Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
When Ja’Wuan James was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the first round and number 19 overall. At the time, many had thought that he was a reach and wasn’t a good pick. Two games into the season though, he’s rated by Pro Football Focus at the fifth best tackle in the league, ahead of the likes of Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Jake Long and countless others. His dominant play hasn’t gone unnoticed by Joe Philbin and they trusted him enough on Sunday to go one-on-one with Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills.
“I would say he spent a fair amount of time one-on-one against him. I thought he played well. I think in both games he’s played pretty well,” Philbin said. “He’s got a lot of things to work on and improve, but again I think if you are going to play offensive tackle in the National Football League, at some point in time, you have to demonstrate the ability you can block a defensive end one-on-one. He certainly wasn’t perfect. He’s got a long way to go, but there are some good pictures on film if you study the tape of him blocking whoever lines up against him. It was encouraging.”
James has also earned the respect of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and he is thankful that James is able to keep him clean for the vast majority of the games so far.
“He’s done a good job. I think last week, the outside guys got tested with two good rushers on the outside there. Most of the day, I didn’t feel any pressure coming from the outside, I was able to step up underneath most of the outside rush. You’ve got to say that those guys on the outside have been doing a good job.”
James has definitely been worthy of a first round pick and has quieted the large majority of the critics who said it was a reach to take him so early. He’ll look to continue his dominance against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and improve his ranking as a tackle in the NFL.