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Players Dolphins like: Guard edition

NFL teams have drafted 12 guards in the first round since 2000.

So 14 drafts have netted a dozen first round guards and those relatively modest numbers have nearly doubled the past two drafts when five guards were picked in the first round.

Of those 12 first-round guards, only four have become multiple Pro Bowl players -- Mike Iupati, Ben Grubbs, Steve Hutchinson and Logan Mankins.

NFL teams ignored the guard position in the first round altogether in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 and had only one first-round guard picked in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 when the Eagles picked Danny Watkins. Yeah, that Danny Watkins.

(By the way, the Dolphins picked Vernon Carey in 2003 but I think we all know he was a tackle most of his career and the only reason he played guard early in his career was short-sighted coaching decisions).

The point is with only one true guard, UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo, showing enough promise to suggest value in the first round, it stands to reason the Dolphins are probably not going to fill their need for a guard in the first round.

No source. Just a hunch.

But in later rounds? Maybe the third or on the third day of the draft? Fans should hope so because the team has a definite need at the position and, my opinion, it would be a mistake to bank on the guard possibilities currently on the roster -- outside of Shelley Smith who was signed as a free agent to be a starter -- to find another starter.

So who and what are the possibilities? Today we continue our look at the players the Dolphins have shown interest in and focus on guards.

Consider:

G  Joel Bitonio Nevada: He's 6-4 and 302 and played some tackle in college but several NFL teams see him as a guard. He's likely a second round pick, probably before the Dolphins pick in that round at No. 50. That might be too early for Miami to trade up to. Trade back in the first and get him and and another pick?

G Kadeem Edwards Tennessee State: He's 6-4 and 308, extremely long arms (34 1/2) but needs to improve his upper and lower body strength, projected third day of draft player.

G Jon Halapio  Florida: He's 6-4 and 323, projected round 4-5.

G Brandon Linder  Miami: He's 6-6 and 311, better suited for zone blocking than man, which obviously is in the Dolphins wheelhouse. Here's the thing, though, the Miami offensive line that was so big and so experienced the past two years was also something of a dud. Projected 3-4 rounder.

G Spencer Long  Nebraska: He's 6-5 and 320 and is the best OL prospect on team but had reconstructive knee surgery in October. He may not be ready for training camp, which makes him a later-round possibility. I got to say, the Dolphins need to start drafting healthy players because drafting the ailing players was a tremendous bomb last year.

G-OT Zack Martin  Notre Dame: He's 6-4 and 308 and is a very solid right tackle candidate but some teams think he needs to project as guard. That's fine, except the kid would rather play tackle and his experience at guard is comparatively limited. "Clean" player. Ready to start. Can fill in at RT in a pinch.

G Justin McCray UCF: He's 6-3 and 321, local kid from Southridge High School, was selected first-team All-American Conference. Third round type.

G Jordan McCray UCF: He's 6-2 and 322, the twin to Justin, also first-team All-American Conference pick, slightly stronger than his brother and better punch, not quite as quick. Third round type.

Comments

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Anybody knows where Danny Watkins is? I don't.

Where are the Ts and Gs from those 2 superb OLines last Season, the ones that allowed Hyde and Gaffney to gain so many yards?

I like your breakdown of need/BP by position by the Dolphins for the upcoming Draft, Armando. Se te quedo el coco vacio.

Oscar @ 6:43....

they got this great thing on the internet called google....you type in a NAME...PHRASE...or sometimes just a WORD....

Yes Oscar...the INTERNET or INTERWEB as your generation migh call it is has more uses than just cominng on a FINS blog to start trouble....you can all use the INTRAWEB for more than just pulling your pug....

I know right....who knew....

know you do...

and knowing is half the battle....

now...

No need to thank me Oscar....

I don't just GIVE fish....I teach you how to eat (learn) for a lifetime....

Kris got pissed, same as YG last night. No use hacking anything on Internet. Once We get a simple phrase on It, the battle is over. Right, Kris?(I know you love my writings)

Yeah, well that would be disastrous. You will lose everything that is dear to you, including Family, friends, posessions and most of all, yourself. Try it.

you forgot Trai Turner who I think is the BEST candidate. If we trade down in the first Joel Bitonio is definitely one of the targets.

Oscar....

pissed????

never....

you have actually grown on me since I moved....I would say that absence makes the HEART grow fonder....

But I really think its the security that get knowing that we have an OCEAN between us...and the chance of me waking up...hands and feet shackled in your basement....have dropped exponetially.....

After reading Kris's last post,I am now aroused. Tell me more about these shackles and chains

Great job on the position breakdown leading up to the draft Salguero.

Guard is a position of need for the Dolphins. Some would say as important as RT.

Dubs,

Even an Ocean Away, There is still a chance you to can get locked up in the dungeon underneath the Boom-Boom Room with Oscar and Shane riding the Magical Unicorn.

So don't be a Princess.

Out of that list the only player I like is B.Linder. He is bigger than I expected.

I agree with Jordan, T.Turner is one of the best OG prospects in this draft.

I guess the list is of players the Dolphins have called in for a visit. Even though I don't believe the Dolphins met with Z.Martin.

"Today we continue our look at the players the Dolphins have shown interest in"

Did the Dolphins bring all these guys in for a visit? How have they shown interest in them?

THANK YOU for not requiring a facebook, google, twitter or any other social media account to post on this blog.

Still need a new QB to be a playoff team

Sell our #19 pick to the highest bidder and grab an extra 2nd round pick + a 4th.

Then grab both Kouandijo - LT & Bitonio G in the 2nd round.

Fill out WR - Lee & RB - West in the 3rd/4th respectfully.

After that its just gravy.

Damn, this GM stuff is EASY!

...oh yea, and we pick Calvin Pryor FS - Louisville with our 1st round pick that we trade down for.

Dashi,

It always amuses me how prognosticators (Mando, those on this blog and others) talk about value for players by round. Like Bitonio not being a good value in the 1st, but will be gone (predicted) before our 2nd rd pick. Who really cares about "value"? If you spend time worrying about "value", you've got way too much time on your hand.

Look at all the teams who passed on Richard Sherman (or Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees). Sure, they were all great "value" picks, but they are DIFFERENCE MAKERS. And if some team had them on their board, but was beaten to the punch because they felt they weren't worthy of an earlier round pick, well, joke's on them.

My advice to Hickey is throw that geek crap out the window. You need to amass a TEAM of players that can WIN a majority of the games they play. PERIOD! Doesn't matter when, where or how you get them. Get a "projected" 4th-rounder in the 2nd if you think he's going to many ProBowls. Yeah, I understand it's all a crapshoot, but live-and-die by your convictions. Playing it safe hasn't really been a strong suit for Miami. Whatever board has Jared Odrick and Koa Misi as having more value than Earl Thomas or Mike Iupati or Demaryius Thomas is a board that's going to end in mediocrity.

Toss the board Hickey, follow the oblong ball. With your experience, you should be able to spot guys that will make a difference in the NFL. Grab 'em, anywhere you can.

Good job, Mando

Bitonio will be better than them all. Wouldn't be surprised if he's gone by pick 32. I'd pick him over martin or Sua'Filo.

Lewan in round one and Bitonio in round 2 would be super but would require Hickey to make some moves...

Haha, rdubs, you've been working for a living recently?

haha, magic unicorn, be a princes.. man you guys are killing it...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 30, 2014 at 09:12 AM

I'm still not psyched about a RT, OG first two picks, but I do see the need.

Posted by: Darkoak | April 30, 2014 at 09:33 AM

Me either, but what if those picks shored up our OL for 5+ years, making them one of the Top 10 in the league during that time. Would it be worth it?

I'd rather look at it like us doing that this year, then for the next 4 years we don't draft a 1st rd OL. In a perfect world that's how it will play out. Eat our vegetables today to get strong and healthy tomorrow.

Yawwwwwnnn, I wouldnt draft a G until the 5th round, the G position is the easist to fill on a football team

Posted by: DC Dolfan | April 30, 2014 at 09:37 AM

Problem is you have to always be adding young talent to your lines as when contacts are up great linemen on both sides want to get paid so you need a new player there every two years minimum.

DC, I agree with you on the value thing. Several years back people were complaining that we took Pouncey a couple picks too soon. Now he is our best lineman. Obviously if the guy you like has a 2nd rd grade you try to trade back and get an extra pick versus taking him that high. But 4 or 5 spots so what.

DC, Darkoak, I would only advocate using the top two picks on the o line if they are top talents. Now I am not an expert, from what I see in Lewan and Bitonio are similar physical traits to guys that have stood out in the league. Guys who made multiple pro bowl appearances.

Now anything can happen, I could easily be wrong about Lewan and Bitonio but if we did get two studs like Webb/Sims, I wouldn't complain.

I project that Lewan Bitonio Pouncey are capable enough athletically to handle the line for the next 6,7 years.

Lewan is a guy that, health and mental disposition willing, can be your left tackle after Albert slips.

Bitonio is a guy that can play four positions on the line.

If this is what we end up with - whether it's Lewan /bitonio or with some other guys then I'd be happy.

But if we are picking guys who are simply plug ins and will never outperform their peers, then I'd rather spend the top pick elsewhere.

All based on personal perception right now I guess.

SO we need a RT why are some of you advocating on drafting Lewan when hes never played RT in his life? I like Juwanna James or Moses as our RT and I guranteee you one of them will be the pick.

No way we draft Lewan when we signed Albert.

It took pushing it forward 2 weeks but Armanda is actually figuring out some articles for this fandangled draft. Good job..... I think.

Regular, Fisher, Lane Johnson, and Luke Joeckel were all LTs that were picked and played RT.

We signed Albert, he's 29, he has a year or two before he goes downhill.

And he misses games .. at some point next year you will need someone to play LT for a game or two.

All good LTs can play an excellent RT, just because J Martin culdn't play right, don't get it twisted. he couldn't play left either.

Get Lewan and Bitonio and you won't need to spend another pick above a2 on the o line for the next five years.

I'm not syaing this si the only way the draft should go but it would be an option I would be extremely supportive of...

DC,

Agreed, with what you are saying. I just find it ironic, that if they are looking for "value" they aren't going BPA every round.

The only real need going into the draft for the dolphins right now is a RT. Then the fins can go BPA. And unless you are drafting T.Lewan in the first. Then the fins shouldn't be wasting their first round pick on average linemen when you potential probowlers at other positions available.

On Linemen, I would draft S.Henderson in the 2nd. Only 2 offensive linemen grade out slightly better athletically, G.Robinson and T.Lewan.

And when you think about it if S.Henderson figures it out he will be better than both of them. He already pass blocks better than G.Robinson and if he plays to his potential he is 10x better than T.Lewan.

I call that "Value". Getting a player that has the Potential to be better than a Top 5 pick Left Tackle in the 2nd round or Later.

Mark that's not true as a specified earlier, if you think your line is set for 5 years you end up like many great lines where you can't afford to keep any of them an have to rebuild. The lines need to have a steady and constant investment to meet a teams needs of performing well and not crippling your team contracts wise IMO.

Posted by: Dashi | April 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Players with potential need time to develop, can we afford a developing player at a starting position this year, or do we need an NFL ready player? It's something to consider.

Darkoak, you have Lewan, Bitonio, and they sign Pouncey, you have your line anchored down, why would you be spending 1st and 2nds in the meantime on players to play secondary positions on the line??

No team in the NFl hads four starters picked in the NFL's top two rounds..

Why wouldn't you be able to afford them? You will have two starting linemen making less than $2m for the next FIVE years not two...

Dashi, I do agree on your notion of value.

But saying Henderson will be better than Lewan or Robinson? Come on man, you sound like Al Bundy talking about his Polk High days... high school for Henderson was four years ago, it's irrelevant. he couldn't play college and you are going to spend a 2nd on this guy now? Forget it... guy is reclamation project at best.

Draft is one week from tomorrow. Bout Time. why don't we just push the season up a week or 2.

Dashi, It appears guard is a need as well. I don't think Smith and Dallas Thomas are shoe ins to start.

Dolfan rick, we don't now what dallas Thomas can do yet

No one knows what any of the rooks from last year can do really. It is a mystery of how their second year will go, making it harder to determine what the draft and 2014 hold.

DC,
GREAT post @ 8:55!!!

Mark, San Fran does I believe, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm just saying saying we're set for 5 years doesn't work with team cap commitments, injuries and players out playing they're rookie deals.

Agree with MIT, I wouldn't take the risk with Henderson after the o-line debacle last year. Maybe as an undrafted free agent for depth.

Also folks, keep in mind we don't necessarily need 2 ProBowlers. We need solid contributors. A Joe Thomas would be a beast, but I'd be fine with 5 players that can work together as one unit and flourish as a group (rather than an exceptional individual amongst them).

Jeff Ireland maybe (it's debatable) could spot talent. But what should not be debatable is he didn't know how to put a team together (6 years of evidence showed he cannot). Hickey needs to be able to do what Ireland lacked.

dbo,

Exactly. We don't know. So how do we know it's not a need.

...Dashi..Would you have the same support for S. Henderson if he played for a team say Maryland? I think that in this case Henderson played for Miami, they are your college squad, so you have some bias here. You cannot draft a guy in the second round that will be available in the 5th 6th-maybe even 7th round(I'm sure some teams do not even have him on their boards)

My goodness Henderson couldnt even start on the UM team with mediocre talent and Dashi wants him with a second round pick? More asinine commets to go along with his previous ones

Spo sucks
THill will get a 100 million dollar contract
Mike Sherman is a good coach
Dansby sucks
Bush sucks
Should of resigned Jake Long

When will it end?

Darkoak, of course it works for 5 years when that is how long rookie contracts are for. None of their salaries will go up in five years. After you sign Pouncey, you would have the salaries set for 4/5 of your line for the forseeable future. Nobody's demands or pay is changing.

And SF has three guys picked in the first... Staley, Davis, and Iupati. One other starter is an unsigned rookie free agent and the other a late round pick.

SF has the deepest draft investment on the o line in the NFL.

After next week, we will be the highest with possibly three firsts and a third.

I'm just saying. Its like we have jamar taylor and will davis. one of those 2 cb's should work out. As well as smith and Thomas one of those 2 should work out at the G position. its not like we don't have players to competed. we also have Brenner. he wasn't to bad when he steped in, he could have also got better this ofseason thinking he has a good chance to start.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 30, 2014 at 09:45 AM

Mark, here's where I hope the communication lines being better between GM/HC helps this Draft. IF Hickey is going BPA instead of need in the 1st round, Philbin needs to UTILIZE that player. He can't ride the pine this year.

And that gets to Darkoak's question about developing a player this year. I would say no to that for this particular year. Look, it's a make-or-break year for multiple people on the team (coaches and players alike). I don't think you can really take the longview at this moment in history. It's not Philbin/Tannehill's fault the team hasn't made the Playoffs since 2008, but that's where the franchise is unfortunately. So time is of the essence. If they made the Playoffs last year I think they would have more room to operate, but since they didn't, there's very little margin for anything-but-Playoffs as a sign of a successful year. Therefore, I think top draft picks this year need to contribute...THIS YEAR!

I get what your saying on the guards dbo but after last years debacle and his job on the line, If I were Philbin I wouldn't jack around with it.

If Dallas Thomas had some ability he should have been on the field last year. He couldn't have been worse than what we had. Especially after meathead was suspended.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 30, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Look at the 49ers draft history and you'll see they have made a first or second round pick investment in there Oline at least every 3 years for a long time now. Having 5 players you think can be starters today and making the assumption it will last 5 years before you have to make an significant investment in the line again just doesn't jive with how the NFL works. I just think it's wishful thinking. And don't forget if we have to give Tannehill a big payday can we carry possibly 3 large Oline contracts in 3 years? Shelly is only on a two year deal remember even if he does pan out.

dbo, I'm not one of the people who think we need to draft a guard or even a RT. If one or the other is the best player avialble then fine. If one of these guys can that play those positions and you project can do it at a high level, then fine do what you need to do to get them by trading up.

But if you are just picking some plodding mundane lineman, then I don't think that guy will beat out Brenner, Thomas,a nd Fox.

We already have middle fo the road o linemen on the team. We need guys that have the talent to beat out the guys we have and after the top guys go at each position, I don't think you will find it.

Now, DC, brings me to your point. I don't care if a guy starts week one 2014. Some players will be shoe ins unless the coach is retarded like Shazier is already better than any OLB we have. Lewan would be our 2nd best OT right off, Bitonio, our best OG. But osme other players may be great playes but unable to start week one ... Brandin Cooks for example. In time he could be our best WR and better than hartline and Wallace on their best days .. does that mean he shouldn't be a strong consideration? I still think he should. We should be drafting with ceiling in mind, that's hwo you achieve greatness. Trust me, when Jordan and Taylor rip it up this year, nobody will care that they didn't start in 2013.

49ers haven't picked an o lineman in the draft's first two rounds since 2010 - once they solidified their line.

I like the kid from UCLA a lot. i think he'll be a star in the league. I also like Martin (as a guard) and Bitonio (late first, early second).

I agree with DC. TIRED OF ALL THIS 'value' BS. Means nothing. Should we have been pissed at the Dolphins if they'd picked Jimmy Graham in the second, if he was rated in the third or if they had picked Richard Sherman in the third, when he was rated in the 4th? Who cares! If you love the UCLA guard, or Martinor Bitonio, then pick them. If they can be good pros at their positionfor the next 5-6 then lets get it done.

I like the thought that at least two of the players we have on the roster currently can play guard for us this year. Then that means drafting a player to compete with Fox to start at RT. Second round tackle pick seems to meet that need. But that's just my take. We can get depth guards later in the draft. That would mean we are only possibly starting in rookie on the Oline.

Linebacker needs help badly and is a skill position, and wide receiver could use a big target.

By the way, I also like James. To play RT for us.....in the SECOND round. Hes plenty good enough to be a good RT for this team. But above all that the guards need. To be improved greatly. Its a big reason why the running game sucked last year.

Another thing that should help is Philbin's in his 3rd year. He's got a new OC, but his DC is also in his 3rd year. They should know exactly what they want and need to succeed. No more guesswork or miscommunication. They pass along that info to Hickey, and he does what he has to do. Everyone working in unison. If we hear later in the year it didn't go down like that, then Ross needs to can the whole lot of 'em. "WORK TOGETHER" should be posted all over the Davie facility so the GM and coaches see it everyday.

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