Many felt the first former Wisconsin Badgers standout to be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft would be some offensive lineman. That came true on Day 2 in the third round when Michael Deiter heard his named called as one of the newest Miami Dolphins.
An unmistakable presence on the Badgers’ offensive line the past four seasons, Deiter should continue Wisconsin’s legacy of producing starting-caliber linemen at the next level. That includes likely being called upon to protect new Miami quarterback Josh Rosen.
Two Badgers in one draft? Miami is becoming Madison south, amirite? (No, no I am not.) Overall, and for any fans that cheer for both Wisconsin and the NFL franchise, how do you feel about the Dolphins’ draft overall and the pick of Deiter specifically?
The Dolphins really seem to like the Big Ten lately, with Ohio State and Wisconsin leading the way, but there are also players from Penn State and Maryland drafted by the team in the past few years. I thought this year’s draft for the Dolphins was a really solid one. I know that does not sound sexy, but that is exactly what the team needed. The Dolphins are starting a rebuild process, resetting the team after years of coaches and front office executives throwing band-aids on the roster and expecting to win right now. The focus for the franchise is now on not winning just one year, but setting up the club for sustained winning, and that is starting with a youth movement. With players like Deiter joining the club, this Draft game Miami exactly what they needed to build the foundation of the club and set them up for the sexy Draft in 2020.
Deiter should come in and immediately claim a starting spot on the offensive line, likely at left guard. That is not to say there will not be competition, especially if Isaac Asiata, a 2017 fifth-round pick, can prove he has grown into the NFL and is ready to contribute, but I think Deiter is likely seen as a starter from day one, unless he does something this summer to disrupt that plan.
Specifically looking at the offense, what type of schemes will be run in Miami under new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea? How could that potentially impact where Deiter will be initially placed on the offensive line?
I think the Dolphins will lean on the run game more than maybe some of the other teams in the league, especially with the selection of Auburn fullback Chadler Cox in the seventh round. While he has the versatility to play in multiple positions, the Dolphins selecting a fullback signals a commitment to get that lead blocker on the field in front of Kenyan Darke and Kalen Ballage. I do think the Dolphins will still be a pass-first offense—because all of football is pass first—but I do see the team having a heavier reliance on the run than maybe the league average, and I think they will be looking for the offensive line, especially in the interior, to be able to open up hole and create space for Drake and Ballage.
I think that should play perfectly into Deiter’s role. Wisconsin’s pro-style running game should have prepared Deiter for the NFL and the Dolphins will be wise to utilize that to get their rookie lineman the confidence he will need for success. Playing next to Laremy Tunsil should help as well, with Tunsil able to play out on an island by himself, keeping Deiter from needing to worry about assisting Tunsil in pass protection.
Was the offensive line a priority in the draft, or was the drafting of Deiter in your opinion the best on the available board for the Dolphins?
Offensive line had to be a priority, simply because the Dolphins have not had an effective offensive line—due to injuries and poor play—over the past several years, and they saw a really strong right tackle, Ja’Wuan James, leave in free agency. Guard and right tackle were the top needs on the line, with left tackle locked down by Tunsil and Daniel Kilgore likely returning at center. Jesse Davis seems to be the right guard, though he could slide out to right tackle. Deiter may have been the player that fit both need and best player available for Miami, but offensive line was definitely a need heading into the draft.
Where do you see Deiter potentially fitting overall on the line when all is said and done, and does he have the chance to start his rookie season?
I think left guard makes the most sense, and I do think he is a day-one starter for the team. I am hoping Asiata is able to challenge for the role, but I think it is Deiter’s when the regular season arrives.