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With the start of the new league year approaching, dolphins.com continues a series of free agency previews with the offensive line.
The Dolphins’ depth up front was tested last season after three of the opening-day starting offensive linemen ended up on injured reserve. Center Mike Pouncey made a successful comeback from his hip injury and ended up starting every game, while left tackle Laremy Tunsil started every game except for the finale. Anthony Steen, Jermon Bushrod and Ja’Wuan James all ended the season on IR, while free agent acquisition Ted Larsen began the season on injured reserve before being activated and starting the final eight games. Tackle Zach Sterup, guard/tackle Jesse Davis and tackle Sam Young also started games for the Dolphins.
Bushrod and Young both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
THE TOP THREE FREE AGENTS AT THE POSITION
T Nate Solder, New England – A first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, Solder has been a fixture at left tackle for the Patriots, missing only two starts the past six seasons with the exception of 2015. A former tight end at the University of Colorado, Solder has been a dependable pass blocker through the years.
G Justin Pugh, N.Y. Giants – A first-round pick out of Syracuse in 2013, Pugh was moved from right tackle to guard after two seasons and thrived with the position change. He was limited to 19 games the past two seasons because of knee and back injuries.
G Andrew Norwell, Carolina – After going undrafted out of Ohio State, Norwell has blossomed into one of the top interior offensive linemen in the NFL. Norwell started all 16 games each of the past two seasons and earned All-Pro recognition in 2017.
BEST OF THE REST
o T Andre Smith, Cincinnati – The sixth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Smith has spent pretty much his entire career at right tackle. He returned to Cincinnati last season after a one-year stint in Minnesota, but hasn’t played a full season since 2013.
o T Greg Robinson, Detroit – Robinson began his career with the Rams as the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, but never lived up to the billing there before joining the Lions last season. He does have a lot of athleticism.
o G Shawn Lauvao, Washington – Lauvao split his first NFL seasons between the Browns (2010-13) and Redskins (2014-17) and has been a solid performer. Injuries have been an issue in recent years.
o C Ryan Jensen, Baltimore – A 2014 sixth-round from Colorado State-Pueblo, Jensen had a breakout season in 2017 when he started every game at center.
o G Alex Boone, Arizona – An unusually tall guard at 6-8, Boone has started 86 games in eight NFL seasons. He played for three different teams (49ers, Vikings, Cardinals) the past three years.
o G Matt Slauson, L.A. Chargers – Slauson has been a starter throughout his eight-year NFL career, including the 2015 season with the Bears when Adam Gase was the offensive coordinator.