As Training Camp draws closer for the Miami Dolphins, some of the most critical position battles are on the offensive line. As mentioned in our offensive tackle preview, the Dolphins had new starters all over the offensive line last season, and that will be the case again in 2020 at the offensive guard position.
The team used a mix of 2019 undrafted free agent Shaq Calhoun, third-round selection Michael Deiter, and other street free agents at guard last season. These players were a hodgepodge group that lacked cohesiveness as a unit, and it showed throughout the year. Things will look much different this season, as the Dolphins continue to improve under head coach Brian Flores and general manager, Chris Grier.
Below, I will discuss the improvements the team has made at the offensive guard position through the 2020 NFL Draft and free agency while previewing some of the most important battles at the position entering Training Camp for the 2020 Dolphins.
Ereck Flowers leads the charge to start at offensive guard for the Dolphins in 2020
This offseason, Miami signed former Miami Hurricane standout Ereck Flowers as a high-priced free agent to come in and upgrade this offensive line for the Dolphins. His signing comes with big expectations on a Dolphins team looking to compete in the AFC East and take that next step as an improving offensive football team.
After being labeled as a first-round bust at tackle early in his career, Flowers revived his football life with a change to guard the past couple of seasons. He was a revelation as a 16-game starter at left guard for the Washington football team and signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Dolphins this offseason as a result. Flowers should nail down one of the starting guard positions in Miami. This addition should be a boost for the Dolphins’ and their passing game, in particular.
In 2019, Flowers improved steadily as the season wore on, which is good news for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa in 2020. The addition of Flowers should also help boost a running game that ranked dead last in the NFL last season. Washington averaged over 20 yards more per-game than Miami on the ground during the 2020 campaign. His biggest competition will be 2019 third-rounder, Michael Deiter. The former Wisconsin Badger started all but one game at the LG spot last season but has the size and strength to contribute inside or outside for Miami.
More rookies like Solomon Kindley ready to step up right away
In addition to the arrival of Flowers, Miami also spent a fourth-round pick on big Georgia guard Solomon Kindley. The massive interior prospect was a three-year starter for a Bulldogs team that ground it out consistently via the running game in the SEC East. Kindley is a polished player that displays incredible strength for the position and is extremely tough for defenses to move around.
As a plus run blocker, he could win the starting right guard spot with a decent showing in camp. Kindley and fellow draft pick Robert Hunt could compete early on at right guard while Flowers competes with Deiter on the left side. While Hunt is being considered the favorite at right tackle to open camp, most viewed him as a guard prospect coming out of Louisiana.
For Hunt, his main competition is the veteran Jesse Davis, who could also step in at guard if he loses the battle to the second-round rookie tackle for the Dolphins. Davis spent two years at guard before last season when he started 15 games at right tackle. Regardless of the players named as starters for opening day, the team finally has some intriguing options in 2020.
Other camp veterans that could factor into the offensive guard position
Calhoun, Keaton Sutherland, and former Minnesota draft pick Danny Isidora return as depth with starting experience. All three accumulated time in the starting lineup with the Dolphins in 2019, but do not look likely to be featured there this season, if they even make the final roster.
Isidora is another former Miami player who played on a 2014 Hurricanes offensive line with Flowers. The two became reunited with the Dolphins, and Isidora could end up as a backup to Flowers for the 2020 season. Sutherland filled in for two starts last season, while Calhoun was a seven-game starter as a UDFA out of Mississippi State.