Miami Dolphins Training Camp Preview: Patrick Laird

Patrick Laird has a battle ahead to make the 2020 Miami Dolphins.

When the Miami Dolphins take the field, Patrick Laird may not find an easy road to the final 53 man roster.

What do you do when your team signs a veteran free agent (Jordan Howard) and trades for a highly productive back Matt Breida during the draft?  How you respond to the crowded backfield could make the difference between making the final 53 man roster or getting cut.

Patrick Laird is coming off a 2019 season where he got 290 offensive snaps.  That’s more than any other running back on the roster last year.  However, he only averaged 2.7 yards per carry on his 62 rushing attempts.

Was that solely because of a horrible offensive line that was constantly shuffled last season?  Or does Laird lack either the burst or vision to find rushing lanes between the tackles?  Time will tell.  Where Laird did more of his damage was as a receiver out of the backfield.  Of his 23 receptions last year, 13 went for first downs.

Will Laird be given the opportunity to continue his growth?

Barring injury, the additions of Breida and Howard mean that Laird will need to do more with fewer opportunities.  Does he beat out players like Malcolm Perry and Kallen Ballage for the 3rd running back spot?

In this writer’s opinion, Laird will not be used heavily in Chan Gailey’s spread offense but he will make the final 53 man roster because of his experience on special teams.  Laird was one of only 7 players last year that participated on more than 50 percent of the Dolphins special teams snaps.

Of those six players other players, only linebackers Vince Biegel and Sam Eguavoen and tight end Durham Smythe are still with the team.  That makes Laird a ‘veteran’ special teams contributor and a valuable piece going forward for the 2020 Dolphins.