Dolphins Draft History: Daniel Thomas

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 09: Daniel Thomas
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 09: Daniel Thomas /

Leading up to the draft, we’re going to take a look back at some of the notable picks by the Dolphins over the years, both good and bad. One of the biggest busts in the past decade for Miami was Daniel Thomas.

Over the past few seasons, the Miami Dolphins have done a good job at finding quality running backs in the mid-to-late rounds. Both Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake have shown to be quality additions at their respective draft positions. In 2011, however, the Dolphins swung for one running back, in particular, and missed terribly.

Miami was looking to add a running back early in the draft after readying themselves rid of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Daniel Thomas was on the Dolphins radar, and they decided that late in round 2 that they weren’t waiting any longer.

What made Thomas such a bust is that the Dolphins traded up to get him. Miami finalized a trade with Washington, sending them their 2011 third-round pick (79th overall), fifth-round pick (146th overall), and their seventh-round pick (217th overall), in return for the Redskins second-round pick (62nd overall), which Miami happily used to take Thomas.

This wasn’t the best draft class for running backs, and may have even led to the short run of drafts where teams started to believe they weren’t worth taking in early rounds. However, there were other options that Miami probably should have gone that would’ve netted better results. For example, the Dolphins could have used the trade to take DeMarco Murray instead, who ended up in Dallas with the 71st overall selection.

Had the Dolphins been more patient, and had not made the deal with Washington, they could’ve even had longtime Patriot, now Titan, Dion Lewis, as late as the fifth round if they wanted, after he fell to the Eagles at 149th overall. There are a handful of other running backs drafted much later that Miami could have had that season that went on to have decent, albeit not great, careers.

Some of those, like Lewis, are still playing at the national level, whereas Thomas has not appeared in a game since 2014. Initially, he was released ahead of the 2014 season, but a season-ending injury to Knowshon Moreno led Miami to bring him back two weeks later. Thomas was signed on by the Chicago Bears in 2015, but failed to make the final 53-man roster. In 2016, the Dolphins brought Thomas back for a third time, but he was released ahead of final roster cuts, and thus eventually, ending his NFL career.

Related Story: Dolphins Draft Memory: Reuben Foster

Thankfully, this seems to be an area that Miami has improved on over the years. We’ll expect them to continue that trend again in a couple weeks. After signing Frank Gore to a one-year deal, the Dolphins will still look to add some quality depth behind their lead back, Drake.

The expectation will again to be somewhere in the mid rounds, where the Dolphins have done a good job at this position. It’s also worth noting that this is a strong draft class of running backs so Miami should have no problem finding a talented back. With a potential rookie looming, running back looks to be a strong position for the Dolphins going into 2018.