The Miami Dolphins entered the 2017 free agency period for the NFL with a plan clearly in place, targeting players that they felt would fit the respective offensive or defensive systems, while also not overpaying for the player. In the past, the Dolphins have been on of the biggest spenders in free agency every year, but not anymore. The team seems to believe they have the nucleus they need, and will now just use free agency to fill holes where needed.
This year, the team traded for tight end Julius Thomas, with the hope that a reunion with former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator and current Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase can bring back the two-time Pro Bowl form for the veteran. They signed tight end Anthony Fasano, bringing back a former Dolphins player while adding a blocking tight end who also has the skill set to be an effective pass catcher.
Miami signed linebacker Lawrence Timmons, beginning an upgrade to the position that could see Timmons, a 10-year veteran with the Pittsburgh Steelers, man the middle linebacker spot while Kiko Alonso, part of last year’s trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that also brought cornerback Byron Maxwell to Miami, could move outside, likely to the weak-side position. The team also added defensive end William Hayes in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, bringing in a veteran who can provide rotational play behind Cameron Wake and is a solid edge-setting defensive end, forcing running plays back inside.
The Dolphins’ moves continued with the addition of safety Nate Allen and guard Ted Larsen. Allen could be asked to start as the free safety next to strong safety Reshad Jones, with Allen replacing Isa Abdul-Quddus who was waived due to a failed physical and could be forced to retire due to a neck injury. Allen will likely compete with Michael Thomas for the position. Larsen provides quality depth along the offensive line and could compete for a starting role on the team, most likely battling Anthony Steen and Kraig Urbik for the left guard spot.
Miami also recently added Avery Young, a 2016 undrafted free agent signed by the New Orleans Saints, who spent his entire rookie year on the non-football injury list for an undisclosed issue. If Young is healthy, the Dolphins added a depth offensive lineman who, in college at Auburn, has experience playing both guard positions and right tackle. While much of the focus for the Dolphins has been finding starting guards, last year proved the team also has to have depth players who can come in a play at a high level, a role Young could fill.
While the Dolphins have done well to add to the roster and put themselves in position to be contenders for free-agent linebacker Zach Brown, as well as be able to have some flexibility when it comes to the Draft next month. They still need to figure out what they will do if they do not sign Brown, either rely on Koa Misi as the starting strong side linebacker, assuming he is healthy and can stay that way, or draft a rookie to be the starter. They could still look for a starting caliber guard to throw into the position battle. They could add depth at defensive end, defensive tackle, or cornerback. They could look for someone to join the free safety position battle.
The Dolphins have done a solid job this offseason of addressing the glaring needs, but now, as free agency slows and the Draft becomes the major focus, what is the biggest need for the team? We ask you to decide.
What is the biggest remaining need for the Miami Dolphins heading toward the 2017 NFL Draft?
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