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Dolphins need a RT, should pick a RT

The Miami Dolphins need a stating right tackle and I tell you in my column in today's Miami Herald why general manager Dennis Hickey would be fooling himself if he thinks Jason Fox can be that guy. The team needs to draft a legitimate starting right tackle.

But guess what?

Some of the players some mocks have slotted to the Dolphins as right tackle possibilities are actually left tackles. And, at the risk of being obvious, a college left tackle does not always translate to a good NFL right tackle and rarely is it seamless the player's rookie year.

Do the analysis (Or simply keep reading). College left tackles picked in the first round and asked to play right tackle almost always struggle that first year and sometimes never quite arrive at all.

This while the success rate of first rounders who played left tackle in college and are drafted for that expressed purpose in the pros is much, much better and among the best of any positions.

Take last season for example: Eric Fisher, Luke Joekel and Lane Johnson were all college left tackles and asked to move to the right side as rookies.


Johnson rated the No. 39 tackle in ProFootballFocus.com's tackle ratings, gave up 10 sacks and 39 quarterback hurries. He was the No. 4 overall selection.

The second overall selection, Joekel, broke his ankle in October after playing only five games. He gave up three sacks and 11 hurries (more than two per game) in those games that accounted for only 280 snaps. He didn't have one game where he graded out on the plus side, according to PFF.

Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall selection by Kansas City obviously was not going to beat out Branden Albert at left tackle. So he moved to right tackle and, well, struggled. He was rated No. 70 among 78 rated tackles while giving up six sacks and 35 hurries and collecting six penalties.

All but Johnson are expected to move to left tackle this year.

The problem with this snapshot of 2013 is that it is representative of the past four drafts.

In 2010, four collegiate left tackles were selected in the first round. Two were asked to play their natural left tackle spot. Two were asked to move to right tackle. The two rookies who played left tackle -- Trent Williams and Russell Okung -- performed better and graded out higher than Green Bay's Bryan Bulaga and San Francisco's Anthony Davis who were asked to play other positions including right tackle.

Davis gave up 11 sacks and 37 hurries as a rookie right tackle. Bulaga gave up 12 sacks and 24 hurries. Both have since grown into their positions and Bulaga is now a left tackle and Davis is a good right tackle. But the point is the move to what is supposedly the easier right tackle spot was taxing that first year.

in 2011, five college left tackles were picked in the first round and four of those worked at right tackle as rookies. While Dallas played college left tackle Tyron Smith at left tackle and got very good results, Derek Sherrod struggled in Green Bay at right tackle, Gabe Carimi managed only two games at right tackle for the Bears and James Carpenter was able to get into only eight games for the Seahawks and in those eight games he yielded five sacks.

The only rousing success move from college left tackle to pro right tackle as a rookie that year was New England's Nate Solder who started 13 games at right tackle and three at left tackle and was the No. 33 tackle in the league as a rookie.

In 2012, Matt Kalil started all 16 games at left tackle after playing left tackle in college and he was outstanding. Meanwhile, Reilly Reiff went from left tackle to right tackle but could not crack the starting lineup for the Lions.

(As an anecdotal aside, you'll remember in 2012 the Dolphins asked college left tackle Jonathan Martin to start at right tackle. It was not good. But, of course, we're not getting too deep into that because Martin was a second-round pick and that other thing everyone is trying to forget eventually happened).

So what's the point again? College left tackles do not automatically make good NFL right tackles and rarely do so as rookies.

So with the Dolphins badly needing a starting right tackle, why are so many people thinking a college left tackle will do the trick?

Cyrus Koundjio? Forget the fact that some scouts I talk to laugh at the idea of him being a first round pick. He started 26 games at left tackle for Alabama the past two years so even if he's healthy enough to play, he's going to struggle at right tackle.

Taylor Lewan? I shouldn't even waste valuable cyberspace with this but he will not be there when Miami picks and he's a left tackle.

Cornelius Lucas out of Kansas State, who is a late rounder, was a college left tackle. He ain't a right tackle, folks.

Zack Martin of Notre Dame? Well, he's a college left tackle but he is one consensus pick to make a seamless move to either left guard or right tackle. He will not be around if the Dolphins pick at No. 19.

Jake Matthews of Texas A&M? Another college left tackle but he played right tackle prior to that and did it well. Doesn't matter as he will not be around if the Dolphins pick at No. 19.

UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo? He played left tackle and did so quite poorly. He's an NFL guard, maybe even a left guard, but he's not a value at No. 19. 

North Dakota State's Billy Turner? A college left tackle and a later round pick anyway.

Virginia's Morgan Moses? He has started each of his last 23 games at left tackle. The saving grace here is he started 13 games at right tackle in 2011 and had six more right tackle starts in '10. So this might work.

Tennessee's Ja'Wuan James? He started a whopping 49 games in his SEC college career. All of them were at right tackle. Ding, ding, ding, ding! This is what I'm talking about.




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johnny football at 19

Being that the last 3 RT's were horrific it maybe the most glaring need on the team.
How many true right tackles are in the draft?

We are abviously picking a RB, LB, WR and RT but in what order?

UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo? He played left tackle and did so quite poorly. He's an NFL guard, maybe even a left guard, but he's not a value at No. 19.


Since J.Mora Jr. took over at UCLA they've been on an upswing. They've been on TV a bit over the span in games Vs. Neb. & USC amongst others I've seen and know from watchng that Su'a-Filo was moved over in a pinch because LT Goines got hurt and the back-up was a True Fr. His struggle at LT well documented while his stock dropped. However if you saw him play LG you know this kid pulls out in front of a sweep and blocks into the 3rd level (Secondary)

A real great CHARACTER KID as well based on his Mormon mission that put his Football career on hold for 2 Yrs. who also has the athletics required to play in our Zone Scheme and if we trade down with 49ers who see the extra picks as ammo to move up on a OLB, S or WR then I would have ZERO issue with this pick!

Don't get me wrong given I won't get terribly upset if we take J.James @30 either it's actually totally to the contrary given I've been the one singing his praises all along and we can still get Trai Turner @50 but your knocking Su'a-Filo exclusively to sell/make your point! This post about him isn't objective of his abilities and I'll remind you down the Rd when this kid is going to multiple Pro Bowls!!

Boy, can Cameron Fleming and David Yankey block from that R side of Stanford's OLine!

it's either Morgan Moses OR Ja'Wuan James in my eyes as well too! been thinking that for weeks ... welcome aboard Armando... Now who,s gonna be our trade down partner? LETS GET IT DONE Hickey!

I'm with f4l. I believe Su'a Filo has excellent value at #19.

Su'a Filo is some kind of a competitor, man.

Of course LTs can struggle to play the Right side. Its a moot point though when you consider every team puts their best Tackle on the left side. If you consider that fact, most starters at RT aren't even considered draftable.

Way to make a point out of something pointless Mando!

her's hoping for a shocker....and drafting a guy that scores TDs....

I feel like I'm hearing about more teams trying to trade down than up this year, presumably due to the depth of talent in this draft. If that is the case, and more teams try to make that happen, wouldn't it then be "cheaper" for the Fins (or any other team) to trade up? Simple supply-and-demand: Maybe the cost of a 1st-round swap wouldn't be as steep as the typical 3rd-round pick this year--maybe more like 4th or 5th. Maybe that would make it easier to go up and get a Lewan, Martin or whatever player they like who meets a need, is "best available" and has been a proven play-maker, whatever the position. Thoughts?


A new blog AND chain

Andres: Ann-DUUUrhs

I am lava.

Nice Handful!

Nice handful !!

Going from LT to RT is a mental thing,,,,if your a footballer you can play anywhere, this idea of not being able to shift from one position to another is poppy-cock. It comes down to "want to" "I wanna do it". Its football people, not rocket science.
Mando you spend to much time,,,thinking.

Good point by Mando.

We need a plug and play RT. My question is, who played the RT position more dominantly...Moses or James???

IMO though... Filo at 19 and Tiny Richardson at 50 would be a great combination!! They are both aggressive and powerful. Just watch Richardson's highlights on utube and see how he basically lifted and pile drove Clowney into the ground!! He then added an "in your face" push into Clowney while on the ground. He's got that nastiness you love to see in an offensive lineman! Same with Filo!

Good point Mando.

Ju'Waun James seems like the pick that makes the most sense. We can then pick a David Yankey or a Gabe Jackson in the 2nd...

If this draft is so filled with this alleged depth, in theory you should be able to get good solid players wherever Miami drafts. This is not a science, if you scout correctly, and get lucky you should be able to get a few solid picks.


You backed up your premise. Perhaps waiting for the 2nd round to pick up a RT would be better. Going with a guard which is also a need would work at number 19, Xavier Sua-Filo. Going after value when the need is so great may not be the best way to go. The best GM's and scouts do not always project correctly skills that transfer to the NFL. This is not a very exact science, recruiting college players for the NFL. The Dolphins could also go Eric Ebron if he is available at 19 and then get Mckinney to play RT. I would trade up get Ebron and then use Mckinney at RT. Then get the best Guard available.

Ok it's draft day boys wowwwwwwwwww, we are still waiting for oscars draft !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

News flash Hickey will trade back to 27 with the saints pick up a 3 and a 5 , from there he will trade out of the first round with CLEVLAND for a 2 , 3 ,5


We now have 9 picks and we can get to work

2 kouandjo. Ot

2 Troy nikalos

3 trai Thomas g

3 Borland lb

3 danantae freeman RB

4 Bruce Ellington wr

5 Chris watt. G

5 gaffney RB

5 Arron Murray qb

6 Allen hurns. Wr

Now that's what I'm talking about this will be the best draft in our history

Since George young left Shula for the giants

The second and tihird rounds are where the depth of this draft lies

I do not trust and Tennessee lineman perion say no to juwan james

This article is why we need to sign a veteran like winston or Mckinney. Proven NFL linemen. Rooks take time and sometimes do not pan out.

Tannhill does not have enough time to develop a line. Build the bend but doesn't break line this year. Draft o-line second round.

In my opinion college football players are starting to turn into pro football players. They think they are something they are not. The speed and type of game played at the pro level takes time to change over to. Seems like you get the workers out of the lower level schools. We need some mutts for the line guys who want to work for their spot to get and to keep. Plug and play is an illusion in todays NFL.

Look at last year. top three o-line plug and play. Not so much plug and play. Speed of the game friends.

Draft a play maker first round. Work horses later.

That has been Miamis problem for how many years. Damage control every draft. Time for best player on the board. We need first round picks to be something special.

Bet by Suday you guys are all scratching your heads. By the way if hamstring injuries, back problems, leg arm, nose, brain, problems are the history of the player please skip him. Enough with the diamond in the rough. We need solid playmakers who dont have injury histories.

Lets Change the Mode of Operation. Go Dolphins!!


I couudn't have said it better myself....

damage control every other draft...

get play makers EARLY....sign linemen intermittenly....and shore up with soon to be FA linemen (proven commoditties)....

DAM good post IMO....Shula71....

and before i hear the..."we already signed washed up linemen...and HOW DID THAT WORK OUT".....

NOT every FA lineman (post draft) stink....

Just the ones that Ireland liked....

NO IRELAND...most likely means an immediate UPGRADE in FA signings...and the quality of the roster overall...

different GM=Different critera....

HOPEFULLY Hickey has a "can't suck @ your job" as a TOP priority for his Free Agent signings...

Yes. Chris Watt > value than Martin

Marc from nj,

Great job figuring out how to trade down. However, if you were the Dolphins GM you would have failed miserably. Where is the Dolphins 7th round pick?

We don't have a 7th round pick dummy

Bryant McKinney was our 7th round pick

Marc from nj,

Here we go with the insults in typical blog fashion. YES, we do have a 7th. The pick you think we gave to Baltimore, is in...

wait for it...

it's not this year Marc...

have you figured it out yet...

Sorry I didn't mean to be nasty but I'm pretty sure it is this year

Marc form nj,

I like some of your opinions on here. But with all the time you spend here you would think you knew that the pick we sent to Baltimore was a...


...yes, a 2015...

7th round pick.

No need to get NASTY!

I'm usually right 94.9 percent of the time

However, Chris Watt has been hurt more often than is good for him.

I tore my meniscous so I've been home for like 2 months now my surgery went well I'm rehabbing now

What happened to the other .001%, Marc?

Oscar let's see that mock draft of yours man

But I already gave it out!

I think hickey has something up his sleeve someone will be traded that we don't expect

Ouch, for a minute there I though you tore your meniscus it typing. Just kidding, but I am having a little fun with it. Let us hope that Hickey, whatever he does tonight, gets this draft right.

What we need most is a franchise QB and this draft looks to be loaded with a bunch.

I really think we should go to 3-4 defense it stii suits our talent better

I don't waste my time with 4th and down rounders as those are mostly developmental Players(although this year might be an exception). We need 4 pick in the first 3 Rds so we can get at least 2 quality immediate starters, at any position.

Decent article Mando driving home a valid concern...good job.

That saiid, it doesn't matter who Hickey takes in rounds 1 and 2. Fans here will gripe and complain either way. The poor guy has not shot at 'getting it right.' Just ask the fans. They are happy to tell you he is wrong. Just watch this board the second the first pick is taken...he will be considered an idiot and bum.

If the Dolphins want to breach defence of lines like the red sea, they better Draft Moses. "Let it be writing let it be done"

it doesn't matter who Hickey takes in rounds 1 and 2. Fans here will gripe and complain either way. The poor guy has not shot at 'getting it right.' Just ask the fans. They are happy to tell you he is wrong. Just watch this board the second the first pick is taken...he will be considered an idiot and bum.

Posted by: jpao | May 08, 2014 at 08:31 AM

Well, I can understand being skeptical after 6 losing years and a novice GM. ....and you should realize the homers will conversely praise and rave about WHOEVER Hickey picks in rds 1 and 2. They will call him a genius no mattter what.

Mark inToronto,

This article was for you. This is what we were talking about the other day. Jonathan Martin isn't the only guy that struggled being a left tackle and moving to right tackle. This is why I was against trading up fora guy like Lewan. He's a LT.....period. Probably will be a pretty good one. Makes no sense to give up a pick or picks to go up and get him.

So I'm leaning more and more to trading down, if a guy like Martin isn't there. If that allows us to get an extra pick to draft a guy like McCarron or Benjamin and still get a guy like James or Moses, late first, I'm all for it.


Good points at 8:31am.

Tired f linemen give me a alpha-male WR OT TE RB OG then I'm satisfied Mr.Hickey !!

not only that but he played along side Dallas Thomas as well. This would not only bring us a starting RT but if Dallas wins out at RG then it brings continuity. WIN-WIN

No Oscar draft??
where is that puzzie, Oscar, let's go, your on the clock


'Developmental players'? Do you mean like Brandon Marshall, Alfred Morris, Tony Romo, Cameron Wake, Kurt Warner, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Tom Brady, our safety Jones and Charles Clay?

Those type of 'developmental players'?

Finally, Draft Day. 2nd attempt at Phins mock, assuming a really good player (Ebron, Martin, Lewan) does not fall to 19, and there are no trades.
1. Morgan Moses, T, Virginia
2. Jimmie Ward, S, Illinois
3. Yawin Smallwood, ILB, Conn
4. Brandon Thomas, G, Clemson
5. Andre Williams, RB, BC
6. Trai Turner, G, LSU
7. Casey Pachall, QB, TCU

Posted by: Voice of Reason | May 08, 2014 at 08:46 AM

Good points!

We need a TD player. A guy that can get in the endzone. The offense is anemic.

I cant think of anything to write...

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