The Miami Dolphins finished last season with a 10-6 record, landing them second in the AFC East division and also clinching a playoff berth as the final seed in the AFC before being knocked out by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card game. The game between the Steelers and the Dolphins was a one-sided affair with Pittsburgh just having their way with Miami.
Was it because Ryan Tannehill wasn’t playing? Was it the freezing weather in Pittsburgh? Or was it just that Miami couldn’t compete with them? No need to panic though, the Dolphins should be able to do what they did last year or improve with these different ways of improvement.
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Draft Ryan Tannehill’s Successor
Once Ryan Tannehill took a big hit into his knee from Calais Campbell in a matchup between the Dolphins and Cardinals, it was safe to say that we all thought Tannehill’s season was over with a torn ACL. Once it was revealed that it was only a sprained ACL and MCL, Miami was able to breathe again but it was going to take some time before Tannehill returns to the field.
When backup quarterback Matt Moore stepped in, there was questions as to whether or not Moore could produce and lead Miami to the playoffs. Moore silenced most of these doubters when he led Miami to wins in the team’s next two games against the rival Jets and Bills before losing at home to the Patriots in Week 17.
Tannehill is now 28 years old, while Moore is 32. Despite his success last season, Moore may be looking to retire soon and Tannehill is getting up there in age and with the knee injury he suffered he could be injury prone going forward. Why not draft a rookie to develop under Tannehill and take over if Tannehill goes down again or leaves Miami? It may be too early to think about life after Ryan Tannehill, but it isn’t.
Bring in more blockers for Jay Ajayi
If there is one thing we learned about Miami last year, it’s that star running back Jay Ajayi can run and run hard. He racked up 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season. For a fifth-round pick in 2015 and playing in his second year, these were excellent stats. With the Dolphins trading left tackle Branden Albert to the Jacksonville Jaguars this past offseason, it’s time to bring in someone to help out the running game.
Miami is going to have to draft an offensive lineman. With the number 22 pick in the draft this year, you may see them draft offensive tackle Cam Robinson out of Alabama despite injuries with his shoulder or offensive guard Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky. Bring in someone to add to the offensive line and Miami fans can expect Ajayi to have at the minimum, a similar season statwise.
Add another dangerous linebacker during the draft
With the number 22 pick, the Dolphins are in a good spot to pick a solid linebacker. Assuming that a lot of secondary players go along with the top offensive prospects, adding another linebacker to Adam Gase’s defense would make sense.
One route I’d be taking is to select T.J. Watt out of Wisconsin, the little brother of J.J. Watt. Watt is an underrated player in this draft and whoever drafts him will get a steal. Another underrated player is linebacker Zach Cunningham out of Vanderbilt. Both of these players would make a great addition with Kiko Alonso and the Miami defense.