The Miami Dolphins are a very intriguing team to me. I thought they would be among the worst in the NFL last season after reaching for Ryan Tannehill in the first round and not surrounding him with any talented receivers, but I understimated the rest of their team.
Sure, they only won seven games, but that’s three or four more than many thought they would be capable of. The Dolphins have some major decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with left tackle Jake Long. They also have some key free agents defensively, including starting cornerback Sean Smith.
Here are some of the top needs for this team, in no particular order:
1. Wide Receiver
Brian Hartline was a 1,000 yard receiver for the Dolphins last year, and he is a free agent this year. I think he’s a solid #2, and the Dolphins already have one of the top slot receivers in the league with Davone Bess, but they don’t have a top tier playmaker at the WR position. Many think this could be a landing spot for Greg Jennings, and with his connections to some of the Green Bay coaching staff now in Miami, it’s certainly a logical fit. Otherwise, the Dolphins could go with a receiver in the first or second round, and spend some money at that position in free agency as well.
**Re-signed WR Brian Hartline**
**Signed WR Mike Wallace (Steelers)**
2. Left Tackle
Though some people believe that Jake Long could be on his way out of Miami, I don’t see how you can let a young former #1 pick who has been a Pro bowl player go at this point, especially with a young quarterback. We’ll see what happens here, but if Long walks, this becomes priority 1 or 1a for the Dolphins.
3. Defensive End
Jared Odrick is certainly no Cameron Wake, but not many in the NFL are. Even though Odrick is vastly overshadowed by the Pro Bowler, I think the Dolphins may look to move Odrick to a 3-4 defense which better suits his skills, or perhaps kick him inside to tackle and look to upgrade at defensive end. Third rounder Olivier Vernon is waiting in the wings as well, but he’s still really raw.
A lot of mock drafts have the Dolphins going after a safety in the first round. I think that’s a realistic possibility. 2010 fifth round pick Reshad Jones had a great year last year statistically, but Chris Clemons is a free agent and the cupboard seems bare after that. The Dolphins were also only able to generate 10 interceptions as a team last season, four of which came from Jones. This is a position of clear need.
**Re-signed Chris Clemons**
Sean Smith is a free agent, and if the Dolphins can’t bring him back, they are in trouble after already trading away Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts. The team really lacks depth at this position and will have to address it early on this offseason, potentially with some big decisions being made in free agency re: Sean Smith.
6. Tight End
I like Anthony Fasano as much as the next guy, but I just feel like the Dolphins could have a much better option at the TE position athletically. Fasano is a good second TE, and hopefully second year TE Michael Egnew makes some strides for this team as well. I could see the Dolphins taking advantage of the TE depth in this year’s draft.
The Dolphins decided to use their cap space on overhauling the ILB position, so there.
**Signed LB Dannell Ellerbe (Ravens)**
**Signed LB Phillip Wheeler (Raiders)**