Predicting the Dolphins’ starting offensive line look like in 2021

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The Miami Dolphins made a significant investment into the offensive line ahead of the 2020 season. Signing Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers was complemented by drafting an additional three rookies in Austin Jackson (No. 18 overall), Robert Hunt (No. 39 overall) and Solomon Kindley (No. 111 overall). By the end of the season, every single starter on the Dolphins’ offensive line came from that influx of talent.

The 2021 season is a little different. The Dolphins are still addressing the offensive line through both free agency and the NFL Draft, but the foundation is still considered laid thanks to the 2020 plan. Gone are both Karras (free agency) and Flowers (traded). But Miami’s offseason additions should be considered a push at worst and at the very best an upgrade in all the spots in question — and when you add in Miami’s anticipated musical chairs game up front, the team should be plenty optimistic about their ability to field and even better group in 2021 from a talent perspective.

And then you factor in player development and things will get interesting for the Dolphins up front rather quickly.

But what is this group going to look like? The only 2020 starter that is expected back in the same exact position as last year is Jackson, who was the No. 18 overall pick in 2020 and started 12 of his 13 games played at left tackle. 2020 right tackle Robert Hunt is reportedly kicking inside to play right guard and 2020 right guard Solomon Kindley is expected to kick over to the left side of the line, where he took snaps last season to spell Flowers late in the year after an injury.

Keeping up?

This tinkering will hopefully provide a better result, especially when you add 2021 free agent additions Matt Skura (center) and D.J. Fluker (guard/tackle) to the mix along with 2021 2nd-round choice Liam Eichenberg. Here’s the current forecast for Miami’s opening day offensive line in 2021:

Left Tackle: Austin Jackson
Left Guard: Solomon Kindley
Center: Matt Skura
Right Guard: Robert Hunt
Right Tackle: Liam Eichenberg OR D.J. Fluker

How well Eichenberg takes to the playbook will determine the combination on the right side of the line, but everything to the left of Hunt feels locked and loaded unless 2019 3rd-round pick Michael Deiter can push Skura in training camp.

Jackson should be better with a year of experience. The same should go for Kindley, who also is returning to the position he played at Georgia on the left side of the line. Skura will need to sort out some 2020 snap issues but he’s a bigger body in the middle, which Miami typically covets up front. And Hunt is expected to be a better guard than he was tackle due to the protection he’ll receive in pass pro. Things are looking up, but we’ll need to see Miami’s tweaks take form before we officially say this offensive line is sorted out for good.

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