There Are Just 3 O-Linemen Who Make Sense for the Miami Dolphins at 21

While as many as 10 offensive linemen are getting first-round NFL Draft consideration, there are really just three that make sense for the Miami Dolphins.

This could be a historic NFL Draft for the offensive line, with as many as 10 getting first-round consideration. Based on need and draft slot (21st overall), the Miami Dolphins are a logical team to be part of what is expected to be a huge Round 1 run on the big nasties.

But as Dolphins GM Chris Grier made clear Tuesday, Miami’s plan isn’t just to take the best-available tackle at 21. The player has to be the right scheme fit. And the Dolphins believe the draft has “more than enough guys we feel good about that can help us.”

So who is that right fit? NFL Media draft guru Daniel Jeremiah’s Dolphins-centric comments during his marathon conference call with reporters Wednesday helped narrow the focus.

Who Will the Miami Dolphins Take at 21?

First, some process of elimination background work.

The Dolphins, Jeremiah rightly believes, will not be in position to take Notre Dame’s Joe Alt (the No. 4 overall prospect on PFN’s Big Board), Penn State’s Olu Fashanu (No. 9), or Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga (No. 11).

That means three of the consensus top six tackles have a reasonable chance of making it to 21: Washington’s Troy Fautanu (No. 13), Alabama’s JC Latham (No. 20), and Georgia’s Amarius Mims (No. 23).

So of those three, who makes the most sense for a Dolphins team that prioritizes speed and agility over brute strength?

Here’s Jeremiah’s response:

“The two that I feel great about is if somehow Fautanu got there or if it was Latham, in terms of being ready to go right away. Amarius Mims has the freaky upside, but with this Dolphins team, it feels like man, they’re ready to go right now. And I think the presence of somebody like Latham is just a little bit more prepared to step in right now and go.”

Taking Latham would be so on-brand for Grier, who has selected four Alabama players since 2018 — including three in the first round (Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, and Minkah Fitzpatrick).

But there’s one other O-line option Dolphins should keep in mind as we inch closer to Round 1: Duke’s Graham Barton, the five-position Swiss Army Knife who can play all five positions.

Jeremiah ranks Barton as the draft’s best interior lineman — an area of need for the Dolphins in 2024 — and believes he’s absolutely worthy of a late first-round pick.

“I think he has legit five-position flexibility,” Jeremiah said. “He can move around, do different things, play left tackle. I think he’s best at center, but I think he can survive a tackle if you needed him to. I think he’s fully capable of playing guard as well, but he’s the best in space change of direction, you know, just overall athleticism.

“He’s really, really talented there.”

Grier on Tuesday was asked specifically about the value he puts on players who can successfully play more than one position. His answer would suggest the Dolphins would love a player like Barton:

“Obviously, you’ve seen here the last couple years with some of the injuries we’ve had late in the season, the versatility of players is key. So guys that can play all along the offensive line or in the secondary, move around, that’s really important for depth and building a team. It helps.

“We’re always looking for those players that can do more things, because I just think it helps your roster. So for us, we’ll always keep looking for players that can do more.”

Fautanu, Latham, and Barton all check that box in a big way.

KEEP READING: NFL Insider Adam Caplan Has Miami Taking OT in Round 1

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