As the Miami Dolphins head into the negotiating period this weekend and free agency on Tuesday, it’s time to take a look at who can fill some of their needs during this time. Here, I’ll break down the LG position, where the Dolphins are looking to move on from Richie Incognito for reasons we all know and understand.
On just about every team, the left guard is a combination of agility and power. He will need to be one of your best pullers so he can establish the point of attack on various running plays. On passing downs, this person is responsible for being a power blocker. Against a 4-3 defense, he’ll matchup against a defensive tackle, and when going up against a 3-4 defense, he is responsible for the nose guard the vast majority of the time. That means that the left guard is a pretty important piece on the line and in my opinion, more than the right guard.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many good left guards available on the free-agent market, so the Dolphins may look to the draft. Let’s take a look, though, at what may be available. The top names include Geoff Schwartz and Travelle Wharton. After that, there are some decent players such as Zane Beadles, but if the Dolphins aren’t talking to Schwartz or Warton right off the bat, they might as well wait until the draft to address this position since it is pretty important.
Schwartz has played both the left and right guard positions and is very good at both. This versatility makes him an attractive option, but his grades make him even more attractive. According to Pro Football Focus, he played in 632 snaps and had an overall grade of 18.3, with only two games where he had a negative grade. His pass block grade was 6.0 and his run block grade was 9.0. In 293 passing plays, Schwartz allowed two sacks, two QB hits, six hurries and 10 pressures. His pass blocking efficiency was 97.3 percent.
Wharton, 32, is an interesting option, but he’s a bit older, so he would be a stopgap option for a few years. He played in 908 snaps and had an overall grade of 17.3, with only four games where he had a negative grade. His pass block grade was 7.9 and his run block grade was 6.7. In 456 passing plays, Wharton allowed zero sacks, three QB hits, 14 hurries and 17 pressures. His pass blocking efficiency was 97.2 percent.
Beadles, 27, is a name that has been coming up a lot, but may be a bit overrated. He played in 1,449 snaps and had an overall grade of -2.3, with 10 games where he had a negative grade. His pass block grade was -6.6 and his run block grade was -1.5. In 694 passing plays, he allowed one sack, nine QB hits, 32 hurries and 42 pressures. His pass blocking efficiency was 95.4 percent.
As I mentioned before, I would only go after Schwartz or Wharton. Schwartz will probably command a lot of money and the Kansas City Chiefs desperately want to keep him, so it won’t be easy to lure him away. While Wharton would only be here for a few years, it might be the better option to sign him and let Dallas Thomas or a newly-drafted rookie develop under him over the coming years. As for Beadles, you can see why he’s a bit overrated. However, due to the increased chatter that’s been happening lately, I thought it would be good to point out his bad grades and stats.
Free agency is only a few days away and we should see the Dolphins’ plan develop rather quickly once the period opens.