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With offensive line in disarray from bullying scandal, Dolphins seeking help at scouting combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal has created chaos on the offensive line, forcing them to search intently for replacements at the NFL Scouting Combine without a line coach in place.

Offensive line coach Jim Turner was fired Wednesday after an NFL investigation found that he participated in the harassment. The future of several offensive linemen is in question because of the scandal. For that reason -- along with mediocre performance -- the Dolphins likely will need to blend together four new starters.

That isn't easy to do all at once.

"It does take time," Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. "They say consistency brings consistency."

Tackle Jonathan Martin, who accused teammates of bullying, is not expected to return to the Dolphins.

Guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry -- both cited for harassment -- are free agents not expected back in Miami.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie, 35, also is a free agent, as is right tackle Tyson Clabo, who was demoted at one point last season.

Center Mike Pouncey is the line's best player but might be suspended for his part in the bullying.

Miami could seek replacements in the draft or via free agency or trade. Rob Rang, a draft analyst for CBS Sports, said he doesn't recall a team starting more than two rookie offensive linemen.

In 2013, Chicago had four new members of its offensive line, including two rookies. The Bears were 8-8 and ranked No. 3 in the NFL in run blocking but 29th in pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Dolphins could benefit from a deep draft this year and should have several viable options for offensive linemen when they pick at No. 19 on May 8.

Rang projects that the Dolphins will pick Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin. He is undersized at 6-foot-4, 308 pounds but is known as an intelligent player who would be a safe pick. He also could be converted to guard.

"He's one of the most pro-ready linemen in the draft," Rang said. "I think he can be a Pro Bowl guard or a very solid starting left tackle."

Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is also a possibility at No. 19, and he's physically a much different player than Martin.

"He has long arms ... with broad shoulders and a narrow mid-section," Rang said. "He looks like a prototypical left tackle. He doesn't have great speed, so he's going to struggle a little bit against pass rushers. I personally like him better at right tackle."

Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan has been projected as high as the early teens but could drop to Miami. He has been compared to former Dolphins left tackle Jake Long, who also went to Michigan. But Lewan has had off-the-field issues, which could deter a Miami team seeking to clean up its image.

Free agency, which begins next month, will help determine what the Dolphins do in the draft. Miami might be interested in Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert of Kansas City. The Chiefs drafted tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick last year and might not want to spend the money to re-sign Albert.

New Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey said Thursday that he's not even sure the team will keep its zone-blocking scheme under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. That scheme puts a priority on athletic linemen.

"We're going to do a lot of different things under Bill Lazor," Hickey said.

Rang said there are two tackles -- Tennessee's Antonio Richardson and Virginia's Morgan Moses -- who have the upside to go as high as No. 19 but have been inconsistent in college and are projected in the late first or early second round.

There could be some steals later in the draft including University of Florida-turned-Boston College tackle Matt Patchan and North Dakota State tackle Billy Turner, who might be a guard in the NFL.

The Dolphins also have last year's third-round pick, Dallas Thomas, on the roster, although he wasn't productive as a rookie. He is likely best suited at guard.

The Dolphins have plenty of room to improve. They allowed a league-high 28 sacks in 2013 and were 26th in rushing yards.

"When you have a quarterback as athletic as Ryan Tannehill, you don't necessarily need a Hall of Fame left tackle," Rang said. "You just need a guy who's smart."

(c)2014 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

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