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The Miami Dolphins’ offensive line evolution appeared to be destined for an addition to the middle of the unit during this year’s NFL draft. There were some strong candidates in place, whether they be Alabama’s Landon Dickerson or Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey — but the Dolphins ultimately decided to go in a different direction. An addition to the offensive line was indeed in the cards, as Miami traded up for Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg — and while the domino effect of that decision will upgrade Miami on the interior if it means Robert Hunt moves inside from right tackle to right guard, it still leaves the Dolphins’ uncertain in the middle.
The common choice is free agent addition Matt Skura, who came to Miami this offseason from Baltimore but was plagued with snapping issues towards the end of the 2020 season. But don’t sleep on a former Dolphins’ starter and one of the team’s original draft picks of this regime: Michael Deiter.
Deiter, now entering into his third-year in the NFL, served as a 15-game starter for Miami at left guard out of necessity during his rookie season. And, given the dynamics of Miami’s other offensive lineman, understandably struggled. Ideally Deiter would have been the least relied upon piece of the left side of the Dolphins’ offensive line that year. But injuries and poor play from center Daniel Kilgore instead put pressure on Deiter to be the anchor on the left side — a role he wasn’t mentally or physically suited for as a rookie.
But coming into 2021, Deiter has had the chance to sit back and develop in 2020 and hopefully add the refinement needed to be more technically polished in the NFL.
“Deiter has really made a lot of improvements. Can play across the offensive line. He will be in competition to get playing time this year. He’s excited about this opportunity,” said Brian Flores this week when asked about the third-year lineman.
“He’s tough and has a lot of the qualities we’re looking for. When you get to Year 3, it’s a sense of urgency.”
And, just as importantly, he’s no stranger to playing in the middle. Deiter, at Wisconsin, started 24 games at left guard, 16 games at center and another 14 at left tackle. So he’ll have the chance to tap into his experience at center with the Badgers in his bid to find a starting job. The good news for Deiter? His pathway to playing time is rather quite simple, according to Flores.
“We are always going to play the top five guys.”