The Miami Dolphins will quite possibly start four offensive linemen who are still on their rookie deals this fall, so saying that they’re ‘young’ is an understatement. Veteran OL D.J. Fluker was signed this offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he was expected to provide some much-needed leadership (96 starts in the NFL since 2013). Unfortunately, his time in South Beach is now over before it ever really had a chance to begin.
A knee scope last week revealed meniscus issues that require surgery, so the Dolphins released Fluker with an injury settlement. The former first-round draft pick was expected to compete for playing time, but was never a lock to be a starter or even make the team without a strong showing in camp. The Dolphins have made it clear that they expect their line play to improve in 2021, and are making a point of emphasizing competition in camp.
Without Fluker in the mix, 26-year-old Jermaine Eluemunor has a much better chance of making the roster now. Eluemunor has played with the Patriots and is a known quantity to the Dolphins coaching staff. The Dolphins also selected Larnel Coleman late in the draft and signed Robert Jones as an undrafted free agent. Second round pick Liam Eichenberg is expected to make the team and compete for snaps, but nothing is guaranteed.
Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley, Michael Deiter, Robert Hunt, and Jesse Davis are expected to make the team without much controversy. Regardless of how things shape up in the next few weeks, this unit will need to improve significantly if the franchise expects quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to take the next step.