Friday, May 16, 2008

Dolphins waive C/G Drew Mormino

As it turns out, No. 1 overall pick Jake Long won't have to do any negotiating for No. 77.

In a somewhat surprising move, lineman Drew Mormino was waived/failed physical today. Mormino was drafted by the Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan. He spent all of his rookie season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

I say this is somewhat surprising because despite the fact he spent all of last season on injured reserve, the Dolphins are very thin at the interior offensive line spots and Mormino's versatility at center and guard seemed like a plus. In fact, I'd gone so far as to say this offseason that I thought Mormino was definitely going to be in the mix for the open spot, if not the favorite. While it's always a possibility that Mormino could be brought back when healthy, it seems unlikely given his injury, draft placement and the front office's lack of allegiance to him as a player from the former regime.

Mormino's absence now leaves the Dolphins with even less depth at center and guard. Undrafted free agent Mike Byrne (Delaware) is currently the only other listed center on the roster after starter Samson Satele. At guard beyond guaranteed starter Justin Smiley, you have rookies Shawn Murphy and Donald Thomas in addition to Trey Darilek and Ike Ndukwe. I'm unsure if any of these players have experience at center, but I've yet to see anything to indicate it.

Any way you look at it, Miami is lacking depth at the guard position - especially in experience. While Murphy maybe develop into a solid starter one day, it's unknown whether he'll be able to start from Day 1. The lack of experience and the release of Mormino raise the question of whether Miami is going to consider bringing in a cheap veteran to either start or provide depth just for the 2008 season. It's definitely not something I'd be opposed to, as we already have one rookie on the offensive line in Jake Long and a temporary veteran fix might be the best thing for the immediate future. It is definitely something to keep an eye on as training camp creeps closer.