A lot of the focus on Miami Dolphins draft needs this year has looked at the skill positions. The team needs to add a wide receiver or two, potentially a running back, and bolster the secondary. That does not mean there is not a need along the offensive line, however, and it looks like the Dolphins could be considering addressing that need early in the 2015 NFL Draft.
According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, the Dolphins will use one of their 30 draft prospect visits this week when they host LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins. Kelly adds that, according to a league source, Collins "is viewed as a front-runner to be Miami's first-round pick if he's on the board when the Dolphins make their selection."
Miami re-built their entire offensive line last offseason, beginning the season with five new starters as compared to the 2013 opening day lineup. After injuries caused several players to change positions during the year, the team is hoping to have a lineup anchored by Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, and 2014 first-round draft choice right tackle Ja'Wuan James. Albert found himself on injured reserve in November after an ACL and MCL tear. That move sent James from right tackle to left tackle, where he struggled after having never played the position in college. Pouncey began the year on the sidelines after having to undergo hip surgery late in the offseason. When he did return, Samson Satele was playing well enough at center that Miami looked to solve the struggling guard play by inserting Pouncey there.
Albert is working to be ready for the season opener, allowing James to move back to right tackle, while Pouncey will move back to center for this year, which would allow Miami to start the three players in their ideal positions. That does, however, leave the guard positions to be addressed. The Dolphins currently are projecting Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas as the starters at the two spots, but there is concern that one, or both, of the young players are not ready to be an NFL starter. Miami also has Mark Aspen, Sam Brenner, and J.D. Walton on the roster and able to challenge for playing time.
Collins played left tackle at LSU, starting 38 straight games his final three seasons at the school. He projects to play either right tackle or inside at guard in the NFL, and is considered a day one starter. He has struggled with his footwork and hand-placement, so there is still some development needed, but, playing inside should help address some of those issues.
Kelly points out that Miami has also visited with or worked out other offensive lineman, including Brandon Scherff (Iowa), Ereck Flowers (Miami), Shane McDermott (Miami), D.J. Humphries (Florida), Jake Fisher (Oregon), Ali Marpet (Hobart), Cam Erving (FSU), Tre Jackson (FSU), Josue Matias (FSU), and Bobby Hart (FSU) in preparation for the Draft.