After losing 44% of their starters due to the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, it's safe to say the Dolphins need to make a serious investment in shoring up their offensive line. Last year's group, while admittedly weakened by losing Martin and Incognito mid season, gave up a staggering 58 sacks. For the sake of Ryan Tannehill's continued development, it is imperative that he not be subjected to that level of punishment again. Their top receiving threat, speedster Mike Wallace, thrives when he is given time to get open for deep throws, a luxury he was rarely afforded last season.
Taylor Lewan, a first team All-American the past two seasons, would go a long way towards remedying this issue. He was named Big Ten Conference Offensive Lineman Of The Year in 2012 and 2013 and is a mammoth physical presence. Standing 6'8" and weighing in at a relatively svelte 309, he has proven difficult for opposing defenders to maneuver past. He plays with a mean streak, is a reliable pass protector, finishes his blocks, plus he shows a knack for going into the second level and getting to defenders.
He opened a lot of eyes with his showing against vaunted South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney in the Outback Bowl. While he did need some double team help and was beaten for one tackle for a loss, he did not surrender a single sack and picked up his share of wins. Against a once in a generation talent like Clowney, this is a great performance by any measure.
Conventional wisdom had Taylor Lewan going much earlier than the Dolphins' selection at 19, but due to some off the field issues, he could very easily slide down a lot of teams' draft boards. Lewan was recently charged for his role in a bar fight, a fight where he claims he was the peacemaker. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a Michigan alum and is said to be infatuated with Lewan's potential. If he and the Dolphins' brain trust feel satisfied that Lewan will not become a habitual troublemaker, it would make all the sense in the world to tab him as their offensive tackle of the future.
It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins are willing to take the potential PR hit that would come from taking on another offensive lineman with off the field issues. For the sake of their would be franchise QB, they need to strike gold in this year's draft and keep him healthy to speed up his development. This is a make or break year for Tannehill, and you have to believe Miami will do everything in their power to make sure he succeeds.