Job Review: Guards/Centers

Now that the 2007 Dolphins mercifully is behind us, we try to figure out what went wrong. In this series, we'll examine every position on the team, evaluate performances from this past season and assess the likelihood of each player returning in 2008. This installment features the guards and centers.

REX HADNOT

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

2007 Season: Hadnot was pretty much like the rest of the offensive line, in that he started the season a little slowly, played very well in the middle part, and then struggled a bit down the stretch. Overall, though, it was a pretty good effort by Hadnot.

Will he be back?: That's a good question. Hadnot was quoted late in the season as saying he wanted to check out the free agent market and it might get himself a decent deal from another team. The other issue with Hadnot is he's not the massive offensive lineman that Bill Parcells prefers. So make it less than 50-50 he's back with the team next season.

CORY LEKKERKERKER

Contract status: Restricted free agent

2007 season: Picked up after he was waived by San Diego, Lekkerkerker became the top backup on the offensive line and saw action at tackle and guard. He even started a couple of games at left guard, but was yanked from the lineup after an ill-advised penalty. Overall, he was OK, but nothing special.

Will he be back?: Can't see why not. Lekkerkerker is big and he's versatile. Besides, it's not as though other teams are going to try to get him with a huge contract offer.

CHRIS LIWIENSKI

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

2007 Season: It seemed like the Dolphins were looking for someone else to start at left guard this season, but couldn't find anybody better. Liwienski did a decent job, but he was benched late in the season in favor of Cory Lekkerkerker before replacing him after Lekkerkerker drew a penalty.

Will he be back?: Liwienski is a journeyman who is a good guy to have around for depth purposes. He's not likely to be swamped with offers in free agency, so he conceivably could be back at the right price, although it's not likely he'd remain a starter.

DREW MORMINO

Contract status: Signed through 2010

2007 Season: It was a washout because Mormino was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. This came after Mormino saw some time with the starting unit but struggled in the preseason opener.

Will he be back?: Absolutely. The Dolphins' previous coaching staff thought highly of Mormino's potential.

GENE MRUCZKOWSKI

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

2007 season: Picked up after being waived by New England, Mruczkowski was a backup the whole season and didn't see playing time on offense.

Will he be back?: Maybe. He probably won't get much of an offer on the free agent market, so it will come down to whether the Dolphins think he can help.

IKECHUKU NDUKWE

Contract status: Exclusive-rights free agent

2007 season: Ndukwe was signed off Baltimore's practice squad before the last game of the regular season and was inactive for his one game on the roster.

Will he be back?: Probably, but that doesn't mean he'll make the roster next September.

SAMSON SATELE

Contract status: Signed through 2010

2007 season: Satele became only the fourth rookie offensive lineman in team history to start every game, and for the most part Satele did a solid job. He did slow down a little toward the end of the season, but that had to be expected from a rookie not used to the rigors of a 16-game season.

Will he be back?: Obviously. The only question is whether Satele will remain at center or be moved to guard, where he played in college and where some think he might be able to make a bigger impact for the Dolphin O-line.

JOE TOLEDO

Contract status: Signed through 2009

2007 season: It was another wasted year for Toledo, who has missed both of his NFL seasons because of injuries.

Will he be back?: Sure, because Toledo is under contract and he has potential. Maybe next year we'll get to see just what Toledo can do.

STATE OF THE POSITION

The interior of the Dolphins offensive line could be in line for some big changes, particularly if Rex Hadnot leaves in free agency. In fact, the only sure thing for next season is Samson Satele because everybody else at guard/center was a young unproven player or a journeyman. Look for a lot of big offensive linemen to be added between now and next July.


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