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Phinsider Mailbag: Todd Gurley, Special Teams, and Jamar Taylor

We asked for some questions on Twitter. Now, we give our answers.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

There are only so many free agency rumors and signings stories that can be written, and, while there will still be more to come, personally, I was tired of writing them yesterday. If you did not notice, there was not a lot posted on the site on Saturday, simply because there was not a lot happening around the Miami Dolphins, and I did not have anything to post. To fix the second half of that issue, I turned to Twitter last night and asked for some questions to put together a mailbag type of post. Now, we answer some of the submissions.

Risk is the right word for using the 14th overall pick on Georgia running back Todd Gurley, but it could lead to a reward worth that risk. Gurley suffered a torn ACL during the team's 34-7 win over Auburn back in November. Given the 9-to-12 month rehabilitation a torn ACL usually requires, Gurley will likely be cleared to return to football somewhere between the start of training camp and midway through the season. According to Gurley, his rehab has him planning to return at the early end of that window.

The good news is, running back is fairly easy to plug-and-play from the college to the pro level. Gurley would have to learn protection schemes, but he can do that without having to get onto the field. Taking hits and getting into "game" shape may be a little more difficult, but draws, off-tackles, and counters are all the same once the ball is in the running back's hands.

Gurley is a special talent, and is one of the few running backs as of late who could warrant, not just a first-round selection, but a top 10-15 pick. If he is there on the board when the Dolphins select, and it is possible he will have already been picked, he is someone the team has to consider. The only real question is how well Gurley responds from the injury, and, if any team picks him that high, their doctors have to feel there will not be any lingering impacts.

I think there will be at least one other option for the Dolphins with the 14th pick, given the players who are ranked in the top 15 players of this Draft, but, if the Dolphins were to pick Gurley, I do think it would be a good selection. The NFL has turned the running back position into a rotating carousel of whichever player you can stick in your backfield, unless you manage to land an elite runner like Adrian Peterson. Before the injury, Gurley appeared destined to be that kind of running back. After the injury, you are taking a risk that he will get back to that potential, but, if he does, you could really have a special player.

The reward could be absolutely worth the risk.

That is a great point, and not one a lot of people immediately consider when looking at free agency. Sure, Jason Trusnik was not a stellar linebacker, and he is someone who could be replaced on the defense, but he was a key member of the special teams, including wearing a "C" on his chest as the special teams captain. Miami seems to be ready to move on from Trusnik, and have not made any moves to re-sign him, but losing him on special teams absolutely means someone has to step up. Jonathan Freeny, R.J. Stanford, and Jimmy Wilson also were special teams contributors that need to be replaced.

Picking who needs to step up on special teams is hard at this point, because the roster is so big, and there are players who could be special teams contributors that may or may not make the roster. Some of the players who should be around, and need to fill roles on special teams, include linebacker Jordan Tripp, safety Don Jones, safety Jordan Kovacs, and cornerback/safety Walt Aikens.

Players who could use special teams as their way to make the roster include cornerback Lowell Rose, cornerback T.J. Heath, linebacker Jake Knott, and wide receiver Michael Preston. Running back Damien Williams could also be someone who makes an impact on special teams.

It's really a good question, and one that, unfortunately, does not have a clear answer in March. It will be one worth watching in July and August, though.

I'm not sure it is a mutually-exclusive situation, and I am not sure it is actually either of those. I think adding a cornerback is always a need. Even if the Dolphins had Brent Grimes and someone like Darrelle Revis, they could be looking for a cornerback in the Draft. It is that critical of a position.

Taylor is unproven, and young. The same can be said of Will Davis. One of those two players need to step up this year and be a major contributor on defense. I hate how fast people want to call players busts, with everyone expected to be starters from the moment they are selected. It takes players time to develop sometimes. You really do not know what you have in a player until their third year - which is exactly where we are on Taylor and Davis (and, on a sidenote, Dion Jordan). I'm not going to say this is a make-or-break year for either player, because there is no reason why, if they have a bad year this year, they could not break out in their fourth year, but this is the season when we should expect to see them take that next step.

Taylor does have to prove he can be healthy, and stay healthy. The Dolphins had a rash of injuries last year to the secondary, so even without the concern for Taylor's health, the team would likely be looking for depth at both cornerback and safety.

The answer to the question really is both and neither. Taylor has to prove he is ready to be a starter, and he has to prove he is healthy. The team, however, would likely be looking to add cornerbacks no matter what the situation is with Taylor. Add in that they lost both Cortland Finnegan, last year's starter who retired after the season, and Jimmy Wilson, the nickel cornerback who signed with the San Diego Chargers in free agency, and there is an obvious need at the position.


There were more submissions for our mailbag, but I will save those until the next edition. If you would like to submit your own question, you can tweet the question to @thephinsider and use #PhinsiderMail. You can also email it to us at, with the subject Phinsider Mail.