The Dolphins’ 2019 season went higher than anticipated. Regardless of buying and selling Minkah Fitzpatrick, Kenyan Drake, Kenny Stills, and Laremy Tunsil, Miami was in a position to claw its method to 5 wins — together with its annual head-scratching victory over an AFC East-winning Patriots crew.
Although the membership can nonetheless choose its subsequent franchise quarterback early on within the 2020 NFL Draft, its report wasn’t unhealthy sufficient to shoot to the very prime of the order. Even with that downside, the Dolphins’ feisty rebuild has heightened expectations in head coach Brian Flores’ second yr on the helm.
Miami Dolphins (5-11), missed playoffs
Miami has a protracted listing of wants after promoting off key gamers for draft picks final yr. The Dolphins must grind laborious to construct a championship roster, however a league-high $93 million in wage cap area at the beginning of free company made that quest a bit of simpler.
Earlier than free company:
- Quarterback: The Dolphins have Ryan Fitzpatrick underneath contract for 2020, however he’s solely a stopgap resolution. Whereas he performed comparatively properly final fall, that might be solely the most recent excessive level within the ongoing sine wave that’s been his journeyman profession. Including a passer by the draft is a close to certainty.
- Edge rusher: Cowboys castoff Taco Charlton led the crew in sacks final season … with 5. The final Dolphin to have greater than 6.5 sacks in a season was Cameron Wake in 2017. With cash to spend this offseason, Miami might herald a high-profile veteran at one of many league’s most costly positions this offseason with a purpose to punch up its go rush.
- Offensive line: Buying and selling away Tunsil left the Dolphins with no cornerstone at left deal with. Fortuitously for Miami, the 2020 draft class is loaded with obtainable blocking expertise. The crew might flip to veteran assist in free company, although the Dolphins do have three first-round picks to burn come April.
What The Phinsider desires most this offseason: The quarterback place is the attractive one and the apparent one Miami must fill. However this crew is beginning the rebuild this yr after tearing the crew right down to the inspiration final yr. Addressing the road of scrimmage on each side of the ball is essential for the Dolphins. Search for them so as to add offensive linemen in free company and the draft. They’re most certainly trying to the draft for edge rushers — except they need to use a piece of their league-high wage cap area to get a reputation. Operating again and cornerback should be addressed someplace. — Kevin Nogle
After free company:
Miami’s money went to stars like Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, and Shaq Lawson, who ought to instantly improve the league’s worst protection. That may not even be half the crew’s offseason additions. Miami has 14 draft picks to spend on this yr’s class of prospects.
- Quarterback: The one actual query right here is whether or not the Dolphins must commerce up from No. 5 to pick their franchise quarterback. They’ve received loads of draft ammo to tug off a deal.
- Offensive line: Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras have been the crew’s two huge OL signings in free company. Neither is a positive factor — and there’s nonetheless a gaping gap to fill at LT.
- Operating again: Jordan Howard can be a welcome addition for a crew that boasted main speeding Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2019. He wants a platoon-mate, and a low-cost rookie who can run the ball and make catches out of the backfield can be a boon.
After the draft:
The Dolphins’ Tank for Tua labored, once they stayed at No. 5 and nonetheless landed Tua Tagovailoa. If he stays wholesome, he might be their first true franchise quarterback since Dan Marino. In addition they drafted two offensive linemen: OT Austin Jackson (first spherical) and guard Robert Hunt (second spherical). Jackson must develop extra however has excessive upside, whereas Hunt might begin instantly.
Miami didn’t draft a operating again, although it did pull off a commerce with the 49ers for Matt Breida.
Dan Kadar’s draft grade: Grade: B-