After three weeks of NFL free agency, the Miami Dolphins have addressed several of their pre-free agency needs. Now, as the focus begins to transition to NFL Draft focus, with the occassional value signing, where do the Dolphins stand?
First, we look at the initial needs for the team:
Pre-Free Agency Needs:
Left Tackle - Branden Albert signed.
Guard - Shelley Smith signed.
Defensive Tackle - Randy Starks re-signed; Earl Mitchell signed.
Safety - Louis Delmas signed.
Running Back - Knowshon Moreno
Cornerback - Brent Grimes re-signed; Corland Finnegan signed.
Obviously, the team has done decently at trying to fill their biggest needs. That does not mean they don't continue to have other needs that should be addressed, especially when the Draft arrives in May.
1. Right Tackle - Michael Ola and Jason Weaver are the only two tackles other than Albert currently on the roster. Selecting a tackle early in the Draft should happen. The team has not ruled out the possibility of re-signing Bryant McKinnie after the draft, moving him to the right side of the offensive line.
2. Guard - Smith adds one of the two guard positions, but the team should be looking to add another. Dallas Thomas, Nate Garner, and Sam Brenner could all be in consideration as a starter as well.
3. Linebacker - Adding a middle linebacker and moving Dannell Ellerbe to the outside seems to be a goal for the Dolphins. If they don't address the position, choosing to ride out Phillip Wheeler for another year, the team could still see success, but an upgrade at the position has to be considered for this year before it moves up to (potentially) the top need in 2015.
4. Running back - Even with the Moreno signing, the Dolphins should be looking to add another running back in the draft. The Miami Herald reported today that the team has exactly that in mind come May.
5. Safety - The signing of Delmas gives Miami their starters for 2014, with Dlemas joining Reshad Jones. The team should be looking toward 2015, however, as Delmas only signed a one-year contract. Jimmy Wilson appears to be the team's future plan for the position, but they continually use him as a nickle-back instead. Adding a safety who needs to develop this year before being able to start next year would make a lot of sense. Adding a playmaking safety to push Delmas for a starting job this year could be a luxury, but would not be unrealistic.
6. Tight End - Adding a tight end could be seen as a luxury pick, if Michael Egnew and/or Dion Sims develop this offseason, but adding an option opposite Charles Clay would be a huge benefit to the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. If offensive line is not the first pick in the draft, tight end could be on the menu.