Forrest Lamp in the first round for the Miami Dolphins?
Not as a first option. Nor a second option.
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Sorry, Forrest. Sorry lovers of Forrest who want him drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the first round. Sorry reporters who insist the Dolphins are “locked in” on Lamp in the first round.
The Dolphins are not going into Thursday night’s first round expecting to draft a guard in the first round, per sources who are familiar with Miami’s thinking.
The only way it happens is if multiple other things happen -- meaning multiple other things fail for the Dolphins, including a trade down, and Lamp remains the only viable option at No. 22 overall.
Then maybe Lamp becomes a slim possibility. But barring the collapse of the Dolphins draft board and Western civilization, sources insist picking a guard in the first round is not what Miami wants to do.
The Dolphins’ agenda is to address areas of major and significant greater need. And yes, guard qualifies as a need. But the agenda is also to address positions that make a huge difference in the team’s success week to week.
And guard does not qualify in that regard.
The Dolphins, you see, have adopted the New England Patriots viewpoint that guard is not a position in which one needs to invest heavily to win. Consider the Patriots spent all of $1.54 million in cap space on their three interior linemen last season as they won the Super Bowl.
That teams spends on its quarterback and defensive playmakers, such as cornerbacks. It spends on receivers and offensive tackles.
Not on guards.
The Dolphins are taking that route. And, yes, the Dolphins picked Laremy Tunsil with the No. 13 overall selection in 2016 and he played guard throughout the season. But Tunsil was really a left-tackle-in-waiting. The Dolphins drafted him with an eye on him taking over that cornerstone position.
This year he is slated to do exactly that. Tunsil, like Jonathan Ogden and other past offensive tackles, was allowed to break in as a guard but everyone knew he was drafted to play left tackle.
Forrest Lamp does not project as a left tackle in the NFL. He might not even project as a right tackle although there’s more debate about that.
Speaking of debate, the Dolphins had some healthy debate relative to the guard position the past few weeks, sources say.
None other than owner Stephen Ross is said to have suggested the Dolphins address the guard spot this year as early as the first round. But he was apparently convinced that is not the direction to go by team personnel.
During last week’s pre-draft press conference, general manager Chris Grier spoke of some of the internal debates the Dolphins have had this and other years. This year’s debates definitely included the idea of drafting a guard early.
And apparently one debate involving the idea of picking a guard early got particularly emotional, per one club source.
“The best part of that is, we could sit there and we’ll have where one of us will ... an F-bomb will be dropped,” Grier said, not addressing the one particular guard debate specifically.
“But it is healthy debate. We’re always going to do what’s best for the organization. Truly, it’s egoless. I think most of you know the three of us (Grier, executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum and coach Adam Gase), but we have a lot of debates and we are not afraid to tell each other no and that’s wrong and disagree. I think that’s what makes it work.”
Publicly, it must be stated, the Dolphins are not dismissing the idea of picking a guard. Indeed, Grier, refusing to show any card he’ll hold in his draft night deck, suggested a guard could be in the offing.
“If a guy is a good player and he’s there and we’re comfortable with everything in terms of the football intelligence, the toughness, the passion for the game, we’ll take him,” Grier said. “You always hear, ‘You can always find offensive linemen and guards especially, late in the draft.’ But I think if you pass up on (Pro Football Hall of Fame guard) Larry Allen sitting there in the second round or something because you think you’ll get him later, that’s a huge mistake. Again, you just go through your process and evaluate the players where you think they fit.”
The Dolphins, however, already have a starting guard duo in left guard Ted Larsen and right guard Jermon Bushrod. And Tannenbaum reminded everyone of that immediately after Grier talked of picking a guard.
“Just to add to that,” Tannenbaum said, “one the things we tried to do proactively is we re-signed Jermon Bushrod and signed Ted Larsen, so we wanted to add depth to that position. If the right player is there, including offensive line, we would consider it; but adding those two guys before the draft was important for us.”
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero