WHAT NOW AT TACKLE?

Now that the Dolphins can forget about the idea of being able to sign the Giants' Luke Petitgout or the Steelers' Wayne Gandy, where do they go to find a starting offensive tackle for the 2003 season?

There are four prevailing scenarios being tossed around:

1. The Dolphins go with what they have and use Mark Dixon at left tackle, as they did during the 2002 season.

2. They sign veteran and former Dolphins starter Richmond Webb to handle the position for one year.

3. They trade with the Saints for Saints starter Kyle Turley, who is said to be on the trading block.

4. They stay put and draft an offensive tackle with their second-round pick.

OK, in order of preference here, we'll go 3, 2, 4, 1.

Let us break it down.

Word is Turley can be had for a second-round pick. We say, do it. Remember, this guy was a first-round pick when he came out of San Diego State in 1998.

He was an AP All-Pro in 2000, so he obviously can play. And he's fairly young.

Yes, he's been known to have a temper, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the price is cheap.

Webb also looks like a better alternative than Dixon at this point because he's such a good pass blocker and he probably has another good year left in him.

The least appealing scenario is banking on a second-round draft choice. Yes, Todd Wade became a starter as a rookie after being picked in Round 2, but he's a right tackle, which isn't as difficult or important a position.

The odds of the Dolphins finding someone at No. 49 overall who can maintain a high level of play and keep the line performing are too high for a team with high aspirations.

So we say it again: Go after Turley, and if that doesn't work out, then go after Webb.


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