SAN FRANCISCO – In a week when Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Greg Olson wants to move forward, he’s already trying to figure out a way to keep a top quarterback on the roster.
On Monday, Olson made a surprising move when he sent to the Denver Broncos a list of three offensive linemen he felt could be used to help on the Dolphins’ offense: left tackle Branden Albert, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and center Nick Mangold.
That trio is the Dolphins only offensive lineman on the 53-man roster.
In the end, the Dolphins could not find enough players to go along with those three offensive lineman in the 53 man roster.
So, the Broncos traded their third-round pick, which was taken by the Houston Texans in exchange for the Dolphins third-rounder, and drafted offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, a guard from LSU, in the third round.
The Dolphins signed Cooper to the roster on Wednesday and immediately moved him to left tackle.
The Dolphins then cut Cooper and signed Mangold to the 53 Man roster.
The Broncos, who were in the market for a new right tackle in the wake of the departure of Dan Williams, signed Cooper and Mangold on Thursday.
Cooper is projected to be a starter, but Mangold is a potential third-stringer who can provide a little depth at left tackle and could provide some stability at right tackle.
If Cooper and the Dolphins end up with a top-five pick in next year’s NFL draft, they will get the chance to move up in the draft and draft a guard with a lot of upside.
The Broncos will also be able to draft another quarterback in the next two rounds.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Miami Dolphins have some solid talent on the defensive line.
Defensive tackle Cameron Wake is the reigning Pro Bowl defensive lineman, and the team signed defensive end Mario Williams, a three-year veteran, to a one-year deal on Tuesday.
Williams is a versatile player who has been an integral part of the Dolphins offensive line for years.
He’s not the fastest, but he’s very disruptive.
He can tackle, move around the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback.
The other defensive lineman on Miami’s roster, Jordan Phillips, was a Pro Bowler at Auburn and played in the NFC Championship Game with the Denver Chargers.
Phillips was the best player on the Miami defense last year and was a first-team All-Pro last year, but it’s hard to project him as a starter at the next level.
He could end up being a backup or reserve.
If Phillips is an All-Pros, the team will be happy with his performance and will look to get a better defensive player at the draft.
Miami also added defensive tackle Michael Johnson to the practice squad on Tuesday and could bring back defensive tackle Josh James in the future.
The team also re-signed linebacker Jerrell Freeman on Wednesday to a two-year contract.
Freeman was Miami’s third-leading tackler in 2015, and was the Dolphins defensive MVP in 2015.
He missed the entire 2016 season due to an ACL injury and missed all of 2016 with an injury.
Miami drafted James with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
James was a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 and spent the 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers.
He started the first four games of the 2016 regular season and was active for all 16 games in 2016.
Miami’s offensive line will be key for the defense in 2017.
They had a top two offensive line in 2016, but struggled to run the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Miami has a lot to improve in terms of blocking and pass protection and has been struggling in that area of the game.
Miami has some offensive linemen who could be a nice upgrade on the offensive line.
Linebacker Koa Misi and tight end Evan Engram are both former NFL first-round picks who could provide good depth and help fill some of the gaps in Miami’s offensive front.
Miami’s other defensive linemen could be able contribute in different ways on the line, and that could be the difference in Miami getting better in 2017 and potentially in 2018.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at mikekaye.
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