The Miami Dolphins addressed their biggest need during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by selecting right tackle Ja’Wuan James. But their offensive line rebuild, a necessary project considering the abhorrent season last season’s unit had both on and off the field, still wasn’t complete. Acquiring a starting-caliber guard was still in order.
After patiently playing the trade-back game in the second round, the Dolphins were aggressive in Round 3, trading up to the No. 67 overall pick to snag North Dakota State offensive lineman Billy Turner. A small-school prospect, Turner dominated FCS competition on a regular basis. When he had the opportunity to play against a BCS school, like Kansas State in 2013, he didn’t disappoint.
Turner excelled at left tackle for North Dakota State, showing the quickness, strength and nastiness to become a Day 2 pick in the NFL. Turner will undoubtedly compete for a starting role at guard for the Dolphins in 2014, but he has potential to kick over to tackle in the future if the club needs him to. He enters the league with some rawness, but he has the potential to surface as one of the league’s best offensive lineman, either on the interior or at tackle, in time.
The Dolphins’ offensive line reconstruction is now complete. The unit has certainly come a long way since the disaster of 2013. 58 sacks and a national controversy later, Miami has a potentially formidable front. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill now has every opportunity to become the franchise quarterback the Dolphins desperately need him to be.
Cody Strahm is an NFL author contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.