There was a lot of skepticism and backlash over the announcement that offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil would be forced to move over to guard after spending his entire college career at left tackle. Many were concerned that the move would ultimately impede his development, all for the sake of allowing veteran Branden Albert to stay in place.
One season later, Tunsil has proven his potential as a star-caliber offensive lineman, and now after a pair of trades that ultimately gave Miami a new tight end in Julius Thomas by sending Albert to Jacksonville, Tunsil will return to his old college position at left tackle and protect Tannehill's blindside, which Tunsil admits adds some pressure.
“I am playing the blind side, so it does mean a lot." Tunsil said on Thursday. "I can’t let that get to me. I’m always hard on myself because I’m always trying to perfect every craft that I have.”
But even though Tunsil is back to the position that originally made him a first-round draft pick, Tunsil says he is actually grateful for the time he spent at guard, regardless of the fears of fans and analysts over his overall development as a tackle.
"Playing left guard, I learned a lot." Tunsil said. "It was a different position, different everything. I’m glad I got the opportunity to play (guard) so I could learn the game inside and out. I think the offensive line is the offensive line. Right tackle, left tackle, I think they are all the same. Playing left guard really helped me play left tackle. It helped me play any position on the line, just to know the offensive line in and out. "
Now with the experience at left guard under his belt, Tunsil feels that will help him communicate with whoever will be next to him in 2017, whether it turns out to be rookie Isaac Asiata or one of the veteran linemen.
“I pretty much know what’s going on at left guard." he said. "Like I said, I know the whole offensive line inside out.”
One of the best left tackles to play in the NFL - Jonathan Ogden - was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2013. He too started his career at left guard, and now Tunsil is following in his footsteps. If things turn out the same way, then Miami quarterbacks will feel safe from harm on level that's been unseen since the days of Richmond Webb.
And that of course would be a tremendous help to the Dolphins as they continue their campaign to change the culture in Miami and chase a championship.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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