Another first round has come and gone, and the Dolphins have given us another “blah” first-round pick. Sure, Mike Pouncey addresses a need for Miami, as they desperately needed interior offensive line help, but it’s a very conservative pick.
Even if Pouncey turns out to be a solid starter from day one and eventually a Pro Bowl caliber player, an interior offensive lineman isn’t going to put the Dolphins over the top. They’re still a mediocre to decent team regardless of whether Pouncey pans out or not.
If you roll the dice on a potential franchise quarterback like Ryan Mallett, though, the Dolphins would have possibly selected a guy that could have taken them to contender status. Of course, there would have been a much greater chance of Mallett busting, but with a higher risk comes a much higher reward.
But enough about what could have happened today, let’s focus on what the Dolphins now have. What they have is hopefully the first step in the right direction to a reborn running game. The biggest question I had before Jeff Ireland’s presser tonight was whether or not Pouncey was drafted to play guard or center for the Dolphins. My original thought was guard because the Dolphins resigned Richie Incognito, who was average at best at left guard but showed promise in limited action at center.
As always, it seems the Dolphins’ line of thinking differs from mine. “He’s a center on my board,” Ireland told the media. “Right now we’re going to line him up at center.”
If the Dolphins feel Pouncey is better suited to play center, then by all means play him at center. But what that does tell me is the Dolphins still have some work to do in order to shore up their interior O-line. If they intend on keeping Richie Incognito at left guard, competition probably needs to be brought in because I have my doubts he can be anything more than so-so at guard being that he has a difficult time when asked to pull.
The right side is also far from settled. Nate Garner, who will be returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2010 season, is expected to compete with John Jerry for the time being, but both are far from sure bets. Having said all of that, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if the Dolphins drafted another interior offensive lineman sometime this weekend; particularly a guard that is athletic enough to be an effective puller.
If they pass on another lineman, they better dish out some cash for a proven veteran when free agency starts, which is expected to begin in the next few days. Either way, Pouncey is far from the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to returning the Dolphins’ running game to respectability, especially when you consider two new running backs still need to be drafted or signed.