After the Dolphins' late-season collapse, it became pretty obvious that the team has a few holes that need to be filled before the Super Bowl becomes a more legitimate goal. But where do you start?

Coach Dave Wannstedt and senior vice president Rick Spielman mentioned outside linebacker, wide receiver and the offensive line as three areas that need addressing in the offseason.

But from this vantage point, the first choice should be clear.

Outside linebacker.

No question about it. The Dolphins defense was victimized in different ways during the 2002 season, but the problem is most glaring at outside linebacker, where Morlon Greenwood and Derrick Rodgers simply haven't made enough big plays over the past two years.

Rodgers is scheduled to have a cap number of almost $3 million next season, and that's way too much for a guy who doesn't make a lot happen.

In his defense, and that of Greenwood, the Dolphins scheme isn't conducive to the OLBs putting up big numbers, but the Dolphins need more than they've gotten from Greenwood and Rodgers.

Greenwood probably will get another shot because he's young and he has made some progress, but Rodgers has been in the league since 1997 and it's obvious by now that he is what he is — a decent, but totally unspectacular player.

As a backup, he's fine. But as a starter, he comes up short. Particularly if you have Super Bowl aspirations.

The Dolphins need to do whatever they have to this offseason to come up with a first-rate outside linebacker, and free agency probably will be the way to do it.

Nothing will be more important for the Dolphins.

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