For the past few seasons, right tackle has just not worked out for the Miami Dolphins. The additions of Marc Colombo in 2011 and Tyson Clabo in 2013 proved that short-term fixes are not the solution. Granted, the team did acquire Jonathan Martin in 2012 with a second round draft pick, but who could have foreseen the ‘bully-gate' scandal?
The 2013 NFL Draft is a case in point that the right tackle is becoming almost as important as the left tackle. Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel were the top two players selected in the 2013 draft, and both performed at right tackle for their respective teams. Lane Johnson, selected fourth overall, and D.J. Fluker, at eleventh, also played at right tackle in the NFL.
So just why are teams selecting right tackles so high in the draft? Surely right tackles can be selected in the second or third rounds?
The answer is simple. NFL teams are now starting to match up their pass rushers against the opposition's right tackle in certain situations. This is how the better teams are winning games. Get to the quarterback on a regular basis, and chances are that the opposition will be restricted to fewer points. Unfortunately, this was one of the reasons the Dolphins succumbed to losses against both Baltimore and Buffalo in the final minutes of the game.
This leaves the Dolphins in a sticky situation. The premier offensive tackles in the upcoming draft (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan) are well out of Miami's reach, while Zack Martin looks increasingly unlikely to be available at Miami's pick. With a draft this deep, it would be ill- advised to trade up, but will the team be forced to?
The next best tackles include Cyrus Kouandjio (who has injury problems), Morgan Moses (who apparently doesn't have the work ethic that the team are looking for) and Billy Turner and Jack Mewhort (two players that may be better suited for offensive guard). This leaves the team with Ja'Wuan James, a player the front office clearly likes. However, again, this presents problems for the team as James will most likely be gone by their second round pick, while it will be far too early to select him at 19. Can the team trade down in a draft that is stacked with talent? Will the compensation be less than in previous years?
There's no quick fix; the Miami Dolphins need a long-term solution at right tackle. The only problem is that may be trickier than first thought.
Do you feel the right tackle position is becoming more important in the NFL? Will the Dolphins be able to select a right tackle in the 2014 NFL Draft? Let's hear your views!