Following the 2011 season, the Miami Dolphins focus shifted hard at the running back position and they became enamored with mid-round talent.
Over the course of the following seven seasons, the Dolphins would draft five running backs in the middle rounds of the draft. The highest-drafted player would be Kenyan Drake in round three of the 2016 draft.
Miami drafted two players in round four, two in round five, and one in round three. In 2014 and 2017, the Dolphins wouldn’t draft a running back at all.
A problem for the Dolphins is starting to emerge. At first, the shift in focus works out well. Miami would get a lot of production from Lamar Miller and Kenyan Drake as well.
Mike Gillislee lasted one year in Miami and only five years in the NFL after being drafted in round five during the 2013 draft. Taken in the 4th round in 2018, Kalen Ballage lasted two seasons with Miami.
Miami’s 3rd round running back, Kenyan Drake was playing very well for the Dolphins but was traded in his 4th season to the Cardinals. He was in his final contract year and Miami didn’t expect to keep him. This was a similar case for Lamar Miller. While Miller wasn’t traded, the Dolphins made no real effort to re-sign him after his 4th and final year.
Finally, Jay Ajayi was a 2015 5th round pick and during his third season, he was traded to the Eagles because he and Adam Gase butted heads. He was coming off a 1,272-yard season in 2016 and a Pro Bowl appearance. He didn’t do much after he left Miami.