Following rookie minicamp over Memorial Day weekend, the entire team will hit the practice field on tomorrow as the Dolphins have their first OTA (Organized Team Activity). With no fan access until training camp, the media will get its initial glimpse of the 2014 Dolphins. With that in mind, here are some of the things that I’ll be looking for when the team hits the field:
Top Draft Picks: When evaluating Miami’s draft class, it will take time for everyone to develop and for some, perhaps, years to make an impact. However, the first three picks entered the NFL with high expectations. It will be fun to see how Ja’Wuan James, Jarvis Landry, and Billy Turner fit in with the veterans. Nothing definitive can be determined in the opening OTA, but the top rookies have a chance to make a positive impression on the vets.
Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace: Will the improved chemistry that the two of them are openly striving for be there during the first OTA? How many deep balls will they throw? These are just two of the many questions surrounding the QB-WR duo entering its second season together. Fans and media alike are eagerly anticipating the ability to observe the evolution of this crucial relationship.
Bill Lazor’s Offense: One of the biggest acquisitions the Dolphins made in the offseason won’t play a snap in 2014… that’s because he’ll be calling plays. Bill Lazor and the new offensive system he’s brought to Miami will play a critical role in how much success the Dolphins enjoy during the upcoming season. While not much can be ascertained from an OTA in May, it will be fun to get even a small preview of what Lazor has in store for 2014.
Cornerback: Brent Grimes is the only guaranteed starter at this position so the battle for the other roles among the CBs begins on Tuesday. It will be fascinating to see how much progress Jamar Taylor and Will Davis have made entering their sophomore campaigns and if Cortland Finnegan can return to his form of a couple of seasons ago. Also, we’ll get a chance to see how Walt Aikens fares among the veterans on the roster.
Linebacker: The offseason has been full of reports and rumors about potential movement within the linebacking corps. Will Koa Misi move to the inside? Will Dannell Ellerbe transition to the outside? Will Philip Wheeler’s role change? We’ll get our first indication of the plan at this position come Tuesday.
Offensive Line: After giving up 58 sacks in 2013, this position will have a microscope on it as the offseason progresses. The additions of Branden Albert, Shelley Smith, and Jason Fox via free agency and Ja’Wuan James and Billy Turner in the draft signify a massive overhaul around Mike Pouncey. Knowing that Albert (left) and James (right) will start at either tackle position, the first OTA will provide a clue as to who has the inside track at winning the guard spots.
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