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Miami Dolphins Team Needs

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Miami Dolphins Team Needs
By: Jason Chernofsky

Left Tackle
The Dolphins have been much improved as far as blocking goes, but they still have a ways to go. Vernon Carey has looked good towards the end of the season, and could be the answer for the Phins at RT. Stockar McDougle was a disappointment, and although he could be kept as a backup, he won't affect their decision to upgrade the position. Damion McIntosh has been very solid, but I don't think he is the future for the Dolphins at LT. Plus, cutting him would save the Dolphins about $4 million against the cap, and although he may restructure his contract, he will likely be cut if he does not. Jon Scott (Texas) and Eric Winston (Miami) are Round 1 options for Miami, while Saban could bring in Daryn Colledge (Boise State) or his former player Andy Whitworth (LSU) in round 2 if available.

Outside Linebacker
With Junior Seau's looming retirement and this past offseason's FA signing Donnie Spragan looking more like a good backup than a starter, this should be a very big need this offseason. Eddie Moore, a 3rd year vet, has had season-ending injuries in each of his first three seasons, and is a likely roster cut this upcoming offseason. Derrick Pope has gotten some playign time again this season and he has looked pretty good, but he is more of a good backup than a starter, so they will likely look for someone to play alongside standout rookie Channing Crowder, and Zach Thomas, who is posting yet another great season. Now, they also play the 3-4 occasionally, so the OLB must be a fit in both 3-4 and 4-3 to be a good fit. Bobby Carpenter (Ohio State) would be a good fit, along with Manny Lawson (NC State) in round 1 along with Chad Greenway of Iowa. IF they should choose to wait, Spencer Havner (UCLA), Parys Haralson (Tennessee), and Cameron Vaughn (LSU) should be available and are options for their round 3 and 4 picks. Saban has coached Julian Peterson (49ers) before, so he could be an option in free agency.

Jeno James has been good all year long at left guard, but after him there is little depth since Hadnot has been moved to center. Hadnot has filled that role well, but Ephraim has struggled off the bench at right guard, so the Dolphins will look to upgrade there. Also, James has a large cintract, so he could be cut if he won't restructure it. They could look into Miami native Steve Hutchinson (Seahawks), Saints guard LeCharles Bentley, or Patriots guard Stephen Neal if they hit the free agent market. Keep your eye on Toniu Fonoti and Kris Dielman as well, as they both played under Dolphins offensive line coach Hudson Houck. In the draft, USC's Taitusi Lutui would be a good option in Round 2, while Mark Setterstrom (Minnesota), Texas' Will Allen, Michigan's Matt Lentz, and USC's Fred Matua could go as early as Round 3 or as late as Round 6 or 7.

Gus Frerotte is by no means a star, but if, as expected, he resstructures his contract, he should be back as a starter next season, which may not be a bad option after watching him play during the last month of the season. They do however, need a future QB, and they still could upgrade on Gus. Sage Rosenfels has had some great moments, but it looks like he will be let go this offseason, and Cleo Lemon, although talented, does not have the experience to warrant any serious consideration to start. They will likely draft a QB at somepoint this April, as early as Round if Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler falls to the 16th selection, or perhaps look at Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst or Alabama's Brodie Croyle in rounds 2-3.

There have been rumors that they could trade for David Carr or David Garrard, but that does not seem likely. They could however, sign a free agent to replace Gus as the veteran QB. Options include the Bengals' Jon Kitna, who is due to hit free agency. Another interesting option would be the Texans' Dave Ragone, who current offensive coordinator Scott Linehan coached at Louisville.

Defensive Back
The Dolphins have missed Pat Surtain this season, and now it looks like Sam Madison will be cut this offseason to get rid of his contract, as he seems unwilling to restructure it. Reggie Howard has been horrible since they signed him from the Panthers, and they will likely cut him and his large contract to free up cap room. Travis Daniels has been impressive for a fourth round pick, but he isn't a great starting option, and although they do have Will Poole, a former fourth round pick out of USC, who was slated to start before getting injured and missing the season. He has talent, but he may be a bit of a risk. Shirdonya Mitchell is a Saban favorite who could be a starting candidate, but he is a big injury concern and is rather unproven. Options include likely Jets' cap cut Ty Law, Bills CB Nate Clements, and Will Allen of the Giants. They could also look to a deep CB draft in which they could draft someone like Antonio Cromartie (Florida St.) or Ashton Youboty (Ohio State) in Round 1 or 2, or wait and draft Alan Zemaitis (Penn State) or Demario Minter (Georgia) later on Day 1 or on early Day 2.

They also have an issue at safety, and although Lance Schulters played well this season, he is due to be a free agent, and the Dolphins may choose to let him go if he asks for too much money. Even if he does stay, they will likely release disappointing safety Tebucky Jones to save about $4 million against the cap, which creates a hole at strong safety. Yeremiah Bell could fill the hole at free or strong safety, but has injury concerns and is a bit of a risk, while Travares Tillman seems to be no more than a good backup. They could attempt to sign free agents-to-be Tank Williams of the Titans or Marlon McCree of the Panthers. In the draft, there should be a lot of options, including South Carolina's Ko Simpson in round 1, or Greg Blue (Georgia), Roman Harper (Alabama), or Bernard Pollard (Purdue) in rounds 2-3. Other draft options include Pat Watkins (Florida St.) in rounds 3-4, and Charlie Peprah (Alabama), Marcus Demps (San Diego St.), and Marcus Hudson (NC State) later on Day 2.

Discuss the Dolphins team needs in our Miami Dolphins Forum.

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