The Dolphins offensive line was formidable in 2016, but injuries kept it from being above average. With Mike Pouncey’s health constantly a concern, Branden Albert rapidly declining and a question mark at right guard, the Dolphins need to address this area.
Day 1 Options –
Dan Feeney – Indiana
Games: Ohio State (2015), Florida International, Senior Bowl
Entering this process, I was not expecting to develop a full-blown man crush on an offensive lineman. But less than a minute into the Ohio State tape from his junior season, Dan Feeney showed three entirely separate skill sets that all scream first round talent. He has heavy hands and a stifling punch. He’s a technician with great balance, a strong anchor and the ability to re-anchor if necessary.
You don’t put this kind of responsibility on a lineman that hasn’t earned All-American honors twice (2015 and 2016) and has over 40 games of starting experience. He puts a strong punch on the nose to get him moving sideways and then picks up the blitz without any hiccup.
He can climb to the next level or pull across the formation without any issues. His athleticism will work perfectly for what the Dolphins like to do coming across the backside of the formation or leading out in front on play side.
The screen game has been an issue for the Dolphins for a number of years, but Dan Feeney is the kind of player, especially next to Mike Pouncey, that will allow you to create big lanes on the edges for backs like Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake.
I would like to see Feeney add a few pounds to a frame that can handle it. Blocking the interior line in this division means handling Leonard Williams and Marcel Dareus, so an experienced technician like Feeney would be a fantastic fit with the 22nd pick.
Fit: As mentioned above, his ability to move and get into space has to intrigue the Miami staff. He may be a little on the light side but that isn’t anything he can’t figure out in the weight room early in his career. If you draft Feeney, the right guard positions is shored up for the foreseeable future and this offense is almost complete.
Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky
Games: Alabama, Louisiana Tech
His ankle injury that cost him a Senior Bowl appearance was what turned me onto Feeney as a more intriguing prospect. Originally, it was Lamp and his impressive Alabama tape where he stonewalled the likes of Johnathan Allen, Tim Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson for virtually no pressure on his quarterback.
Although he gives up the sack on this play, he shows off his quickness to the boundary, and sound technique to square up Johnathan Allen cutting off the edge to the quarterback. Now the QB rolls right into the pressure, but there’s nothing a tackle can do about that.
The reason he doesn’t project as a tackle at the next level is his arm length. It might not seem like much, but when he has to deal with an explosive rusher like Cam Wake that can get under his outside shoulder, it becomes exponentially more difficult to resist holding on for dear life.
What originally attracted me to Lamp was the prowess in the run game and how it could transition inside to guard. In this clip, he makes his initial double team chip (a staple of the Dolphins inside zone running scheme) and climbs to the second level and eliminates the linebacker. Picture him putting this chip on Malcolm Brown and attacking Dont’a Hightower of the Patriots.
The knock on Lamp is the level of competition, but that’s pretty quickly diminished by the Alabama tape. You’d prefer to see a guy with more quality tape against better competition, but he blocked what was put in front of him every Saturday.
Fit: It would seem he would be a better transition to left guard. He has the athleticism to get into the second level, but his size is a concern. The Dolphins prefer more meat than a guy coming in under 300 pounds but, like Feeney, I’m not going to put it past these guys to hit the weights hard the second you draft them. He would also be an intriguing fit adding that kind of athleticism next to Pouncey.
Check back for day two and day three prospects.