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Dolphins guard Jamil Douglas: Starting 'a big goal'

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins rookie Jamil Douglas is a fourth-round pick with a first-round mentality. In Douglas' mind, he is the long-term solution to the major question mark the Dolphins currently have at guard.

Miami has not one but two openings at guard. Douglas is one of four players competing for two jobs on the Dolphins' offensive line.

Douglas has the best chance to start of any rookie in Miami's draft class. The fourth-round pick is healthy and sharing reps with the first team at both left and right guard.

"It's definitely a big goal," Douglas said. "But at the same time, that goal has to come when the coaches feel that it's time for me to do that. I want them to feel comfortable putting me in the game and trusting me to be able to play throughout the game. So it's just something that I have to keep working and getting better at each and every day."

The Dolphins definitely need someone to step up. Ryan Tannehill is the most sacked quarterback (139) since 2012, and early indications in training camp suggest pass protection could be an issue.

Douglas, Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jeff Linkenbach all had their struggles against Miami's defensive line. There has been plenty of speculation that Miami could search for outside help, particularly Pro Bowl free-agent guard Evan Mathis.

But Douglas believes the guards in-house are good enough for the Dolphins this season.

"Definitely, I wouldn't count myself out," Douglas said. "So I definitely want to prove to them that we're here to get the job done. But that's out of my control."

Douglas has plenty of potential. But can the rookie grow fast enough this summer to become a Week 1 starter?

Douglas has shown promise but admits he can do better, especially with pass protection.

"Definitely keeping the depth in the pocket," Douglas said. "I feel like I've been giving up too much depth going against guys like Earl [Mitchell]. I gotta sink on the bull rush. That and tightening up footwork, making sure I don't get too far out of my base to keep me in a powerful position."