The Miami Dolphins addressed a major need with the 19th overall pick, selecting offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James out of Tennessee. Barring anything unforeseen, James will be the starter on the right side of the offensive line to start the season and should be a significant upgrade on a unit that allowed 58 sacks last year.
Now that the Dolphins have their right tackle, they can take a best player available approach rather than drafting for need. While Miami still has some glaring holes on the roster, mainly at guard and in the secondary, drafting to fill needs is never a successful strategy. With talent still on the board to start the second round, the Dolphins must make use of the 50th and 81st overall picks to select impact players, even if its not at a position of need.
Keeping Ryan Tannehill upright was a top priority and the selection of James should help his development, however getting the young quarterback more weapons would be beneficial. USC’s Marqise Lee is considered the best wide receiver available but its unlikely that he will fall to the Dolphins at 50. Allen Robinson out of Penn St. is another, more realistic option for Miami.
Despite Charles Clay’s breakout season in 2013, the Dolphins can use a big tight end that is a threat in the red zone, something that they have sorely lacked. Lucky for Miami, only one tight end was selected in the first round leaving them plenty of solid options to choose from. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro and Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas could all be possible targets for Miami.
Miami’s rebuild offensive line of Branden Albert at left tackle, Ja’Wuan James at right tackle and Mike Pouncey at center still has a question mark at the guard positions. Free agent acquisition Shelley Smith will likely be a starter however he is an unknown commodity. The Dolphins can look to Nevada’s Joel Bitonio who played tackle in college but can be a better guard. UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo and Virginia’s Morgan Moses are also possibilities.
If GM Dennis Hickey wants to build a winner in Miami, he must start taking the best players on the board regardless of need.