Possessing one of the worst offensive lines ever over the last few seasons, many of us Miami Dolphins fans believed that last season was a major improvement for this group of players. While Ryan Tannehill was sacked again in high numbers, he wasn’t under pressure constantly like in years past. Our running game also showed some improvement as well due to the emergence of Jay Ajayi.
That said, it was not all roses for the Miami Dolphins offensive line in 2016. In fact, the unit as a whole was still right at the bottom of the NFL. Ranking 30th as a unit last season in combined protection, the offensive line remains in need of improvement. Despite the re-signing of Jermon Bushrod, the Dolphins front office needs to continue to seek improvement at the position going forward.
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While the offensive tackle positions look to be set for many years to go with Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil, the interior of the unit needs improving. Though Jermon Bushrod was an upgrade over past players we had seen, he still allowed five sacks, 34 quarterback pressures and received only a 34.9% in his grade as a run blocker.
At the other guard position, Miami will have a new starter in Ted Larsen. A veteran of the NFL, Larsen is a good short term option for this team and should be much like Bushrod last season. An average offensive lineman. That said, Larsen will be 30-years old when the 2017 season gets underway. While he is not that old, he is on the backside of his career as offensive linemen go.
The center position also remains a concern for the Dolphins as they move forward due to the consistent hip issues that have plagued Mike Pouncey. If these issues continue, the Dolphins cannot continue to rely on career backups to start at the center position for extended periods of time.
With a good share of young offensive lineman to choose from, the Miami Dolphins should use at least one of their first two draft picks this year on an offensive lineman. Adding a player like Forrest Lamp to the team would give them an upgrade and future stability all in one pick. Considering that Ryan Tannehill is also coming off a knee injury, his protection will be more important this season than ever before.
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