Miami Dolphins signed first-round tackle Ja’Wuan James
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) June 19, 2014
The Miami Dolphins have come to terms with their first round pick Ja’Wuan James. The former Tennessee Volunteers’ right tackle was a surprise first round pick in the NFL Draft despite the fact that reports had linked the two parties together about a month before the draft happened. James also went several rounds earlier than his teammate and booked teammate, Antonio Richardson, who was the team’s left tackle.
The Dolphins had a big need along the offensive line after the issues within their locker room only served to exacerbate an area that was already in need of help. James comes in and likely starts at the right tackle spot out of the gate, but he does have the athleticism and ability to play on the left side if they want to go that route at some point in his career.
For the time being, the Dolphins signed Branden Albert to man that spot from the Kansas City Chiefs, so the offensive line should be in substantially better shape than it was a year ago. James was the only lineman selected in the first round that had actually played right tackle in college. Every other lineman selected played left tackle, so while the positions are similar in what they demand, James had actually shown what he can do on that side.
James is a great athlete and has a terrific build to be an NFL tackle, but he needs to be more consistent with his reads as some mental mistakes have caused some inconsistency and missed blocks, which could ultimately be what keeps him on the right side for his career. In addition to protecting Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins also need to get much better in the running game this season if they want to be a threat for the playoffs.