In early May, the Miami Dolphins went after a virtually unknown (to most draft pundits) tackle to shore up their right tackle position with the selection of Ja’wuan James. Surely, this was the name Dolphins rejoiced to after he was selected. I’m sure that South Beach was in such a frenzy that they put down their phones and quickly jumped on Twitter to celebrate, leaving the Heat sites for another day.
However, Dolphins fans were more celebratory at the sight of Jarvis Landry falling to them in round two than James filling a desperate need at tackle. We know, that tackles aren’t meant to be sexy picks and the fact that the Dolphins had no shot at Zack Martin from Notre Dame nor a linebacker in C.J. Mosely, the Dolphins took best available.
Here’s the thing, the Dolphins already signed Branden Albert at left tackle during free agency in March and it was only fitting that they would look for his bookend. GM Dennis Hickey was so ecstatic that James was available as much as James was thrilled after his pre-draft visit. Hickey had James targeted all along, so it’s been said.
For the Dolphins, as they work through Organized Team Activities and minicamp, it just makes sense to put the onus on Ja’wuan James. It makes sense to have James be there like Vernon Carey was from 2004-2011. James, a right tackle, comes in from Tennessee having graduated and served as a team captain. His leadership traits and massive frame bring that type of intensity necessary to play the position.
The “toughness” factor that was not seen with Jonathan Martin appears to not be the case with James. While Center Mike Pouncey appears to be the leader of the offensive line and some Twitter controversy, James could set the tone early in minicamp and training camp when he shows the fans and media that no one will touch Tannehill.
Said in James introductory press conference about his level of expectation in winning the job:
“I don’t expect anything. Like I said, I expect to come in and work hard and earn what I’m given. I got to go earn it. That’s how I was raised my whole life; you got to earn what you get.”
That there Dolphins fans, is what we can expect with Ju’wuan James, a lunch pail blue collar type of guy that wants to have success in this league and won’t shy away when the going gets tough.