2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dolphins draft Tennessee tackle Ja'Wuan James

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-08 23:23

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - New Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey says Tennessee right tackle Ja'Wuan James was the highest-rated player on their draft board when their turn came in the first round Thursday, which made for an easy decision.

Eager to acquire a right tackle, Miami turned down trade offers and selected the 6-foot-6, 311-pound James with the 19th pick.

''We had a couple of calls, but we were excited about picking Ja'Wuan,'' Hickey said. ''We were always targeting him. He was the best player for us. That's the way we valued him.''

The Dolphins passed on a chance to take 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. They opted for a blocker even after four offensive linemen were taken among the first 16 picks.

''Seeing the run on linemen, I was just thinking that was a great opportunity for me,'' said James, who was surprised but pleased to be Miami-bound.

James never missed a game in four seasons at Tennessee and made 49 career starts, a school record for an offensive lineman. He's the first Volunteer offensive lineman taken in the first round since 1991.

''We're really excited about the skill set he brings and the quality person he is,'' Hickey said. ''He played at the highest level, the SEC. We had a conviction.''

''He has the ability to pass-block one on one,'' coach Joe Philbin said. ''That was the No. 1 thing that jumped out at us.''

The Dolphins gave up 58 sacks last year, a franchise record and the most in the NFL. They ranked 26th in rushing and finished last in the league in yards between the tackles.

James said he can help improve those statistics. He was initially projected by some as a third-round pick but said he helped his stock by doing well at his pro day workout.

''I'm a tough, smart offensive lineman,'' he said. ''I pride myself on not making many mistakes, and I bring athleticism to the table.''

Four of the Dolphins' five starters from last year's offensive line have departed. That includes tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito, who were at the center of a bullying scandal that helped to sabotage last season.

James said Dolphins officials discussed the scandal when he visited their complex earlier this year.

''I'm a tough-skinned guy, and when I was down there they expressed that that's not how their locker room is,'' he said. ''That's definitely not going to be a problem at all.''

James watched the draft with his family from their home in Suwanee, Georgia, and didn't attend the event in New York with other first-round prospects.

''I'm not one of those guys that has a camera in his face,'' he said. ''I just like to be around my loved one. This is cool being in at home in my house on my couch.''

The pick was the first in Miami for Hickey. He replaced Jeff Ireland, who departed in part because of his lack of success in recent drafts. Not one of Ireland's nine picks a year ago cracked the starting lineup, and that included overall No. 3 choice Dion Jordan.

James becomes the Dolphins' fourth newcomer in the offensive line. Pro Bowler Branden Albert was signed to play left tackle, and Hickey also acquired veterans Shelley Smith and Jason Fox.

Another lineman in the mix this year will be guard Dallas Thomas, a third-round pick last year and James' former teammate at Tennessee.

James was 8 the last time the Dolphins won a playoff game, in 2000. They haven't had a winning season since 2008, and a December collapse cost them a playoff berth last year, when they finished 8-8.

As a result, Miami still has plenty of needs, including help at linebacker, in the secondary and at receiver. Taking another blocker later in the draft is also a possibility.

''We still feel like there are a lot of good players on the board,'' Hickey said after the first round ended. ''We were just looking at the board and mapping where we are now. There are going to be a lot of good options Friday.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 19 03:43p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered a sprained elbow during the NFC Championship game, according to a source, but should be able to play in the Super Bowl.

Randall CobbJan 19 02:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb said his preference is to re-sign with the team this offseason. 'Of course (I want to be back). I think I've made that [ More ]

Marshawn LynchJan 19 02:13p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch may consider retirement if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lynch has reportedly told people in private that [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 19 01:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder), who is dealing with a dislocated shoulder, said he will play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

LeGarrette BlountJan 19 12:43p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in the team's win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 18 11:13p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, but he said after the win [ More ]

Gary KubiakJan 18 10:02p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will take the Denver Broncos head coaching position, as expected, multiple outlets are reporting Sunday, Jan. 18.

Justin BrittJan 18 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared QB B.J. Daniels, TE Cooper Helfet, DL David King, SS Jeron Johnson, OT Justin Britt, OL Keavon Milton, CB Marcus Burley inactive for Week 20.

Jeff JanisJan 18 01:42p

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Demetri Goodson, RB DuJuan Harris, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo inactive for Week 20.

Andrew LuckJan 18 01:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has been working with the team on a contract extension that could be the richest contract in the NFL, according to a source.

Carson PalmerJan 18 10:22a

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (knee) said he feels great and that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Palmer started jogging [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 17 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (personal) did not make the trip to New England for the AFC Championship game.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group