Dolphins Mailbag: Starting Center, Tua Outlook, Draft Priorities, and More

Miami Dolphins fans have questions and we try to provide answers
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This new mailbag features your questions and my answers on Dolphins draft possibilities, some Tua takes, and free agency

So here we go.

From Craig M (@Dolfan2334):

How good a job do you think the Dolphins have done, out of 10, positioning themselves for the draft? Biggest needs left, in order?

The Dolphins went mostly for depth and special teams purposes in free agency, but what stands out most is that all but two of the free agent acquisitions got one-year contracts. So the truth is the Dolphins probably didn't do much in free agency in terms of "positioning themselves" for the draft because the basic needs for front-line players remains at a few position. If I absolutely have to give a ranking from 1 to 10 (which I don't like doing), let's say 5. As for the biggest needs left, I'm going to have a full report on that Friday, but I'll tease it by saying it's not wide receiver or running back.

From Cody O’Dea (@codyodea84):

How to you pronounce your first name and what's your outlook on Tua long term and next season?

I was born and raised in Montreal and am French-Canadian. The first name is the French version of Alan and it includes a sound (ain) not used in the English language. So I'm not even sure how I would write the phonetic way to pronounce it. And because it's so often mispronounced, I just have everyone call me Alan. Now to the really tough question. My outlook, and this is going to get me hated by a lot of people, is that I think the most likely outcome is Tua becoming a serviceable NFL quarterback. The best-case scenario is he becomes Drew Brees, but guys like Brees who can overcome physical limitations are very, very rare. Tua absolutely could prove me wrong and become an elite quarterback in the NFL, but from where I sit I'm not sure how realistic that is.

From Chris Roney (@ChrisRoney0):

The Dolphins starting center in 2021 is ...

A. Matthew Skura

B. Michael Deiter

C. Jesse Davis

D. Not currently on the 53

Barring the Dolphins taking Creed Humphrey or Landon Dickerson in one of the first two rounds, I feel pretty confident in saying the answer (barring injury) is A.

From B slate (@Bstace3):

Aldon Smith out there! Thoughts?

Very intriguing. Dude obviously has pass-rushing ability and the Dolphins need pass-rushing help. Would absolutely have no issue signing him to a short-term, prove-it type of deal without a significant commitment and taking a chance that way.

From 19ius Anglesmith (@BurtMacklinSOB):

Seeing lots of mocks where Smith or Waddle drop to the late teens. Any chance Miami would double up on receivers in Rd 1 if one of the top 3 is still there at 18?

First off, Waddle is too explosive in my view to drop down to 18. Just don't see it. Smith's status will come down to how much his frame scares off teams from taking him in the first half of Round 1. Having said that, I would put the chances of the Dolphins doubling up on WRs in the first round as extremely remote, if not downright not happening. After the signing of Will Fuller V (even if it's just for one year), it's way more likely the Dolphins will pick zero WR in the first round than two.

From Chris Hyer, Ed.D. (@Chrishyer31):

It feels as though Dolphins fans are already turning on Tua after missing savior-like expectations even as a rookie coming off a major rehab. Is this due to having too much patience with Tannehill or something else?

Let me start by saying that I'm not sure I equate fans questioning Tua's long-term outlook has "turning on him." There are fans who fall into all categories, in my view, from those who expected too much last year, to those who are overly critical, to those who refuse to accept the possibility he might not be an elite NFL quarterback. The truth is it's still too early to have a definitive answer as to what Tua will become in the NFL, but it's fair to have full confidence in him just as it is to have doubts. And the Tannehill factor absolutely comes into play because the last thing any fan of the team should want for the franchise is to have a starting quarterback who's in the lineup for 6-7 years as serviceable and nothing more, which is pretty much Tannehill was during his tenure in Miami.

From FinznDawgs1984 (@FinznD):

If Miami drafted Pitts and Najee Harris in the 1ST round you would feel??...

Hmm, I'd be OK with it, though not totally thrilled. I've mentioned before that I think Pitts would be a great pick at 3 (I don't care about the TE thing), but I'm not a fan of taking a running back at 18 unless there is a clear separation between him and the next guy, and I'm not so sure Harris is head and shoulers above Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams. I think I'd prefer the 18 pick (if it's not traded) used on an impact defensive prospect, such as Micah Parsons or Zaven Collins.