The Miami Dolphins selected three players in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the trio has yet to see action in the same game at any point this season. That could all change during Sunday’s contest against the Arizona Cardinals.
Per the team, the Dolphins have activated rookie left tackle Austin Jackson off of injured reserve. Jackson has been unavailable since he injured his foot during Week 4’s matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. With Jackson back on the active roster, all three of Miami’s first round picks are likely to play together for the first time, with Tua Tagovailoa (selected 5th overall) starting at quarterback and Noah Igbinoghene (selected 28th overall) rotating in at cornerback.
Since Jackson went down with an injury, veteran swing tackle Jesse Davis moved over from right tackle, while 2020 second-round draft pick Robert Hunt replaced Davis on the right side. Both have played well in their new assignments, so it’s currently unclear how Brian Flores will distribute playing time on the offensive line. For most front fives, consistency is vital in playing a steady game and protecting a team’s cornerback, so it’s unlikely that all three receive significant playing time in a single game so long as the interior of the offensive line remains the same. Veteran free agency acquisitions Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras are currently holding down starting positions at left guard and center respectively, while rookie fourth-round selection Solomon Kindley has seen all the starting snaps at right guard.
Miami’s offensive line as played well as a whole in pass protection this season, and while the run blocking has left something to be desire from this unit, the overall success of the front five has been a far cry from the abysmal play of Miami’s offensive line last season. Hunt had been riding the bench before Jackson’s injury, so it’s possible he’s demoted back to a backup role to make room for Davis to swing back to the right side. It’s also possible Flores chooses to let his rookies continue to progress and leaves the veteran Davis as the odd man out. Either way, success at both tackle spots will be vital to Tagovailoa’s continued development, and with the rookie passer being left-handed, quality right tackle play will be needed at a premium to protect Tagovailoa’s blind side.