With the NFL Draft less than 3 weeks away, the excitement of how this team could look is only building. Specifically, the Dolphins are in position to provide an infusion of talent into this roster which may pay dividends for the next chapter of this franchise. Most of the talk is surrounding the Quarterback position – for good reason.
However, the Dolphins are in dire need of help in the backfield in order to give their future signal caller a chance at success. The Dolphins have struggled to find their franchise running back for the past few seasons. Although the idea of a “franchise” running back is still up for debate, with many feeling that they have gone extinct in the modern NFL, having a dynamic ball carrier who can help in a multitude of ways is still pivotal in having a potent offensive attack. Some teams choose to do this with a premiere talent (See the Giants with Saquon, Saints with Kamara, or Cowboys with Zeke), while others prefer a committee approach.
Knowing what we do from this staff and their roots, the latter feels far more likely. Miami will not and should not spend significant capital, either financially or in the draft, to address this position. The Dolphins already bolstered the unit with the signing of former Pro Bowler Jordan Howard. Howard has all the tools to be a first and second down back who can not only bang between the tackles and gain tough yards while wearing out the defense, but also help in pass protection. However, he cannot be a weapon on every down. Early in his career he was used in the passing game, but his recent years have shown a durability issue which the Dolphins must be weary of. Moreover, Howard is not twitchy.
Jordan Howard is a physical runner who cannot outrun an athletic safety to the edge on a 3rd and 6. He is far more likely to make a 4 yard catch and barrel into that safety for 3 yards. Relying on him in space is not this offense’s best move, both in terms of physical health as well as playmaking. The other runners on the roster do not complement Howard’s skill set and it is clear that the Dolphins must look to address that (The jury is still out on Gaskin in my opinion). Both Ballage and Laird have some talent and potential, but Howard is frankly a superior version of both.
Thankfully, there are some options in this year’s draft which could help Miami solve this problem. The two popular names tied to the Phins are D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins. Swift would likely have to be taken by Miami with their 26th selection, while Dobbins would be a second rounder. These are too high for the Dolphins to select a position which has value further in the draft when there are more pressing needs. Instead, look for Miami to find their complement back in the later rounds, around 4-6. Unless Miami finds great value, such as Dobbins in the 3rd, they are far better suited to bring in boom or bust prospects who have shown ability as runners as well as receivers.
Competition has always been preached by Coach Flores, and the same goes for the running back position. Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin showed enough to not be given up on, and the addition of Howard only upgrades the unit. Rather than spending a valuable asset on a big name early in the draft, the Dolphins will likely wait for a steal in the later rounds.
Who would you want the Dolphins to nab in this upcoming draft? Is the running back position a big need in your opinion or should the team find a solution elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below.