The NFL Draft is officially in two weeks. Even though the Miami Dolphins don’t have any premium picks this April, they can still add some very intriguing talent. Despite the additions made to help improve the running back room this off-season, I believe the Dolphins should add one more young running back to the roster.
The Miami Dolphins have selected a running back inside the top 4 rounds just once in the last 5 years, which turned out to be Kalen Ballage. The organization has been pretty reluctant to invest a premium pick in a ball carrier, which stems from their stance on positional value. GM Chris Grier believes in the philosophy that many solid RBs can be found in the later rounds, or even in free agency. Although that stance sounds good, it hasn’t worked out for the Dolphins over the past few seasons.
Ballage turned out to be a journeyman backup, Myles Gaskin who was drafted in the 7th round in 2019 is a decent backup at best, and 2021 7th rounder Gerrid Doaks, provided no playing time as a rookie. Those are all of the players the Dolphins have drafted to address the running back room the past 5 seasons, now let’s take a look at the long list of free agent RBs they took a flyer on during that time period.
Senorise Perry, Brandon Bolden, Frank Gore, De’Lance Turner, Samaje Perine, Mark Walton, Patrick Laird, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Washington, Matt Breida, Salvon Ahmed, Phillip Lindsay, Malcolm Brown, and Duke Johnson. Quite the list, and not one of those players ever emerged into the Dolphins’ long term answer in the backfield.
Despite all of those misses, Grier is rolling the dice once more with the influence of new head coach, Mike McDaniel, bringing in two new free agent backs this off-season in Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. Mostert has experience in the offense the Miami Dolphins will be running but has major injury concerns. His best season came in 2019 when he rushed for 772 yards and 8 touchdowns. Mostert is one of the fastest players in the NFL and will be an important piece of the Dolphins’ zone rushing attack.
Chase Edmonds has been mostly a gadget player since he entered the league in 2018 but had a career-high 903 total yards for the Cardinals a season ago. Edmonds’ bread and butter is the short passing game. He had 713 yards receiving yards the past 2 seasons, so expect him to be the Dolphins’ primary 3rd down back in 2022.
With these new additions, many believe the Dolphins are good at running back. However, I believe the team should still invest in a young player come draft time. Mostert has only played a full season once in his 7-year career, and Edmonds missed 5 games a season ago. Relying on a couple of players who have an injury history playing the most physically tolling position in the NFL is never a smart idea.
The odds are that one of the two will miss extended time. Are you really confident in Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed to contribute a heavy dose of carries again? Maybe with a better offensive line and scheme, they perform better, but I’d much rather see a more talented young guy step in and learn behind Mostert and Edmonds, and slowly take over the main role for years to come.
#1 James Cook: I absolutely love the thought of James Cook in the 4th or 5th round. He fits the West Coast Offense and Zone Running Scheme perfectly. His strengths are running outside the numbers and catching the football, two things that are very important for RBs in this offense. On top of his talents on the field, he’s also a Dolphins fan! It doesn’t get much better than that. Cook also worked out for the team as part of the pre-draft workouts. If he’s on the board when the Miami Dolphins pick on day 3, I’d run to the podium.
#2 Dameon Pierce: Another back supposed to go around the 3rd-5th round in Dameon Pierce. At Florida, we didn’t see a ton of the running back as he was heavily underutilized, but he put up 16 touchdowns last season. Although he doesn’t have great break-away speed, if the Dolphins want a short-yardage back with good power and excellent pass blocking, Pierce is the guy.
#3 Rachaad White: The Arizona State product is another player to watch for the Dolphins on day 2-3. White has good size at 6’2 210, and has solid athleticism with a 4.48 40-yard dash. White isn’t the best pass blocker and isn’t likely to run through defenders, but a solid option for the Dolphins who can bring a versatile and smart runner into the running back room.
#4 D’vonte Price: Price is one of three running backs who worked out for the Dolphins for a pre-draft workout. He’s described as a project that has all the tools to be an effective player but was often inconsistent in college. The Dolphins may be able to get Price in the 6th or 7th round, so if they saw something they liked during their workout maybe the Dolphins take a flyer on him.
#5 Cam’Ron Harris: Another back brought in by the Dolphins for a workout was UM player, Cam’Ron Harris. Harris is a very shifty back that can often be hard to bring down. He most likely will still be available around the end of day 3, and another local guy the Dolphins can add.
PREDICTION: Will Chris Grier draft a running back?
I believe the Miami Dolphins will be drafting a running back in the 2022 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s gonna be my beloved James Cook, or a day 2 selection. My best guess is Grier and company will select a RB in the 6th or 7th round, which he’s routinely done the past couple of years.
I know Grier doesn’t value drafting running backs very much, and I know Mike McDaniel is infamous for getting the most out of running backs signed off the streets. I believe that approach will stay the same, and McDaniel will try to work his magic on a project back once again.