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Dolphins Looking For Athleticism On Offensive Line
By on April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

For Joe Philbin’s West Coast offense to reach its potential, the Dolphins will need to rethink the way they have evaluated offensive lineman.

In years past, they preferred hulking offensive linemen who could set the tone for a power rushing attack. But now, with the emphasis shifting to the passing game, the Dolphins will move to a zone blocking scheme.

As Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly points out, the Dolphins will need to look at a completely different breed of lineman now.

Mike Pouncey, the team’s first-round selection last season, fits nicely into what the team will be doing in the future.

“I thought he played the game on his feet really well,” Philbin told Kelly. “One of the things you’re always evaluating with linemen is can they sustain their block? Can they finish a block, can they play the game up on their feet without ending up on the ground too much. We thought he had a very, very good rookie year.”

With the need for a bit more depth on the right side of the line, the Dolphins are expected to add a lineman that fits the zone-blocking scheme.

So are there any Mike Pouncey types available in next week’s draft? Here are a few guys to keep an eye on:

  • David DeCastro, G, Stanford: Would the Dolphins possibly take an interior lineman in consecutive drafts? It’s highly unlikely, but DeCastro certainly fits the mold that Philbin will be looking for. DeCastro (6-foot-5, 316 pounds) is the ideal size for a West Coast offensive lineman, practically mirroring the average size of a 2011 Green Bay Packers offensive lineman (6-foot-4, 314 pounds). Perhaps just as important, he’s an impressive athlete who should have no problem pulling or blocking downfield. At February’s Scouting Combine, DeCastro put on an impressive performance, highlighted by his lineman-best 7.30 seconds in the three cone drill. This, of course, isn’t an automatic precursor for success–or even in-game athleticism, for that matter–but it is interesting because the recent best time in the drill belongs a current Dolphin, Lydon Murtha, who is the projected starter at right tackle.
  • Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois: Allen is intriguing because of his versatility and his experience. Though he played both left and right tackle for the Fighting Illini, he is projected by many to be shifted inside to guard. His ability–and his willingness–to play most spots on the offensive line give him the versatility that a team running a West Coast offense would look for. Like DeCastro, Allen fits the prototypical size for a lineman that Philbin worked with in Green Bay, and the four-year starter is a good side-to-side mover.
  • Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah: Once again, this is another prospect who has the versatility to play both guard and tackle. He, however, projects to be a mid-round tackle prospect and should see reps on the outside. Bergstrom, a three-year starter for the Utes, served a religious mission, so he’s a few years older than most college seniors. This could be a deterret for teams, but his maturity could help him transition easily to the NFL. He, like other zone blocking prospects, is a good mover and get to the second level and maintain his blocks. If available and the Dolphins are interested, Bergstrom could be the type of player who could compete with Murtha in training camp.
  • Riley Reiff, Adam Gettis, Marcus Zusevics, Iowa: The Hawkeyes continue to produce quality offensive lineman. Because of other pressing needs, it seems unlikely that the Dolphins would take Reiff at No. 8. It is interesting, though, that the last elite lineman out of Iowa, Bryan Bulaga, was selected by Green Bay and was named to the NFL All-Rookie team in 2010. Before Philbin moved on to Green Bay, he coached offensive lineman for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. Philbin also hired Ken O’Keefe, who had been Iowa’s offensive coordinator, to be the Dolphins’ wide receivers coach. You have to assume that the Dolphins know these three lineman, all of whom fit the zone blocking mold, as well as any NFL team.

Please Note:
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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This team made some great strides this off-season. I like the coach, I love Tannehill. I’ll be going to a whole lot of Fins games this year! GO FINS!