Now that the 2015 season has come to a close for Miami, the Dolphins organization must focus their attention on the highly important upcoming draft. Finishing the season 6-10, the Miami Dolphins will select 8th in a relatively deep draft that can help alleviate some of their biggest holes. In this article, I will explain the four biggest problem areas the Dolphins must address and why.
Miami’s offensive line is flat out atrocious. Not only has the line been constantly unhealthy for past several years, but Miami’s pairing of guards (Billy Turner/Dallas Thomas) ranks among the worst in the NFL. The Dolphins have a solid base at the OT and Center position to build around (Brandon Albert/ Mike Pouncey/ Ja’Wuan James) but a lack of depth at these positions has left the Dolphins helpless in previous seasons; the “Big 3” have seen the field together less than 10 times since James was selected in 2013. Drafting an offensive lineman in the first round is not a priority per say, unless Laremy Tunsil were to fall to 8, but late round picks to build depth and competition absolutely should be.
Koa Misi cannot stay healthy, Jelani Jenkins has regressed considerably since last season, and Spencer Paysinger will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason – all reasons to plug up the weakest part of your defense early. Players like Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith are game changers who could instantly help Miami’s 28th ranked run defense for years to come. With depth like Zack Vigil and Nevil Hewitt, the Dolphins can build a solid young core at LB if they address the problem early in the 2016 draft.
Overall, the Dolphins pass defense ranked 21st in the NFL, and 2015 ended downright strange for their top cornerback Brent Grimes. After Miami’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, his wife, Miko Grimes, took to Twitter unleashing a viral rampage against everyone from local writers to the Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (if you have not seen the tweets, they are well worth the read). Grimes, who turns 33 in July, is owed a whooping $8 million next season, and after a down year and Miko’s most recent outburst, it’s hard to tell whether the Dolphins will retain the former Pro Bowl corner. With limited cap space and an utter lack of depth at the position, the Dolphins are in no way poised to pass on Vernon Hargreaves or Jalen Ramsey if given the opportunity to draft either with the 8th pick.
If Miami cannot retain their 2015 sack leader Olivier Vernon, or former Pro bowler Cameron Wake this offseason, the once feared Dolphins defensive line may be left in complete shambles. Vernon, who lead the team with 7.5 sacks this season, is playing some of the best football of his young career. The 25-year-old Miami native becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and chances are the bidding war may be too much for the Dolphins to handle if key players like Lamar Miller are resigned. Cameron Wake, who tore his Achilles Week 8, is another giant question mark. Wake, who is now 33, is owed $8.4 million next season, and with the severity of his injury, it difficult to say if Miami would keep Wake unless he restructured a contract. If Miami decides to keep one of the two, drafting an edge rusher will help take pressure off of Ndumokong Suh and add depth to a rather empty defensive line depth chart.