When it comes to player acquisition, the Miami Dolphins have definitely not shied away from taking chances, this was evident again last night during the first round of the NFL draft.
Laremy Tunsil, a junior offensive tackle out of Ole Miss, was widely regarded as the best lineman in this years draft and in some circles he was even graded as the best overall player in the draft.
What makes this move another potential disaster for the Dolphins is that just before the start of the draft a video surfaced which appears to show Tunsil taking a hit from a bong while wearing a gas mask. Fans of the franchise are still feeling the sting from another first round draft pick, Dion Jordan, who has yet to produce on the field due to drug suspensions imposed by the NFL.
To compound matters, Miami let go of some home grown talents this off season as cost saving measures, which left many fans concerned about the direction of the franchise.
On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins were a team with one of the worst offensive lines in the league, not just last year but for several years. Suddenly, they appear ready to field an offensive line that could feature Ja’Wuan James and Tunsil at tackle, Branden Albert and Jermon Bushrod at guards and Mike Pouncey at center.
If the line stays healthy and in tact for the season this is a dramatic upgrade over the lines the Dolphins have started for several years. This should buy more time for Ryan Tanehill to make his throws instead of running for his life on every play and it should open up holes for Jay Ajay, who showed he had a knack for falling forward and hard running last season. If Ajay can get to the second level more often it would not be hard to imagine him breaking off some big gains against corners and safety’s, who may have trouble bringing down the 200+ pound back. The running threat could open up more play action opportunities for Tanehill to connect with talented receivers, Devante Parker and Jarvis Landry.
Recent history also shows some promise when it comes to players who may have had some concerns as the draft approached. Dan Marino was rumored to have a cocaine problem when the Dolphins selected him and he became one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
Warren Sapp slipped to 12, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him and he went on to be one of the greatest defensive lineman in history and also led the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory.
Finally, where the Dolphins picked Tunsil is promising. The Dolphins moved back to 13 in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and acquired Kiko Alonso as well as Byron Maxwell to shore up some defensive holes. Even if neither of these players make an impact, if Tunsil can stay on the field and play to his potential getting him at 13 was far safer than getting him in the 8th position. On the other hand, if Maxwell and Alonso are both able to start and be productive for Miami then in essence they will have received the best player in this years draft and two defensive starters that played well before arriving in Philadelphia.
When it comes to gambles, Dolphins fans have been burned and upset by many of the moves. However due to the potential of Laremy Tunsil, this is a move that had to be made and it could be a move that starts a turnaround of this once proud franchise.