The Miami Dolphins spent a large portion of this offseason focused on improving a defense that struggled last year, especially against the run. The team did not completely ignore the offense, however, where they added some players via trade and free agency, as well as re-signed some players. The biggest change to the offense may be on the offensive line, where the team traded away left tackle Branden Albert in order to move second-year lineman Laremy Tunsil from the left guard position he played last year to his natural position at left tackle.
Miami is betting on center Mike Pouncey being healthy this year - and they are expected to protect him as much as possible during training camp and the preseason - as well as their internal grading of right guard Jermon Bushrod and continued development and improvement from right tackle Ja’Wuan James. Replacing Tunsil at left guard is still a position battle to be settled, with Anthony Steen, Kraig Urbik, Ted Larsen, and rookie Isaac Asiata all in consideration for the spot. Pro Football Focus does not think too highly of the starting five players Miami will be sending out on Sundays to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill and to open running lanes for running back Jay Ayai.
In their ranking of all 32 projected starting offensive lines, PFF ranks the Miami Dolphins 26th. They explain the ranking, of which Miami is only ahead of the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Seattle Seahawks, writing:
After finishing with the league’s two lowest-graded guards in 2015, Laremy Tunsil brought some semblance of competency to the position last year. They could very well be back to that 2015 level again though, as Tunsil moves to left tackle, where he is an unknown. Right guard Jermon Bushrod finished as the fourth-lowest-graded tackle in the league last year, while projected left guard Anthony Steen wasn’t much better in 408 snaps last year.
The Dolphins believe their analysis of the offensive line is better than what outside analysts have seen, especially when it comes to Bushrod, and they seem happy with the position group that they have headed toward training camp. PFF’s concern about Tunsil seems exaggerated, given he is returning to his natural position and he played it well last year when he had to fill in for Albert.
Miami seems to believe they have an offensive line that will be effective this year. Will it be able to prove PFF’s rankings wrong?