Liam Eichenberg

Dolphins Make Changes On Offensive Line

Trading for 2019 second-round pick Greg Little, the Dolphins continue to shuffle their offensive line group. But they are making more changes among their in-house personnel as well.

They have shifted second-round pick Liam Eichenberg from tackle to guard, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While Dolphins offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre initially said the move was to give the Notre Dame product experience at guard, Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com notes the Dolphins view versatile veteran Jesse Davis as a better option to start at right tackle this season than Eichenberg. Davis, a former UDFA, was the Dolphins’ primary right tackle in 2019. Eichbenberg was an All-American left tackle with the Fighting Irish, starting there for three years.

Eichenberg is working as Miami’s first-string left guard, however. The team’s directions with Davis and Eichenberg have resulted in two starters from last season — Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley — vying for the starting right guard role, Beasley adds. The Dolphins moved Hunt from tackle to guard this offseason. While they have been high on the 2020 second-round pick, viewing him as a possible Pro Bowler inside, the Louisiana product is currently battling for a starting spot in camp.

Additionally, Miami appears to be moving toward giving 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter — a full-time guard starter as a rookie but a backup in 2020 — its starting center position over free agent acquisition Matt Skura, per Beasley. Skura represents a veteran presence on a group that lost D.J. Fluker early in camp, but Davis could end up being the only seasoned starter tabbed to be part of the Dolphins’ O-line in Week 1. Deiter played more games at guard at Wisconsin but was a 16-game center starter with the Big Ten program.

Pro Football Focus ranked the 2020 Miami O-line 28th, and it is possible only one player — left tackle Austin Jackson — will end up in the same position he primarily played last season. The team traded 2020 guard starter Ereck Flowers this offseason as well, and that change may be one of many at this Dolphins position group this year. It will certainly be interesting to see how Miami’s O-line configuration looks come Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign Second-Round Pick Liam Eichenberg

The Dolphins have signed second-round offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg. With Eichenberg inked, the Dolphins have wrapped up their 2021 draft class.

Eichenberg, taken No. 42 overall, served as Notre Dame’s starting left tackle for three seasons. As a pro, he may be ticketed for more work on the interior. Either way, the Dolphins are high on his potential. Initially set to pick at No. 50 overall, the Dolphins packaged it with a 2022 third-rounder to move up and snag Eichenberg.

Here’s the full rundown of the Dolphins’ (totally signed) 2021 class:

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Dolphins Considered Alejandro Villanueva, Rick Wagner, Dennis Kelly For RT Job

The Dolphins have a few young offensive linemen in place to start, but they have multiple veterans vying for jobs as well. Miami recently considered adding at least one other veteran blocker.

Prior to the draft, the Dolphins spoke with longtime Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva about a potential right tackle role, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes. The team also held discussions with veteran right tackle Ricky Wagner, whom the Packers released ahead of free agency, and 2020 Titans right tackle starter Dennis Kelly.

These discussions centered on moving Robert Hunt to guard, where the Dolphins believe the 2020 second-round pick can be a Pro Bowler, Fowler adds. However, the draft may have changed the organization’s plans here. Miami drafted Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame in Round 2. Eichenberg played left tackle primarily for the Fighting Irish, starting three seasons there, but is viewed as a better fight on the right side. With Tua Tagovailoa being a lefty, Eichenberg would retain a blindside role as a pro.

Hunt started 11 games as a rookie, primarily playing right tackle. He started at guard as an underclassman at Louisiana but played right tackle as a junior and senior. Pro Football Focus viewed Hunt as a below-average tackle last season, grading him just outside the top 50 at the position. Miami rosters multiple veterans with versatile NFL pasts as well, in Jesse Davis and D.J. Fluker.

Villanueva opted to sign with the Ravens shortly after the draft; the six-year Pittsburgh left tackle starter is set to take over Baltimore’s right tackle job. Kelly participated in the Broncos’ brigade of right tackle workouts this week, but Denver chose Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming from those. The Titans released Kelly during the legal tampering period; he spent the past five seasons in Tennessee.

Wagner, the Packers’ starting right tackle last season, is expected to retire, Fowler adds. While the former Ravens and Lions right tackle has not announced any retirement plans, this was believed to be a consideration when the Packers cut him three months ago. Wagner, 31, has made 96 pro starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Trade No. 42 To Dolphins; Dolphins Pick OT Liam Eichenberg

Dave Gettleman just can’t stop trading back. After getting dragged this cycle for seemingly never trading down, the Giants GM has now done it in the first and second-rounds. New York has traded the 42nd overall pick to the Dolphins. Miami used the pick on offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg from Notre Dame.

Here’s the breakdown of the trade:

Dolphins Receive

  • No. 42

Giants Receive

  • No. 50
  • 2022 third-rounder

Not a bad deal for the Giants. They got an extra 2022 first-rounder on Thursday, and now picked up a free third-rounder for moving down eight spots. Gettleman is quieting the critics in a hurry.

Eichenberg is continuing what appears to be the start of a run on offensive linemen, as the Bears just drafted Teven Jenkins moments ago. Miami drafted Austin Jackson in the first-round last year to be their left tackle, and now Eichenberg can potentially slide in as the right tackle.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah had Eichenberg going at the end of the first-round, and he had a real chance to go on Day 1. He was first-team All-ACC and a consensus All-American in 2020. He’s got great size, and Miami clearly felt he was going to go in the next few picks if they were willing to give up a third-rounder to move up.