The NFL Draft is officially two weeks away. Even though the Miami Dolphins don’t have a premium pick in April, they can still add some very intriguing talent. Despite the additions made to help improve the running back room this offseason, I believe the Dolphins should add another young running back to the roster.
The Miami Dolphins have selected a running back in the first 4 rounds only once in the past 5 years, which happened to be Kalen Ballage. The organization has been quite reluctant to invest a premium pick in a ball carrier, which stems from their stance on positional value. General manager Chris Grier believes in the philosophy that many solid RBs can be found in later rounds, or even free agency. While that position looks good, it hasn’t worked for the Dolphins in recent seasons.
Ballage has proven to be a journeyman substitute, Myles Gaskin who was drafted in the 7th round in 2019 is a decent substitute at best, and 7th rounder Gerrid Doaks in 2021, provided no playing time as a rookie. These are all the players the Dolphins have drafted to address the running backs room over the past 5 seasons, now let’s take a look at the long list of RB free agents they’ve taken a hit on leaflet during this period.
Senorise Perry, Brandon Bolden, Frank Gore, De’Lance Turner, Samaje Perine, Mark Walton, Patrick Laird, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Washington, Matt Breida, Salvon Ahmed, Phillip Lindsay, Malcolm Brown and Duke Johnson. The whole roster, and none of those players have ever emerged in the Dolphins’ long-range response in the backfield.
Despite all those hiccups, Grier is rolling the dice once again with the influence of new head coach Mike McDaniel, bringing in two new free agents this offseason in Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. Mostert has experience on offense for the Miami Dolphins, but has serious injury issues. His best season came in 2019 when he rushed for 772 yards and 8 touchdowns. Mostert is one of the fastest players in the NFL and will be an important part of the Dolphins’ zone attack.
Chase Edmonds has been mostly a gimmick since entering the league in 2018, but he recorded a career-high 903 total yards for the Cardinals a season ago. Edmonds bread and butter is the short passing game. He had 713 receiving yards the past 2 seasons, so expect him to be the Dolphins’ 3rd main in 2022.
With these new additions, many believe the Dolphins are good for running. However, I think the team should always invest in a young player when drafted. Mostert has only played a full season once in his 7-year career, and Edmonds missed 5 games a season ago. Leaning on a few players who have an injury history at the NFL’s most physically taxing position is never a good idea.
It’s a safe bet that one of the two will miss an extended time. Are you really confident in Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed to contribute a heavy dose of reach again? Maybe with a better offensive line and a better scheme they work better, but I would much rather see a more talented young man step in and learn behind Mostert and Edmonds, and slowly take the lead role for years to come.
#1James Cook: I love the thought of James Cook in the 4th or 5th round. It fits perfectly with the West Coast Offense and Zone Running Scheme. His strengths are running outside the numbers and catching the football, two things that are very important for RBs in this offense. In addition to his talents on the field, he is also a Dolphins fan! It doesn’t get much better than that. Cook also worked for the team as part of pre-draft training. If he’s on the board when the Miami Dolphins pick day three, I’ll be on the podium.
#2 Dameon Pierce: Another full-back expected to go round 3-5 at Dameon Pierce. In Florida, we didn’t see a ton of running backs because he was heavily underutilized, but he had 16 touchdowns last season. While he doesn’t have great escape velocity, if the Dolphins want a short-range back with good power and excellent pass blocking, Pierce is the guy.
#3Rachaad White: The Arizona State product is another player to watch for the Dolphins on Days 2-3. White is a good size at 6’2 210 and has solid athleticism with a 4.48 dash for 40 yards. White isn’t the best pass blocker and isn’t likely to get through defenders, but a solid option for the Dolphins who can bring a versatile, smart runner into the back room.
#4 D’onte Price: Price is one of three running backs who worked for the Dolphins for a pre-draft practice. He is described as a draft that has all the tools to be an effective player but was often inconsistent in college. The Dolphins might be able to get Price in the 6th or 7th round, so if they saw something they liked during practice, maybe the Dolphins will take a flyer on him.
#5 Cam’Ron Harris: Another guard brought in by the Dolphins for a practice session was UM player Cam’Ron Harris. Harris is a very sneaky back who can often be difficult to bring down. He’ll likely still be available by the end of Day 3, and another local guy the Dolphins can add.
PREDICTION: Will Chris Grier draft a running back?
I believe the Miami Dolphins will draft a running back in the 2022 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be my beloved James Cook, or a Day 2 pick. My best guess is that Grier and the company will select an RB in the 6th or 7th round, which he has done consistently for the past two years.
I know Grier isn’t much of a fan of drafting running backs, and I know Mike McDaniel is infamous for getting the most out of signed running backs on the streets. I think that approach will stay the same and McDaniel will try to work his magic on a project again.