The Miami Dolphins are looking for a bargain when it comes to the running backs and that is fine if you are looking for a supplemental runner but the Dolphins want these bargains featured.
The search for mid to late-round runners isn’t working. While it isn’t necessarily harming the team, finding a featured back could allow the Dolphins to put resources elsewhere. Passing on Najee Harris this year and Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor last year would have changed the needs now. Consider that the Dolphins drafted Noah Igbinoghene at pick 30 but could have used that pick on Edwards-Helaire or Taylor.
Franchise running backs are hard to come by anymore. Draft history since 2011 shows how rare first-round running backs are now. 13 running backs have been selected in the first round since 2011. Many are considered to have been busts or average. Trent Richardson, Todd Gurly, Rashaad Penny, and even Leonard Fournette haven’t lived up to the billing.
Josh Jacobs, Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon Barkley, and Christian McCaffrey are the only four elite runners taken with Edwards-Helaire not far behind.
The Dolphins like the rest of the NFL have changed their approach to the position but the Dolphins were a powerful running team with Williams and Brown and since then have fallen into the trap of not making a move to get better and find a longer-term solution at the position.
Javonte Williams, Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, Edwards-Helaire, and Jonathan Taylor are all players that could eliminate the need for running back. Pair those types of players with a mid-round pick or a 7th round running back and your roster is complete.
There are only a handful of players that come through at the position in the draft that are elite prospects and even fewer last until the mid-first or mid-second rounds.
It only takes one top running back to eliminate the need to continually draft runners from rounds four to seven and allow you to draft other areas instead. Miami has spent a lot of draft picks in those rounds since 2011 and really doesn’t have much to show for it.
Maybe next year they will be a little more aggressive in their approach or maybe this is exactly what they want to be.