As the Miami Dolphins prepare for the start of training camp, we break down every position with a look back at what happened in the offseason, what to watch in the summer and what might happen in the regular season.
We continue the series with the offensive line.
ON THE ROSTER
• C Matt Skura — Fifth year out of Duke; entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent
• C Cameron Tom — Fourth-year player out of Southern Miss; entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent
• C/G Michael Deiter — Third-year player out of Wisconsin; entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2019
• G Robert Jones — Rookie out of Middle Tennessee State; entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent
• G Solomon Kindley — Second-year player out of Georgia; entered the NFL in 2020 as a fourth-round pick of the Dolphins
• G Durval Queiroz Neto — Rookie out of Brazil (no college football); entered the NFL in 2019 as part of the International Pathway Player Program
• G/T Jesse Davis — Fifth year out of Idaho; entered the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted free agent
• G/T Robert Hunt — Second year out of Louisiana-Lafayette; entered the NFL in 2020 as a second-round pick of the Dolphins
• OL Jermaine Eluemunor — Fifth year out of Texas; entered the NFL in 2015 as a fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens
• OL D.J. Fluker — Ninth year out of Alabama; entered the NFL in 2013 as a first-round pick (13th overall) of the San Diego Chargers
• T Larnel Coleman — Rookie out of Massachusetts; entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins in 2021
• T Jonathan Hubbard — First-year player out of Northwestern State; entered the NFL in 2020 as an undrafted free agent
• T Austin Jackson — Second year out of USC; entered the NFL in 2020 as a first-round pick (18th pick)
• T Adam Pankey — Fourth year out of West Virginia; entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent
• T Timon Parris — First-year player out of Stony Brook; entered the NFL in 2018 as an undrafted free agent
Jan. 5— Queiroz, Hubbard and C Tyler Gauthier signed to futures contracts
Feb. 3 — Signed Tom to a futures contract
March 15 — T Julien Davenport and C Ted Karras became unrestricted free agents
March 17 — T Isaiah Wilson acquired in a trade with the Tennessee Titans in a deal involving draft picks ... Pankey re-signed as an unrestricted free agent after the team declined to tender him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent
March 19 — Signed Skura as an unrestricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens
March 20 — Waived Wilson
April 20 — Signed Fluker as an unrestricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens
April 29 — Traded G Ereck Flowers to the Washington Football Team in a deal involving draft picks
May 1 — Selected Coleman in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft
May 13 — Signed Jones as an undrafted free agent
May 20 — Signed Parris as a free agent
June 14 — Signed Eluemunor as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots ... waived Parris
July 16 — Waived Gauthier
July 19 — Signed Parris
Team rushing: 428 carries, 1688 yards, 3.9 average
Pass protection: 559 pass attempts, 34 sacks allowed
Penalties (including declined penalties) 24: Kindley 6, Hunt 5, Jackson 4, Flowers 3, Karras 3, Davis 3
The Dolphins were aggressive in rebuilding their offensive line last offseason, signing Flowers and Karras in free agency before selecting Jackson, Hunt and Kindley in the draft. Those five ended up splitting starting duties along with Jesse Davis, and there was considerable improvement after the painful performance up front in 2019. All of the rookies had their moments, though there were the inevitable growing pains.
The big move of the season along the offensive line again involved the draft, this time the selection of Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg in the second round. The Dolphins swapped veterans up front, bringing in Fluker, Eluemunor and Skura to replace Karras and Flowers. Another significant change involved the coaching staff, with the Dolphins parting ways with O-line coach Steve Marshall and promoting assistant Lemuel Jeanpierre to replace him.
THE TOP SUMMER STORYLINES
Who plays where? The Dolphins not only have to settle on a starting five up front, but they also have to determine where to use their many offensive linemen with position flexibility. Another clear summer subplot involves Eichenberg and whether he can show he's ready to be thrown into the starting lineup.
LONG SHOT TO WATCH
One under-the-radar player worth watching this summer is Cameron Tom, who played 12 games for the Saints over the past three years, including 11 in 2018. The center from Southern Miss would seem to have a clear shot at making the 53-man roster with a strong training camp and could even challenge for the center job.
THE KEY SUMMER BATTLE
Man, what isn't a battle on the offensive line? If we have to pick one spot, we'll go with right tackle because the expectation is that Hunt will slide inside to right guard and then Eichenberg will battle with one the veterans (Fluker, Eluemunor, Davis) for the right tackle spot. But there also should be fierce competition at center among Skura, Tom and Deiter, and at left guard among Kindley, Davis (again) and maybe Fluker.
BETTER OR WORSE THAN THIS TIME LAST YEAR
The net results from last summer have the Dolphins clearly coming out on top because it's impossible to debate the idea that Eichenberg, Fluker, Eluemunor and Skura as a group are better than Flowers, Karras and Davenport. And that's not even factoring in the 2020 draft picks being better because they've got a year of NFL experience now.
PROJECTED OPENING-DAY STARTERS
Let's start by saying there won't be a position on the roster with a more difficult projection to make. There are a myriad of combinations to could play out on the offensive line, but our best guess at this time would have Jackson at left tackle, Davis at left guard, Skura at center, Hunt at right guard and Eichenberg at right tackle. Again, this is a projection.
Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL. Feel free to submit questions every Friday for the All Dolphins mailbag.