June 19, 2012; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long (77) runs during mini camp practice at the Dolphins training facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Last month, we took a look at ESPN's embarassing "Future Power Rankings," where they attempted to project which teams in the NFL would be the power teams in 2015. Amazingly, they placed such up-and-coming teams as the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and New York Giants in the top five (that's saracsm if it didn't come across). Well, as ridiculous as the team rankings are, the player lists seem to be a little more realistic.
Such as Coby Fleener, the Indianapolis Colts' rookie tight end, cracking the top ten at his position. Or, A.J. Green being second in the wide receivers category, nearly beating out Calving Johnson for the top spot. I would argue that Justin Blackmon will probably be in the top 15 wide outs, at least ahead of Brandon Marshall, who will be 31 in 2015 and is in the fifteenth spot, but he was an honorable mention, and I will not fault that ranking.
Of course, the ranking that has been published so far, and will mean the most to Miami Dolphins fans, is the offensive linemen. According to ESPN's rankings, in three years,the Dolphins will have two of the top five offensive linemen in the league.
First up is left tackle Jake Long, who holds the top position in these rankings. Of Long, ESPN writes:
"Long fought injuries and wasn't himself in 2011, but I have no doubts about his overall talent. In fact, he might be the best offensive lineman in the game today. Many don't realize just how light on his feet Long is for such a massive offensive tackle, and he plays with a great tenacity. The first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Long will turn 30 years old in the offseason before the 2015 season, and I don't see him slowing down by then."
Behind Long are Dallas Cowboys' left tackle Tyron Smith in second and Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas in third. The positions then shift from left tackle to center for thr fourth place player, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey.
But, not to be out done, in the fifth position comes Miami Dolphins center, and Maurkice's twin brother, Mike Pouncey. About the older Pouncey brother, ESPN writes:
"Pouncey entered the league one year after his twin brother, and on a struggling Dolphins' team, he didn't get the recognition that Maurkice did in Pittsburgh. Mike's pass protection needs some work, but he is an excellent run-blocker. Like his brother, Pouncey has outstanding physical tools to be one of the best pivots in the league. With Long and Pouncey as anchors for years to come, Miami's offensive line should be a strength as Ryan Tannehill develops behind center. The Pouncey twins don't turn 23 until July, which certainly bodes well for their production in 2015."
Will the Dolphins truly have that much talent on the offensive line in three years? Hopefully so, given Long's status as the first overall pick in 2008 and Pouncey being the fiftheen pick last year. Add in the possibility of Jonathan Martin, Miami's second round pick this year, and a player who was considered a first round prospect for much of the buildup to the drafy, developing into a stellar right tackle, and the Dolphins could be set for years on the offensive line.