Sometimes, first-round picks aren’t rushed into the starting lineup. Take, for instance, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who’s ticketed for a backup role in his first NFL season.
In Miami, however, it looks quite likely that Dolphins first-rounder Ja’Wuan James will get every chance to learn on the job at right tackle in his first NFL season.
After his first day of rookie minicamp Friday, James indicated he was working to “sharpen up” on various teaching points shared by offensive line coach John Benton.
“Coach Benton has taught us a lot of different techniques, changing up stances, changing the first step, things like that. So I wanted to show him that I could do that, and just work on it,” James said, according to a transcript from the Dolphins.
The Dolphins’ rookie minicamp runs through Sunday. Next week, the club begins organized team activities, which will give James all the more opportunity to learn his craft. The mandatory minicamp — the Dolphins’ final organized work of the offseason — is slated for June 17-19.
In short, James and the Dolphins’ other rookies have less than four weeks to get immersed in Miami’s schemes before the summer break.
James’ readiness will be especially key for the Dolphins. If James wasn’t able to hold down the job in his first NFL season, the Dolphins could conceivably add a veteran right tackle like they did last May, when they signed Tyson Clabo. However, that would be a short-term solution. Ideally for Miami, James takes the job and runs with it. Such are the hopes — and expectations, even, in this case — when a first-rounder plays a position needing to be fortified.