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Tunsil’s growing pains could keep him out of a starting job


DAVIE, FL - JUNE 1: Laremy Tunsil #67 of the Miami Dolphins runs a drill during the team’s OTAs on June 1, 2016 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Laremy Tunsil

Joel Auerbach

Thrilled to have tackle Laremy Tunsil side to No. 13 in the draft but equipped with a pair of starting tackles in Branden Albert and Ja’Wuan James, the Dolphins decided to slide Tunsil inside, where he’d easily win the starting job at left guard over subpar incumbent Dallas Thomas.

It may not be so easy.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explains that Tunsil yielded the No. 1 spot to Thomas late in offseason workouts after Tunsil made enough physical and mental errors to be demoted. At one point, he whiffed on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who ended up with a clear shot at the quarterback.

Whether the demotion lasts after padded practices commence is a different question, but it’s not a surprise that Tunsil needs time to adjust both to a new level of football and a new position.

“We’re in the NFL now,” Tunsil said of his struggles, via Jackson. “The top level of football. Everybody is going to be good. You’ve got to go over that point where you’ve got to be better that everybody. You’ve got to outwork everybody.”

The work continues when the Dolphins open training camp. But here’s the thing Tunsil needs to remember: Thomas will be working hard, too. And Thomas possibly will be motivated to work even harder given that he sees an opportunity to keep the first-round pick on the bench.