Nov 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles running back Andre Williams (44) scores a touchdown against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the fourth quarter at Alumni Stadium. The Eagles won 38-21. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins Could Select Running Back in Draft

Sep 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Despite recently signing RB Knowshon Moreno to a deal, the Miami Dolphins are seemingly still open to adding more talent to the running back stable the team already has. Along with Moreno Miami also has third-year RB Lamar Miller, fourth-year RB Daniel Thomas, and second-year RB Mike Gillislee.

Last season, the trio of Miller-Thomas-Gillislee gained 1,136 yards on 292 carries, which is a decent 3.9 yard per carry average. The trio ran behind a mediocre offensive line which surrendered the most sacks throughout the entire league at 58. Did I mention that Mike Sherman was also calling the plays?

Adding Moreno to the mix is definitely a start, along with adding a stalwart left tackle in Branden Albert, a decent guard in Shelley Smith, and some depth with T/G Jason Fox, a former Miami Hurricane.

But is the problem the backs? Or is the true issue the offensive line woes?

Miller was the clear cut favorite out of training camp last year, but struggled at times finding little room and struggling to hold on to the football at key moments. Thomas, on the other hand, was supposed to be the short-yardage back. That idea didn’t last too long. Neither player had a chance to stay consistent and impress on a regular basis due to the lack of blocking up front.

Let’s skip the Thomas talk and shoot straight for the Miller conversation. I had a knowledgeable fan ask me, “Is Lamar Miller the real deal or is Miami looking for an upgrade?” I had to think about it for awhile.

Miller, who possesses the speed to run away from anyone at this level, really lacks the ideal frame for an NFL running back, but has the upside to become a true number one back. The former Miami Hurricane took a step forward last season, but was never able to produce on a consistent basis. He struggles with vision, ball security, and elusiveness. On the other hand, Miller has the speed to kill at this level, which makes him a threat every time he touches the football.

New offensive coordinator (I love saying that) Bill Lazor will likely attempt to get Miller the ball in a variety of ways this season to get him into the open field, which will allow his speed to take over. Think of what Philadelphia did last year with LeSean McCoy. The team made him the focal point of their offense feeding him the ball out of the back field on hand-offs and quick screen/swing passes. Miller can provide a similar skill set for Miami’s offense if used properly.

Where does Moreno factor in? Moreno will likely be the team’s third-down back and pass pro back, which is his specialty. Moreno will be the thunder to Miller’s lightning. I would expect the carries to be split similar to the way they were last season between Miller and Thomas. That being said, Miller will not be handed the starting gig. He will have to earn it by beating Moreno, Thomas, Gillislee, and anyone else the team brings in for that number one back role.


Nov 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles running back Andre Williams (44) scores a touchdown against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the fourth quarter at Alumni Stadium. The Eagles won 38-21. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Is Miami interested in drafting a running back this year? The consensus thought is that the team will be open to drafting a running back if the value is there when they are on the clock. A few backs that Miami is interested in are Auburn’s Tre Mason, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, LSU’s Jeremy Hill, Boston College’s Andre Williams, Towson’s Terrance West, FSU’s Devonta Freeman, and could be interested in backs such as Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Georgia Southern’s Jerrick McKinnon, FSU’s James Wilder Jr., UCF’s Storm Johnson (who played a season at U of M with Miller) and Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney.

The team is clearly interested in adding a bigger, bruising style running back who possesses #1 back potential (which is why you see names such as Mason, Freeman, and such on there). Hyde and Hill are two interesting players who could be had in the second or early third round. Both possess the ability to be a #1 bell-cow, but they both have question marks about speed, mental drive, weight, and off-the-field concerns. Hyde would probably be the top choice out of the list as he possesses clear #1 back capabilities and would be a nice selection at 50 if he remains on the board (that is if Jarvis Landry and Tiny Richardson are both gone).

Williams and West are two others who interest me on the list of confirmed backs Miami has interest in. Williams, who lit the college football world on fire last season winning games on his own seemingly for BC, has been compared to Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins in that he runs pissed off and has the bruiser mentality to his game. West, on the other hand, is a lesser known prospect who is gaining some steam right now. His stock is on the rise and has the body to become a lead back for a team at the next level.

If Miami does not opt to grab one of the top backs this year, look for the team to select one in the 2015 Draft, which is absolutely loaded with #1 backs, that is if they do not find their guy this season (Miller, Gillislee, Moreno, Thomas (HA), or a rookie).

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  • Johnny

    I like Hill from LSU to team up a 1 2 punch with Miller… I don’t know why you say Miller’s isn’t NFL??? Lamar Miller is 5’10 (perfect) and 218lbs.. Maybe he can out in 5-10 lbs.. But he is basically NFL size… Hill is a bruiser and Miller is the speedster… Plus Hill has a few off the field issues, which will probably cost him a round or 2… He might be available in the 5th… Moreno will prove to a product of Manning’s Offense with Defenses not loading the box.. IMO.. Miller is the future.. But would also like a complimentary RB in this years draft.. OH YEH, AND AN OFFENSIVE LINE!!!!

    • TylerMcMullen

      The improvement in terms of talent along the offensive line will go a long way in proving Miller can handle the load. I think he can, in fact I know he can. Has doubters, but they’ll be proved wrong. I would like Hill, though. Perfect compliment.

      • Johnny

        Yes Sir.. It ALL starts up front with the OLine.. And no more predictable Go-Go play calling.. Miller showed flashes.. But one game he’s have 12 carries, then the next he’s have 4 carries.. Terrible play calling, Terrible OLine, and did not utilize Miller to his capabilities… I think other then re-signing Grimes, firing Sherman was the best move of the offseason so far..

        • TylerMcMullen

          LOL that was my point. Let’s see what Lazor can get out of Miller with an improved offensive line.

  • Eric Roddy

    It is not a matter of if they will or not, it is a matter of WHEN in the draft! Hopefully no earlier than round 4…

    • TylerMcMullen

      I’ll flip my lid unless it’s Hyde at 50 because Tiny and Jarvis are gone or it’s Hill at 81 because there is nothing better.

  • Jcartwright67

    I’m hoping we don’t draft a RB. I’d rather take a chance on a best available OL or LB in the later rounds. We have serviceable RB’s on the roster currently and moderate depth behind them. Sherman was not effective as it relates to game planning, optimizing skill sets, and adjusting at half time. I think Lazor will leave us feeling a lot more confident about our RB’s by mid season. I don’t watch college football so I’m a terrible evaluator, thus, the draft is mostly a mystery to me past the first and second round. Unfortunately for my Dolphins, and based upon current roster wants and needs…the draft has been a mystery to our front office too. It would be nice to reflect back on this draft in a few years as the start of our dynasty.

    • TylerMcMullen

      I don’t want a back high unless it’s Hyde at 50, but the stars would have to align for that. Would much rather grab Mosley at 19 and Richardson at 50, then maybe grab a back in round 4?

  • John Smith

    OL, OL, and more OL, maybe a tight end and back to OL. end of draft

    • TylerMcMullen

      Love it, John! Perfect plan! Except we need an ILB :)

    • tpl

      Yes! Trade out of the first round for more picks.

      • TylerMcMullen

        Not even out of the first round, tpl! Just work a trade with either Cleveland or San Francisco. Hell, maybe Carolina wants to move up in front of Philly to grab a Cooks, Lee, Beckham, etc.

  • tpl

    I am hoping its either hyde, hill, williams or west. I’ll do cartwheels if its hyde!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Don’t steal my thunder, tpl! :)

  • jeremy161616

    I really don’t get the point of making more problems than already exist. If the teams biggest problem is that of having Daniel Thomas as the third or fourth string running back we’re in great shape. In no way do I think Daniel is the answer, but to throw him out and use a second or third pick to have sit on the bench is really dumb.
    The team has 4 Running Backs. No need to draft another. Spend the extra pick on an extra O-Lineman, a Safety, a QB or a Wide Receiver. Draft one next year!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Indeed, indeed, INDEED! I want one of the guys next year! I’ve been clammering for it ever since we signed Moreno and there has been talk of still drafting a guy! Give Miller another chance to shine and if he doesn’t produce, grab Gurley or Yeldon or Davis or whomever! LOADED draft at RB next year!

  • Patrick Keegan

    We got moreno for a year who can pass block. But Carlos Hyde would be the future.Guy can block, catch and run up the middle. Great pick if we can get him. Also why not draft J.C. Copland outta LSU. He could be our short yardage monster. Technically he is listed as a fullback but the guy is a beast. Run him up the gut. For the first down. Power football at its best.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Ryan Hewitt or Jay Prosch, man! Although I’m fairly certain Copland will be there in round 7 or may even go undrafted, therefore I wouldn’t mind that! Hyde would be the short yardage monster, though :)

  • d_blitz13

    well written tyler, first thing ive seen from you but I will be interested to see future dolphins news from you. Keep it up!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Thank you, sir. Thank you!

  • Gregory Hutchinson

    I want to get some feedback from some of the die hard Dolphin fans concerning the up coming draft. 1st thing is would you be happy, satisfied & it be considered a good draft if we came out of the DRAFT with 4 PLAYERS THAT START FROM DAY ONE, BUT ONLY 4 ??????…..I want you to stay hear with me & ask yourself that question & really give it some thought. I myself believe if you come away with 4 STARTERS FROM A DRAFT YOU HAVE NAILED IT to the point of, if it was graded it would probably be at the least an A+ grade. OK, with that said I want your opion on something I would be trying to do come draft day if I were the GM of the Miami Dolphins. If you remember I said we come out of this draft with 4 GUYS WHO START FROM DAY ONE, wich would be considered a good if not a great draft. Ok, Ok, lets get to my strategy & plan I would be trying to pull here on draft day & I really don’t think I would have much trouble trying to move ahead in the draft & giving up picks because of how deep the draft is & how much the other teams will be willing to go along with the offer to get that extra pick. Well I know by now your already thinking that is just what you shouldn’t be doing in this draft that is deep with GOOD PLAYERS, all though not many GREAT PLAYERS other than them 1st 5 or 6 players wich of course will be gone in the first 5 or 6 picks. Well, you have figured out by now that im trying to trade up instead of trading back but I haven’t told you when all this is to occur. Well, we have 7 picks in this years draft & I ask myself, the coaches & the owner would they consider a draft with 4 DAY ONE STARTERS a good, if not great draft & its a DEFINATE YES BY ALL OF THOSE INVOLVED. So now we are simply trying to come away with 4 STARTERS FROM THIS 2014 NFL DRAFT, NOTHING MORE OR NOTHING LESS..This is the plan that we are entering the draft with, & its not our concern what the other 31 teams intentions are & wether or not they would approve of our draft day plan. Ok, first thing is first, we have got a plan that we have discussed at great lengths & we are all in agreement of IT CAN BE DONE & IT WILL BE DONE come draft day. Remember, we are wanting to add 4 PLAYERS TO OUR ROSTER THAT CAN & SHOULD START FROM DAY ONE. Well, here’s where my draft day plans start to form here & i’ll give you a quick peak into my plan/intentions & they are like this, I have mentioned our intentions of trading up instead of trading back but I begin our draft by doing just the opposite this one time because QB Teddy Bridgewater has fallen all the way to pick (#19) & with the Arizona Cardinals picking next & them being a team who could be interested in drafting a QB the Houston Texans who drafted DE Clowney with the (#1) pick of the draft sends us their 1st pick of the 3rd. rd.(#65) for swapping our pick (#19) for their pick (#33) & they are supposley tickled pink because this was the QB they wanted all along. Now with 2 picks in the 2nd & 3rd rds. & one each in the next 4 rds. this is where im going to make this work or not. One of the things we have noticed in this draft is where it is really deep & where it isn’t & we have noticed the OL & WR position is not only deep but its very deep & the reason I bring this to everyone’s attention is because these are the positions we can let pass by the first couple of times. So how do I make this work ???…Well with the 1st pick of the 2nd rd.(#33) we select OT Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama & we are now at (#50) & we know there will be a starter there, but is it who I want & the position im wanting to fill in this round. Remember, I would like to fill the positions in the first 2 rounds that are not deep & look at rounds 3 & 4 for them positions that are deep & are sure to still have some starters in them rounds even though I went OT with our 1st pick. Ok, we now find ourselves waiting for pick (#50) to come around & it’s this round that we wanted to address a certain position & there have already been a couple of guys from that position already drafted & were not so sure the guy we want will be there at (#50) so by including our 4th rd. pick(#116), we exchange 2nd rd. picks, our (#50) with the Tennessee Titans who hold pick(#42) of the 2nd rd. & we then select TE Troy Niklas from Norte Dame & it was a good thing we did because the word is the NY Giants would have selected him with the very next pick.. That now leads us to the 3rd rd. & pick(#65) & we feel good about where we are at this point in the draft & we feel like we have added two DAY ONE STARTERS as planned. So we find ourselves waiting on pick (#65) & this is also the time in the draft we was looking to add a RB & although there hasn’t been one drafted yet as of pick (#53) in the 2nd. rd. & we are thinking that’s about to change & we believe the 1st back that will be chosen is Carlos Hyde, the back we or in love with so we get OC Bill Lasor on the phone with Chip Kelly of the Eagles & make a trade & move up 11 spots to pick(#54) of rd. two by giving the Eagles our (#65) of rd. three, & our 5th & 6th rd. picks & we select RB Carlos Hyde from Ohio State. Now at pick(#81) of the 3rd rd, we find ourselves moving up again by trading away our last pick(7th. rd.) to the St. Louis Rams by swapping our pick(#81) for their pick(#75) & select ILB Shayne Skov.