Miami still expected to draft a running back after Gore signing

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Running back Frank Gore
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Running back Frank Gore /

The Dolphins had been looking to add some help alongside Kenyan Drake this off-season, and on Thursday they did just that by signing the veteran Frank Gore. In this deep draft class of running backs, however, it’s still expected that Miami will take one at some point in the draft.

Since growing up in South Florida, including playing football at the collegiate level for the University of Miami, Frank Gore has always dreamed of one day playing professionally for the Miami Dolphins. On Thursday, that dream came true when Gore agreed to a one-year deal with the Dolphins. Gore will turn 35 in May so it only makes sense to sign him for the short-term.

After the Dolphins hosted DeMarco Murray this past weekend, signing Gore looks to make more sense for Miami. Gore is nearing the end of his career, and is expected to serve more as a mentor to the younger lead back Kenyan Drake, plus a potential rookie that the Dolphins are expected to draft. The terms of Gore’s deal were not disclosed, but it’s a safe bet to say it’s much cheaper than what Murray is looking for annually. At age 30, Murray is holding on for one more big payday.

Some fans may have preferred the younger Murray over Gore, but Murray is coming off an injury-riddled season. He missed just one game overall, but he was diagnosed with a torn MCL late in the season, giving the Titans reason enough to mold Derrick Henry into their lead back.

It was no secret that the Dolphins were looking to add some running back help for Drake this off-season. Now that Miami has added Gore through free agency, it doesn’t rule out that they won’t address the position in the draft. In fact, it can be expected that they still plan to. The signing of Gore simply means that Miami doesn’t have to draft a running back earlier than they would like.

The Dolphins have addressed their offensive line issues this off-season with the signing of Josh Sitton, and the trade for Daniel Kilgore after parting ways with Mike Pouncey. By also retaining Ja’Wuan James for the year, Miami looks to have their line set for the first time in a long time. Eventually, they will have to address their right tackle position by either extending James to a long-term deal or going another route, but that can be addressed at a later time.

More from Dolphins Draft

The most glaring needs for Miami heading into the draft are linebacker and tight end. Head coach Adam Gase has not had a viable tight end since becoming the coach of the Dolphins although he tried (and failed) to reignite Julius Thomas’ career this past season after the two had history together in Denver. This is a pretty good class of tight ends, and Miami is expected to take one within the first three rounds of the draft. Don’t be surprised if they draft an additional one before the draft is complete either. It’s being claimed that Miami is high on A.J. Derby, who they claimed last season, but we won’t know how true that is until the start of training camp and the preseason.

This draft class is also very deep with linebackers, and it’s a high possibility that the Dolphins will take one with their first round selection. Roquan Smith of Georgia and Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech have been linked as players high on Miami’s big board, and it’s widely expected that the Dolphins would take either player should they fall to them at 11. Even if neither player is available for them by the time they select, it’s a near certainty that Miami will take a linebacker early in the draft. Like tight end, don’t be surprised if Miami adds two linebackers by the time the draft is completed.

The Dolphins drafted Raekwon McMillan last season with their second round pick. McMillan flashed in training camp, but unfortunately, he never got to showcase his talent for the Dolphins last season after tearing his ACL in Miami’s first preseason game. Expectations for McMillan will be high come this season, but the truth is, we don’t yet know what we’re getting from him as a player. It is best for the Dolphins to start stockpiling linebackers where they don’t possess a lot of depth.

The signing of Gore opens up those possibilities for Miami to focus on tight end and linebacker early in the draft, and not come off desperate for a running back earlier than they would like. With eight selections currently in the upcoming draft, it would come as a surprise if they did not draft a running back at all. My prediction is that they will find one on Day 3, in probably the 4th or 5th round, to groom for the future.

Adding Gore will only help that player’s future as Gore has had an industrious career over 13 seasons, and is one of the most underappreciated players at his position. Rushing for over 14,000 yards in his career, Gore is an eventual Hall-of-Famer. Any rookie should be honored to be taken under his wing. Gore’s signing indicates that Senorise Perry, the only other running back on Miami’s depth chart, will be cut at some point within the next few months.