The Miami Dolphins filled one major offseason need this week by agreeing to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire tight end Julius Thomas. Miami gave the Jaguars a seventh-round draft choice, which isn't a high cost for a probable starter.
Now that tight end is off the board for the Dolphins, here is an updated list of needs for Miami:
No. 1: Linebacker
Analysis: Linebacker was Miami's biggest offseason need from Day 1. The Dolphins need a major makeover that includes two new starters. They were 30th against the run in large part due to poor play at the second level. The good news is Miami has some quality options via free agency (Lawrence Timmons, Zach Brown) and the draft (Jarrad Davis, Tim Williams). Look for Miami's defense to add more physicality at linebacker to build around 2016 leading tackler Kiko Alonso.
No. 2: Guard
Analysis: Similar to the linebacker position, the Dolphins need two new starters at guard. This is a position Miami has struggled to fill in recent years. Last year the team was fortunate to have two converted tackles -- rookie Laremy Tunsil and Jermon Bushrod -- perform well. But Tunsil is moving to his natural position at left tackle next season and Bushrod is an unrestricted free agent. The best route for Miami is to draft one starting guard and find a proven veteran guard in free agency.
No. 3: Defensive end
Analysis: The Dolphins have a Pro Bowler on one side, in defensive end Cameron Wake, who led the team with 11.5 sacks last season. But who will start on the other side? Miami cut Mario Williams after one disappointing season, and 2016 starter Andre Branch is an unrestricted free agent. Re-signing Branch, who had 5.5 sacks last season, isn't a bad option. But Miami may want to examine if it can find an upgrade via the draft or free agency.