Dolphins should take a running back in the draft

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Running back Kenyan Drake
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Running back Kenyan Drake /

Miami will surely be looking this off-season for a player to pair with Kenyan Drake in the backfield. Their best option would be to find one in the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft.

The Miami Dolphins surprised most of us last trade deadline when they dealt Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. While it can be argued (and I will continue to argue) that Miami did not get enough compensation for Ajayi, the move turned out well for both teams. Ajayi’s departure allowed Kenyan Drake to step in the spotlight, and Ajayi went and won a Super Bowl in Philadelphia.

Drake definitely proved that he could thrive as the lead back, but he’s going to need some help heading into 2018. Running back is not a glaring need for Miami, but it’s still a need. The Dolphins are expected to address the position either through free agency or the draft. Miami has already been linked to C.J. Anderson should the Broncos elect to cut the veteran in order to save the team $4.5 million.

Bringing Anderson to Miami makes sense on a lot of levels. The Dolphins already signed Anderson to a deal a couple years back when he was a restricted free agent, but Denver elected to match the offer to keep him as a Bronco. A month ago, Miami signed Denver’s former running backs coach Eric Studesville to the same role. Anderson already has a strong relationship with head coach Adam Gase after Gase’s time spent in Denver. To be reunited with him and Studesville could be a dream scenario for Anderson.

Anderson is a good back, albeit not a great one. He barely recorded his first 1,000-yard season last year, and he needed 245 carries to get there. I’m not against the idea of pairing him with Drake as I do believe the two would create a nice one-two punch, but if anything were to happen to Drake, I’m not totally thrilled at the idea of Anderson taking over as lead back. Not to mention that Anderson would come at a salary cap hit.

Now, signing Anderson would not break the bank by any means, but my thought process is that finding a young player through the draft in the mid-rounds would come much cheaper, and probably be just as effective. Mike Tannenbaum has put the team in a position to where they can create some cap space, but there’s no getting around the fact that they have too much money tied in the wrong areas. This could and is expected by many to lead the team to part ways with Jarvis Landry.

More from Dolphins Draft

Instead of bringing in another veteran through free agency, Miami could do just fine by selecting a running back late in Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft. John Kelly of Tennessee and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama are two of my favorite options for Miami in the later rounds. Kelly is projected as a third or fourth round selection, and Miami has two fourth round picks at their arsenal as we speak. His power and terrific stiff-arm could make him a favorite among Dolphins fans.

Scarbrough would need time to develop, and he’s not an ideal three-down back, but he is a bruiser between the tackles. Both Scarbrough and Drake are familiar with each other from their time at Alabama together. Their styles are not similar, but they could complement each other nicely. The Dolphins have struggled on third and short situations for the past couple of years now. Scarbrough could be that Lousaka Polite type player that the Dolphins have missed for some time now. If Miami is interested, he should be available for them on Day 3.

This draft is deep with running backs, which is why Miami can afford to wait patiently to find one. Kelly would probably be selected somewhere in the second round most years, but the depth of this class has him projected much lower. The situation makes more sense for the Dolphins to take this route instead of throwing money at another player through free agency. There are more important areas where they can do that.