|Second-year tackle Jonathan Martin. (Photo: Bleacher Report)|
A former All-American by a number of publications at Stanford, Martin was taken by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Martin struggled at times last season, but has put on weight and will arrive at camp around 310 pounds. He has excellent feet, but the added weight should benefit him and the Dolphins not only in pass protection, but in the ground game as well.
What makes Martin most important is that he will be tasked with protecting second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blindside. Tannehill was sacked 35 times a season ago, which was tied for eighth most in the NFL. Tannehill also had nine fumbles a year ago with the majority of them coming on sacks.
Protecting Tannehill will be Martin's top concern and the Dolphins should feel pretty good about him on the left side. He wasn't an All-American at Stanford for nothing and was an intricate part of one of the most successful eras in the history of Stanford football. The simple fact that he played his college ball at Stanford also says something about his intellect.
|Center Mike Pouncey. (Photo: MiamiDolphins.com)|
In two seasons with the Dolphins, Pouncey has played in and started all 32 games. With a 305-pound frame, Pouncey is a very mobile offensive lineman and a very good athlete. Although he struggled with it in college at Florida, he has been a consistent snapper as well and has shown little weakness anywhere.
With there being plenty of concern at the right guard position, Pouncey will have to excel in the middle, particularly in short yardage situations. Since he's been with the Dolphins, Miami has been a much better running team. In 2010, the year prior to drafting Pouncey, Miami was 30th in the league in yards-per-carry. In his rookie season of 2011, the Dolphins improved to 15th before finishing 17th last season.
The Miami Dolphins look to have a much improved offense all around this season, but it will all begin with the offensive line. If Martin can make significant improvements as most around the Dolphins' organization believes he will, Miami won't miss Jake Long all that much as 2012 was Long's worst season since being taken first overall in 2008. But with Long gone, the offensive line has a new cornerstone in center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey has proven himself to be a Pro Bowl caliber center and since drafting him, the Dolphins have been much improved in the run game which looks to be the Dolphins' biggest concern in 2013.
Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook!