The Miami Dolphins had a plan to get better and get better quickly this offseason. They had the most salary cap space and the most draft capital to improve their roster. In free agency, they went shopping with someone else's credit card to bring in edge rushers Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson as well as cornerback Byron Jones, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah and offensive guard Ereck Flowers. Personally speaking, they overpaid for all of them except maybe Jones.
The 2020 NFL Draft class is a house of cards that could fall if a few pieces do not pan out. After selecting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins set out to fix their offensive line by selecting USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson, Louisiana-Lafayette offensive guard Robert Hunt and Georgia offensive guard Solomon Kindley. Those were great picks.
Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in the first round was a little high for me, especially since they have Xavien Howard and Jones on lucrative deals. If Igbinoghene works out, it could entice them to move on from Howard sooner rather than later. The additions of Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and Texas safety Brandon Jones on Day 2 came way too early. Both players regressed in 2019. The addition of North Carolina defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge on Day 3 was solid, while landing Boise State edge rusher Curtis Weaver in the fifth round was phenomenal. Malcolm Perry in the seventh round is fine, but using a sixth-round pick on a long snapper is unnecessary. It is hard to fathom that he would not have been available as an undrafted free agent.
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One thing that could hamper this group from coming together and contributing immediately is the uncertain times in which we live. An optimistic outlook suggests that they will not be able to work with coaches in person until training camp. With that being said, the Dolphins have a great coaching staff that was able to do more with much less in 2019.
Miami will not compete for a Super Bowl in 2020, but they can take a marginal step forward in the AFC East without Tom Brady. Here is a plan for them to continue their offseason of growth.
1. Add some playmakers at the running back position
Miami traded away Kenyan Drake at the deadline. It seemed likely that the Dolphins would add a quality player at the running back position through the draft, but that never materialized. By adding one of those top six players at the position, they would have taken some of the pressure off of Tagovailoa in the backfield. It is worth noting that they did acquire Matt Breida in a trade with the 49ers during the draft, but that does not solve the problem. Breida is a great player coming from one of the league's most productive rushing attacks, but it's unrealistic to think he might have the same success in Miami.
The pick of Davis in the second round was too early. If they had replaced him with the best available running back, I would have liked it much more.
2. Add another weapon or two at wide receiver, tight end
Gone are the days where NFL teams are satisfied having two good wide receivers. The Broncos and Raiders were among the teams that hit the position hard. The Cowboys used a pick on what essentially amounted to a luxury player. I like what Preston Williams showed before his injury and DeVante Parker did some really good things, but the sample size is small. It is a gamble to rely on those two players.
At tight end, they are reliant on Mike Gesicki's development. The reality is that Miami was never going to be able to address all of its needs in one offseason, but I would have enjoyed the Dolphins giving Tagovailoa a more proven commodity to assist his development.
3. Add an elite edge rusher
Miami has added a lot of bodies on the edge this offseason: Van Noy, Ogbah, Lawson and Weaver. It's a solid rotation that lacks top end production. Who is going to be the guy to consistently apply pressure? Who is going to be the guy who comes up with a big play when the team needs it most? Perhaps the platoon system will get it done, but none of their pass rushers strike fear in the opposition.
The Dolphins are going to have a lot of draft capital again next season. It is a process, but I felt like they unnecessarily tried to speed it with some of the long-term contracts that they doled out this offseason.