MIAMI – When Miami Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel was signed in February 2022, the consensus being that he would bring similar success in the running game to that San Francisco 49ers were well known during his five years in the Bay Area.
Still, the Dolphins ranked 25th in both rushing yards and rush attempts per game last season, but that wasn’t necessarily down to their staffing; At least that’s what their promotions say this offseason. The team re-signed their entire running backs room, including lead rushers Raheem Mostertsecond leading rusher jeff wilson, Salvon Ahmed And Myles Gaskin.
McDaniel claimed responsibility for the lack of on-site production during the league’s annual meeting in Arizona last month while offering an explanation
“We had the opportunity to bring in Raheem and Jeff, two of our strongest character contributors – and truly players – that we depend on,” said McDaniel. “They’re both, I think, over 4.7 yards per carry, and looking at the tape, I think there would be a little bit of a different feel if … we didn’t run the ball, not because you did.” not running the ball well. We didn’t run the ball well in games where we were overly injured, or in some games I just didn’t call enough runs.
“So if you look at it historically, if you can get a runner 4.5 plus, they’re doing something pretty good. I see them as a big part of our team and just the material and who we are as people; They really add to this dressing room. I’m really excited to get these guys and I honestly think they’re playing the best ball of their career.
All compliments to Mostert and Wilson aside, there’s room for the Dolphins to add another runner through this month’s draft – but they have little capital to do so.
Miami owns the numbers 51, 84, 197, and 238 in the second, third, sixth, and seventh rounds, respectively. The undisputed best running back in this year’s class is Texas. Bijan Robinson, he’s obviously out of reach of the dolphins. Alabama Jahmyr Gibbs might be an option but probably won’t make it to pick 51.
“I think we’re going to be talking about running backs throughout the draft,” said Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s senior draft analyst. “There are really good players who maybe should have gone a few laps earlier. That’s not going to happen with Gibbs.”
Kiper listed Tulane’s Tyjae SpearsUABs DeWayne McBride and Pittsburgh’s Israel Abanikananda As potential options, the Dolphins could add 84, and he pointed to Kansas City Isiah Pacheco and San Francisco’s Elijah Mitchell as the latest examples of late-round running backs finding early success in the NFL.
ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid said Gibbs would be a “home run” that would fit into the Dolphins’ outer zone scheme, but agreed with Kiper that he probably won’t fall on them – and given the talent available, it’s worth it not, nor to trade for it.
“Because it’s such an intense running back class, I feel like you don’t have to take a running back early just because there are so many guys you can find that go with this outside zone scheme fit,” Reid said. “You have one more pick at 84th overall. There are a lot of people who I think can add value with this choice.
“Even if the guy they want isn’t on the board at 51, I think if they wait until 84, that’s probably the best case scenario for them — taking on one of those running backs in this draft class. So I don’t think they need to force the election to run back at 51.
Running back is not the predominant need of dolphins; Tight end and linebackers are both bigger problem areas. But if general manager Chris Grier decides to draft a running back before the seventh round for the first time since 2016, there are several options.