Former 2011 first-round pick Mike Pouncey has had an interesting career with the Miami Dolphins. The three-time Pro Bowler is one of the team’s best players, but he plays for Miami’s most inconsistent unit.
The offensive line was a major weakness for the Dolphins the past several years. It's one of the biggest reasons Miami is in the midst of a seven-season playoff drought.
Miami was ranked 25th in total offense last season in large part due to a struggling and banged up offensive line. The team allowed 45 quarterback sacks last season and an NFL-high 184 sacks since 2012.
With that in mind, Pouncey recently offered goals for his group this season.
“Keep the sacks down. Keep [Ryan] Tannehill on his feet,” Pouncey said during last week's minicamp. “Obviously, we want a 1,000-yard running back. Our ultimate goal is to get to the playoffs and win a championship. If we can accomplish that, we’ll be happy with everything.”
Injuries to Pouncey and offensive tackles Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James exposed Miami’s offensive line for its lack of depth last year. This offseason the team made a point to add plenty of depth and competition in the trenches.
The Dolphins drafted first-round pick Laremy Tunsil, who likely will start at left guard and serve as the team’s backup offensive tackle if Albert or James gets injured. They also signed veterans free agents Jermon Bushrod, Kraig Urbik and Sam Young, who have plenty of starting experience with other teams. That trio joins holdovers such as Jamil Douglas, Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner.
How important is it to protect Tannehill? With the addition of Tunsil, Miami now has four former first-round picks among its starting five on the offensive line.
“Obviously, we feel like we got a lot of talent on [the] offensive line,” Pouncey said. “We feel comfortable about the guys that we got in our room. This will be one of the first years in a long time we’ll have depth going into the season. As long as everyone stays healthy, we look forward to having a good year.”