As June turns into July and we continue to inch closer and closer to training camp, it's time to now take a look at 3 areas of the team where the Dolphins could use an upgrade, whether it's prior to camp or following the rounds of cuts that are to come.
This is clearly the biggest issue facing the Dolphins in terms of potential upgrades. Sure, the Dolphins have already improved the offensive line this offseason with the selection of Jake Long and the signing of Justin Smiley. But as GM Jeff Ireland even recognizes, the Dolphins have an issue at the other guard spot as well as with their depth.
The starting guard spot opposite of Justin Smiley is up for grabs. Competing for the job will be two rookies, Shawn Murphy and Donald Thomas, as well as 2 inexperienced veterans, Ike Ndukwe and Trey Darilek. Also, Steve McKinney, who is still rehabbing his knee, could be a potential option. But as this article points out so well, these options aren't anything to get excited over. All lack experience (except for McKinney) and the rookies are very raw in terms of technique.
So what can the Dolphins do? The only viable free agent option right now is LeCharles Bentley. And while the Dolphins have reportedly taken a look at him, he's coming off serious injury issues and he might be too expensive in terms of what he might want compared to what he would provide the Dolphins on the field.
Depth is also a concern with this team. Consider the fact that if either starting tackle, Jake Long or Vernon Carey, were to get hurt, it would be Julius Wilson stepping into the starting spot as of now. Ugh.
While this team has some promising young players who will be projects (Thomas, Murphy, Daren Heerspink, Dan Gore), definitely expect the Dolphins to pay close attention to other team's cuts as camp wears on in August.
This is an interesting aspect of the 2008 Miami Dolphins. I, personally, am actually excited about how the top 3 Dolphin receivers could potentially perform in '08 and beyond. I like Ted Ginn a lot. Ernest Wilford was a terrific acquisition because of hi size and reliable hands. And Derek Hagan seems to be a man on a mission this offseason, with the coaching staff singing his praises often through the OTAs and minicamps. He has a lot to prove this year and he seems to be motivated to prove himself in what could be his "make or break" season.
Beyond those 3, though, is anyone's guess. I've said all along that I do like Davone Bess, the undrafted rookie out of Hawaii. And I do think he'll make the team this year (like I said the moment he was signed). But that other spot really worries me. I do like Greg Camarillo and could live with him or David Kircus as the final wide receiver on the roster, I do think the Dolphins will monitor the waiver wire closely. Camarillo has proven to have reliable hands and seems like a good route runner. But he lacks speed and is quite inexperienced. Kircus is also inexperienced but does possess good speed and strength. However, his off-the-field issues worry me a little. After all, Mike Shanahan wouldn't just give up on a talented player unless he had some concerns about his character.
So where does that leave the Dolphins in terms of players that might become available. Matt Jones, the Jags' former 1st round pick, is one guy who is rumored to be a potential cut. But I just can't get excited over him. He's been a pure bust so far in this league. Terry Glenn is at a crossroads in Dallas right now and he could become available. But his injury history worries me. After all, he wouldn't be much help to this team if he's injured for half the season. Joe Horn is another veteran who might be looking for a new team soon. But he's also a bit too old for my taste and likely would want to play for a contender in '08.
So this will be something to monitor closely over the coming weeks. Will the Dolphins make a move for another WR or will they stand pat with what they got?
This position is the one position where I wish the Dolphins would have addressed in the draft that they didn't. Perhaps taking a guy like Patrick Lee out of Auburn or Terrell Thomas out of USC would have been better picks than Chad Henne. But then again, I'm a believer in John Beck, so my bias could be blinding me here (no knock on Henne - I think he'll be a good pro).
The bottom line here is that the Dolphins have some issues at corner. Will Allen, the team's best corner (by far) is in the middle of some potentially ugly legal issues. Michael Lehan is trying to rehab an ankle injury he suffered at mini-camp, and Andre Goodman is always an injury risk. And don't forget the inconsistent Travis Daniels, whose lack of speed has limited his once high ceiling in terms of potential.
Outside of those 4, which aren't all that good to begin with, the team has issues. Undrafted free agent Scorpio Babers and 2007 North Carolina A&T graduate Will Billingsley would make for great stories, but no Dolphin fan can really feel confident in their abilities. And this is why the cornerback spot is the most troublesome defensive position as we approach camp.
Perhaps Renaldo Hill, if he doesn't beat out Jason Allen at safety, could slide over to cornerback in dime situations. But even then, it's hard to feel comfortable. An upgrade would greatly diminish these worries, but where would this upgrade come from? No team is likely to let talented corners walk away, so the guys cut likely won't be much of an improvement.
So you all tell me: what position do you think is most in need of an upgrade? Is it one I mention above or did I miss a more pressing need?