Mere days after officially trading for him, the Miami Dolphins cut offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, which leaves the 2020 first-round pick’s NFL future very much in doubt.
Wilson was the 29th overall selection in last year’s draft, but appeared in only one game for the Tennessee Titans as a rookie. They’d had enough of him, and Miami was hoping a change of scenery would help former Georgia star.
Isaiah Wilson refused help from Miami Dolphins
Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald reported on Wilson’s release and outlined the circumstances behind his departure from the Dolphins.
“Wilson is said to have refused team efforts to help him to get his life on track, Just in the short time since the Dolphins acquired him for late-round draft compensation, Wilson showed up late for his physical, late for his team orientation and skipped two optional workouts that he had committed to attend.”Miami Herald report on Isaiah Wilson
Listed at 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, Wilson has the prototypical frame to be a phenomenal right tackle and was expected to step in for Tennessee as its long-term answer at the position. The Titans had lost Jack Conklin to the Cleveland Browns in free agency during the 2020 offseason, and managed to land the undeniably talented Wilson as he fell down the draft board.
Unfortunately, things did not pan out well for Wilson in Nashville, as he was arrested this past September on a DUI charge. The 22-year-old appears as though he’s burning through his golden chance to play pro football, much less be the player he was expected to be. His lack of commitment to Miami and swift exit may mark Wilson’s last NFL opportunity.
Given the impressive culture change and turnaround Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has orchestrated since taking the job in 2019, it made sense for the team to take a flier on someone like Wilson. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and now a greater priority must be placed on upgrading the offensive line in front of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Miami Dolphins’ offensive line outlook without Isaiah Wilson
Miami has invested plenty of draft capital in the trenches on offense. Second-year left tackle Austin Jackson was a 2020 first-round selection, and classmate Robert Hunt is expected to start on the right side now that Wilson is out of the picture to compete at that spot.
But with Jackson, Hunt and another sophomore in Solomon Kindley up front, that’s a lot to ask from such inexperienced players.
One move the Dolphins made was landing free-agent center Matt Skura, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. That’s one of the best franchises to be a part of in terms of learning what it takes to build a consistent winner, and Skura brings experience and an understanding of what a winner looks like to Miami.
On the other hand, Skura is coming off a rather woeful 2020 campaign where he ranked 34th out of 36 centers in Pro Football Focus’ grades, so it’s not like Dolphins general manager Chris Grier can avoid addressing the unit from here on out. Skura also had the benefit of playing with great tackles in Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. in Baltimore, which isn’t the case at least right now with the ‘Fins.
With the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Miami is most likely to get a receiver for Tagovailoa to air it out to. The Dolphins also have the 18th pick in Round 1, which could be used on an offensive lineman, too.
The good news is, Grier and the front office have the flexibility in terms of draft capital to still upgrade the o-line. However, maybe trading one of their two second-round picks is the way to land some veteran help to not only protect Tagovailoa, but upgrade a middling rushing attack.