be another name to keep and eye on as the Dolphins have looked into him extensively. A name that I have not seen mentioned with Miami is Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson, but I would keep and eye on him. UConn CB Byron Jones could be on the radar and RB Todd Gurley will get a look if he is not off the board in my opinion.
One last tidbit to add here. Matthew Cannata of Phinmaniacs.com believes that if Alabama WR Armani Cooper is a player the Dolphins could consider trading up for. I tend to think the Dolphins are interested in adding picks and trading down, but this is intriguing indeed. Love Cooper, and he would fit very well into the Dolphins offense.
2) Ali Marpet, OT/OG, Hobart, 6'4, 307 lbs - This D-III kid has come from nowhere to having a stellar Senior Bowl and Combine to see his stock take off in the NFL. He has the quickness and lateral movement to play in the Dolphins scheme and a mean streak you like. Can anchor and stays square and understands leverage and blocking angles. Smart, tough, physical kid. The concern is he has not played much at the OG position, which is where he will play in the NFL along with the level of competition he played against. His versatility of playing OT is a plus as well, and he is at a position I believe the Dolphins have to address and address early. This is a kid that a couple of board members, Tristan (Finster) and Mark (swerve) really like, and the more I read on him the more I liked him as well.
4) Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville, 5'10, 180 lbs - Gaines is a CB that started off as a wide receiver, so you know he has very good ball skills. A favorite of Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel, Gaines has shown the feet, hips and fluid turning motion, can stay with and undercut receivers on their routes and has the speed to be able to turn and run with receivers. The concerns about Gaines is that he is not the most physical player and is thinly built and could afford to add some muscle to his frame. That said, in his first year as a corner, the kid had 5 interceptions. He is a playmaker.
5) Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia, 6'2, 237 lbs - There is a lot of talk that there is a split of opinions in the front office on Koa Misi. Some feels he is better at OLB, while Joe Philbin and others like him at ILB. When healthy, I thought he was effective, but the problem was Koa staying healthy and staying on the field. Miami has shown interest in Ramik, and he is a player to watch. In 2013, Wilson lead the SEC in tackles and really exploded on to the scene for the Bulldogs that year. Has the speed and pursuit ability in the run game and the flexibility to flip and run with receivers on seam routes. 243 tackles the last 2 years at Georgia, the most in the SEC. Concerns are about his ability to get off of blocks and needs to still improve from a coverage standpoint.
5) Matt Jones, RB, Florida, 6'2, 231 lbs - This could be a pick I back off of as Miami is in the running to sign RB Stevan Ridley. But if that falls thru, Matt Jones is a Big Back I like out of Florida. Runs with good power and nice, low pad level. He has nice quickness and speed, as he ran a 4.61 at the Combine. Runs with nice patience and smooth acceleration and features a nice stiff arm and stutter step. Nice hands in the passing game as well. Not as goog a pass blocker as you would think and had issues with fumbles in 2013. Not a burner, but that fine with me. Big, solid RB that I have seen play on numerous occasions being in SEC Country.
6) Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama, 6'3, 248 lbs - Miami wanted to re-sign Charles Clay. That leads me to believe that they want to have a TE with a similar skill set to Clay, and Saxton fits the bill. Read about him the 1st time from one of our posters and draftnik Mark (swerve), and I see why he likes him. He raw, but is similar to the skill set that Clay provided. He also has to work on his ability as a blocker as well.
The draft is getting closer and closer. The excitment continues to build.