The Miami Dolphins systematically attacked their roster needs this offseason, adding players at key positions in both free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. It was the first major step in rebuilding a roster that was torn down prior to the 2019 season, and it should prove to be a step in the right direction. That does not mean all the work is done however.
The team is not perfect - and as the only franchise with a Perfect Season, perfection is a part of the history of this team. There are areas where growth, development, and potential are key words, but that is part of the plan with the Dolphins. This team is built to grow together, so all the pieces reach their prime at the same time.
What are the needs for the team as the offseason slowly moves forward?
1. Offensive line development
The offensive line was, arguably, the top need for the Dolphins this offseason. While the focus was on the quarterback position, Miami had to address the group of players responsible for protecting the quarterback. They did it with several new players added, including signing guard Ereck Flowers and center Ted Karras and drafting tackle Austin Jackson, guard Robert Hunt, and guard Solomon Kindley. Adding in returning players like Jesse Davis, Julién Davenport, Michael Deiter, Shaq Calhoun, and Danny Isidora, and Miami has some potential and some depth for the offensive line. The key is “potential,” though. Players like Jackson, Hunt, and Kindley need to make the adjustment to the NFL, while Flowers and Davenport continue to grow into the players Miami needs. If the offensive line can grow together this offseason and into training camp, Miami may finally have solved a problem they have been facing for far too long.
2. Continued performance from DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki; Return to form for Preston Williams
Parker and Gesicki broke out last year, while Williams was on his way to making everyone question why he was an undrafted free agent before an injury ended his season. In 2020, the Dolphins need all three of them to continue their successes from 2019. If Miami can have a receiving triplet as powerful as the potential in this group suggests, they should not have to worry about the playmakers catching the ball for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa for years to come.
3. Edge rush
Where is it? That was a question that was asked a lot last year, and, despite some attention given to the group this offseason, could be asked again in 2020. Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Kyle Van Noy, Jason Strowbridge, and Curtis Weaver were all brought in to provide a defensive end or outside linebacker presence on the defense. Will that be enough to produce a pass rush that was missing through all of 2019? Can a healthy Andrew Van Ginkel add to the pressure on opposing quarterbacks?
4. Safety solidification
Miami had to play a lot with the safety position last year, where injuries decimate the unit. This year, they head into the season with Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe, both converted cornerbacks, likely the starting pair for the team. The coaches appear to be comfortable with the starters, then likely will have Clayton Fejedelem, Adrian Colbert, Steven Parker, and rookie Brandon Jones working as the depth. How it all shakes out will have to be watched.
5. Running back depth chart
This really is just a question of who is the starter, Jordan Howard or Matt Breida, and does that really matter? After that, Miami will have to decide how many halfbacks are they keeping, and who will miss the roster from Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin, De’Lance Turner, and rookie Malcolm Perry. Miami needs production out of the running back group this year - and the offensive line additions should help with that - so the running back group’s ability to find daylight, pick up yards, and take pressure off the quarterback will be something to watch in the preseason and early in the regular season.