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Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins Could and Should Draft a Running Back

Andrew Mitchell

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The Miami Dolphins have a nice running back stable on their roster. They have the enigmatic Kenyan Drake and they have former rookie, Kalen Ballage. The two, in theory, should quantify as your projected two starters at the position slated to share time.

However, this is a new regime, a new regime that no doubt has the faith from the fans to utilize Kenyan Drake much more than Adam Gase could ever dream. Also, with Ballage’s effective end to last season, you would think he’s going to get a lot of opportunity to display that and more this upcoming season. My point here is, that none of that matters.

This is Brian Flores and Chad O’Shea. Do I think they see promise with Drake and Ballage? Without a doubt, but it doesn’t mean they won’t want to draft someone that fits their ideology of what they want from the running back position. It’s not a top priority, but it’s more of a need than I think most draftniks realize.

The earliest I could see us add to our backfield would be maybe round 3 but most likely round 4. Below I have listed some potential targets you could see Chris Grier target for the new Miami staff to add to their running back by committee approach. The same approach we have seen over the years in New England. I have listed their height, weight and 40 time.

  1. David Montgomery, Iowa State, 5’10 222lbs, 4.63
  • Montgomery is cannon ball of a runner. He reminds me oddly of Ray Rice or Maurice Jones- Drew with his thick lower half. He isn’t going to break away for long runs, but he is effective as ever in gaining yards after contact and breaking tackles. With that he also has solid hands, 71 catches in 37 career games, out of the backfield so he gives you the flexibility of being in on obvious passing situations. He could easily provide a LeGarrette Blount type of role on this Dolphins roster. Admittedly, I am not sure he will be there in the 3rd

 

  1. Damien Harris, Alabama, 5’10 216lbs, 4.57
  • Damien Harris was a 4-year player from Alabama. He never rushed for less than 875 yards per season and his avg yards per carry over his college career was a vast 5.8. For whatever reason, as long as he was at ‘Bama it always felt as if he never got the shine he deserved. In his senior year he also showed he can catch the ball bringing in 22 catches on the season for 204 yards. The biggest trait that will have Miami’s staff interested is security; Harris had never lost one fumble over the course of his illustrious career. That is something that I’m sure is engrained in Brian Flores’ brain after being with Bill Belichick for all those years. If he’s there Miami may consider him in the 3rd. I think Harris has Nick Chubb potential this upcoming season.

 

  1. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic, 5’8 203, 4.66
  • The man they call “Motor.” Now, as a FAU alum I may be a little biased but also as a lifeloing Hurricanes fan, this guy reminds me of Frank Gore. He’s got that “small” label that follows him around but that does not define him. You don’t get a nickname like “Motor” for going with the flow. He’s finished his career at FAU with 3 straight 1,000 yard season. The negatives to him are his usage at FAU and his lack of receiving ability. Singletary had a lot of use at FAU coming in with 714 carries, that’s a lot. However, for a day 2 or day 3 pick, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s going to give you all they got like Singletary. Assuming Kenyan Drake is our number 1 receiving back, you can pair “Motor” and Ballage as your grind down running backs. As long as his pass protection is up to par, Singletary will find playing time with any team that drafts him.

 

  1. Miles Sanders, Penn St, 5’10 211, 4.49
  • Going off my gut feeling as to what the current Miami staff think they need from the backfield; Miles Sanders is the guy. Will he be there? That’s the biggest question as his combine performance put him on the radar and many draftniks have him shooting up draft boards. Sanders is one of those prospects that does everything really, really well but isn’t a superstar with any one attribute. He’s an elusive runner that can catch the ball out of the backfield with the best of them. He reminds me a lot of James White from New England, he’s old reliable in the sense of catching the ball or pass protecting for your QB. His one issue is fumbling, it’s happened more than you like so you must wonder how much that will matter with his recent rise on draft boards. If Sanders is on the board come round 3 or 4, rest assured I’ll be banging the drum for him.

 

  1. Bryce Love, Stanford, 5’8 200, 4.40 (DNP @ Combine)
  • Bryce Love had one of the worst-case scenarios happen when it comes to a draft prospect. He absolutely killed in 2017 with 2,118 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns, and an 8.1ypc. Then he started breaking down in 2018 with a slew of ankle injuries and ultimately a torn ACL. When healthy and able to get past the line of scrimmage, Love can be one of the most electrifying runners in this class. His main concern for teams is durability. But come the 6th or 7th round, look for Miami to take a risk on him late and see if they can help him reclaim that 2017 form.

Andrew is a lifelong Dolphins’ fan that has a deep passion for sports. He has a Multimedia Journalism Degree from Florida Atlantic University and also has interned for ESPN Radio. For all his opinions and articles you can follow him on Twitter: @mitchpr0

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    JOSE BELLON

    April 4, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    I can see Miami drafting a RB but not in the first 4 rounds we have other big needs DE DT OT OG that should be the priorities

  2. Avatar

    tom gdisis

    April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Jose is Right…Too many other Needs! I’d try an unsigned free agent..

  3. Avatar

    Rich McQuillen

    April 4, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Those guys are all short. It worked for Barry Sanders. I can see why many Mock drafts have no first round running backs this year.

    But why did we not resign Brandon Bolden? He seemed ok.

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Miami Dolphins

Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be a productive team in 2019.

A team meant to lose every game somehow ended up with a 5-11 record; simultaneously sabotaging their draft status and leaving us with a promising future at the same time.

Brian Flores, the former scout, scoured the transaction wire every day in an attempt to uncover potential “acorns” – as one former general manager infamously put it. And with a keen eye for development, his constant shuffling and retooling paid off for him.

You might think a 5-11 team wouldn’t have too many options for a Top 5 list, but the Dolphins were littered with productive “surprises”. Most have promising futures, while some have already solidified themselves as perennial starters.

Take a look at our top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 down below. If you’d like to see who made our list of top 5 most disappointing players of 2019, click here.

5) Davon Godchaux

After two elite seasons, we’ve come to expect nothing less out of Davon Godchaux.

Starting 16 games for the second year in a row, Godchaux has continued to ascend as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Dolphins weren’t so busy staying out of the lime light, Godchaux would be a household name across the nation.

His 52 solo tackles were tied for the most in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. His 2 sacks, 75 total tackles and 7 QB hits are all improvements over his 2018 campaign, which already had fans clamoring to extend the young, former 5th-round pick.

Though some might point to Miami’s overall defensive rushing numbers as a sign that Godchaux (and Christian Wilkins) weren’t good at their jobs, that’s wildly misleading. Godchaux was stout in the middle of the defensive line; inadvertently tasked with absorbing double teams and giving players like Vince Biegel or Jerome Baker room to blitz.

It’s quite possible that Godchaux is lower than he should be on this list, simply because we take his performance for granted.

4) Mike Gesicki

I’m going to hold my hand up high and admit that I thought Mike Gesicki was going to be an absolute bust for the Miami Dolphins.

More-notorious for not staying on his feet than Brian Hartline, Gesicki overcame a (very) rough rookie season and turned into a reliable seam threat for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions, 570 receiving yards (an 11.2 yards-per-reception average) and five touchdowns – the first of his career. He proved to be a mismatch against linebackers; and whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, the Dolphins are going to take advantage each time they see him 1-on-1 against an LB.

Athletic and deceptively quicker than we might realize, Gesicki honed his route running and displayed a much better catch radius than what we saw his rookie year. The image of Brent Grimes wide-eyed after Gesicki went up for a touchdown says more than a thousand words – but if nothing else, it tells us that the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate tight end.

3) Vince Biegel

Vince Biegel came to Miami as a complete afterthought.

The Dolphins traded incumbent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to alleviate cap space in 2020. In return, they received a little-known, former 4th-round pick who was about to play for his third team in 3 years.

For all the grief we’ve given Chris Grier over his scouting, we have to give him a ton of credit for this one. Saying the Saints got fleeced is an understatement.

In 13 games (4 starts) with the Saints, Alonso recorded 31 tackles, 0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 2 QB Hits.

In 15 games (10 starts), Biegel accumulated 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 13 QB Hits and an interception to boot.

Biegel was such a force at linebacker, that Dolphins fans forgot he was going to be a free agent this offseason and just assumed they had him for years to come. Most of us hope the Dolphins find a way to keep Biegel around at a reasonable (yet worthy) price.

The growth he, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker can make with another year together could all together eliminate the need to use assets on a linebacker in the near-future. Especially when the team will get Andrew Van Ginkel back for a full, healthy season.

2) Jerome Baker

Arguably Chris Grier’s best draft pick, Jerome Baker has evolved into one of the best all-around linebackers in the league. You can consider that an overstatement, but his versatility, durability and play-making ability make him a prime candidate to burst into the national spotlight in 2020.

Baker and Eric Rowe were the only players who logged over 1,000 snaps last season (1,079 for Baker, 1,071 for Rowe).

After a rookie season that showed a ton of promise, Baker’s sophomore season ended with 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended and 1 interception. Versatile in coverage, as a spy, diagnosing the run, and when he blitzes, Baker may be the real Swiss-Army knife of this Dolphins’ defense.

The biggest question we now have to ask is: what do the Miami Dolphins do with Jerome Baker? He’s still two years away from free agency, but if his 2020 season is any improvement over what we’ve seen, Baker is going to command A LOT of money when he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Don’t let Baker turn into another Olivier Vernon, Jarvis Landry or Lamar Miller. Pay the talent you successfully scouted and maintain a sense of culture and camaraderie.

Honorable Mentions:

Christian Wilkins:

Christian Wilkins came to the Miami Dolphins with a ton of charisma and a jovial personality unmatched by any top draft pick that came before him.

From the moment the 315lbs linebacker did a split after Clemson won their national championship in 2018, to the time he had Roger Goodell go up for a chest bump after he was drafted, Wilkins was a beloved figure.

But personality can only take you so far, and when the season started Wilkins needed to back up his charity work and infectious smile with the brutality necessary to win at the line of scrimmage. And boy did he live up to it.

Wilkins may not have finished with the most-gaudy numbers, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. For his rookie season, Wilkins totaled 56 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended. He’s caught every pass ever thrown to him (1), and it even resulted in a touchdown.

His 888 total snaps (between defense, special teams and the 2 he accumulated on offense) are noteworthy for a rookie defensive tackle.

The other 1st-round defensive linemen drafted in 2019 finished with:

  • Quinnen Williams (3rd-overall): 577 total snaps
  • Clelin Ferrell (4th): 716 snaps
  • Ed Oliver (9th): 572 snaps
  • Wilkins (13th): 888 snaps
  • Brian Burns (16th): 609 snaps
  • Dexter Lawrence (17th): 866 snaps
  • Jeffery Simmons (19th): 368 snaps
  • Montez Sweat (26th): 817 snaps
  • Jerry Tillery (28th): 436 snaps

The 2019 draft class was stacked on the defensive line, and yet, the Dolphins may have managed to draft the best one of the bunch midway through the round.

Nik Needham:

The Miami Dolphins signed Nik Needham as an undrafted free agent with the hope that he would provide depth for a position group that already featured plenty of expensive and starting-caliber players within it.

Instead, the Dolphins add another commodity to that list.

Competing for playing time with players like Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and a plethora of other roster invitees, Needham had an excellent camp, but found himself just missing the final 53-man roster.

That didn’t stop him from honing his craft and earning a promotion from the practice squad one day before the Dolphins were set to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 6.

Needham went on to start the final 11 games of the season, and ended the year with 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 54 total tackles.

As a rookie cornerback, you’re expected to be picked on, but Needham was bullied by the refs more than he was by opposing quarterbacks. Questionable calls against Needham towards the end of the year put a slight damper on his otherwise stellar season.

Though in the eyes of some Dolphins fans, that erroneous (non-existent) pass interference penalty that was overturned on the final drive during the New York Jets loss was a blessing in disguise.

1) DeVante Parker

It may have taken slightly longer than we originally hoped, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive style highlighted just how elite DeVante Parker can be when you just throw him the damn ball.

Previously marred by the occasional health concern and offensive schemes that didn’t cater to his skillset, Parker was deemed a “bust” by most Dolphins fans. Drafted 14th-overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Parker was expected to transcend the offense. Instead, bubble screens became the focal point for an offense that was littered with deep threat specialists (Parker, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant).

Parker’s recent 4-year, $40m extension is a reward not only for the production Parker put up in 2019, but for the potential Parker still has left in him.

In 16 games this past season (the first time he’s been active for 16 games his entire career), Parker caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his four years prior to 2019, Parker caught a combined 163 passes for 2,217 yards and 9 TDs.

As long as he can stay healthy, and the Dolphins don’t revert back to a scared, anemic offense, you can expect annual 1,000 yard seasons from the team’s #1 receiver.

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NFL Draft

A Miami Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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Tua Tagovailoa 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Miami, Florida (Locked On Dolphins) – Draft season is here. You know that already.

With draft season also comes the massive influx of mock drafts now that the floodgates have opened.

But that isn’t exactly what’s going on here.

There is a mock draft, but I’ve sought help from a different perspective this time.

I have enlisted some of my friends and family members to help put together their ideal draft classes for the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 Draft.

The kicker? They don’t know anything about football.

They aren’t up to date with the Miami Dolphins, either.

But I didn’t send them into the darkness totally blind. I sent them all the link to The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator where they were at least provided with a list of positional needs for the team.

To standardize each mock, I asked all contributors to pick the Dolphins, do seven rounds, use manual mode for their choices, and use The Draft Network’s predictive board.

Let’s see how our first contributor, Person A, did with their mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. D’Andre Swift – RB, Georgia
(1) 26. Grant Delpit – S, LSU
(2) 39. Ross Blacklock – iDL, TCU
(2) 56. Brandon Aiyuk – WR, Arizona State
(3) 70. Cole Kmet – TE, Notre Dame
(5) 135. Nick Coe – Edge, Auburn
(5) 144. Michael Onwenu – iOL, Michigan
(5) 147. Jacob Phillips – LB, LSU
(6) 165. Colby Parkinson – TE, Stanford
(6) 177. Lavert Hill – CB, Michigan
(7) 223. Cole Chewins – OT, Michigan State

I reached out to Person A to ask some questions and get some of their rationale behind the picks (and used the quotes with their permission).

When asked about double-dipping on tight ends, Person A said, “I didn’t realize I needed one from each of the letter combinations until later.”

When asked about their reasoning for waiting until the late rounds to address the offensive line, Person A responded, “I don’t know what the offensive line is, so no, I have no reasoning.”

In response to completing the mock draft, Person A had this to say: “I have no idea what I did, but here’s my list.”

There you have it, folks.

Person B’s mock draft is coming soon…

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Miami Dolphins

Top 5 Most Disappointing Miami Dolphins of 2019

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The entire 2019 season can be disappointing for various reasons.

For one, the Miami Dolphins sported their worst record since their forgettable 2007 season in which they went 1-15.

Although they surprised us with 5 more wins than we expected, the team took themselves out of the running for Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and they potentially need to use all the extra assets they acquired just to move up a couple spots for Tua Tagovailoa.

But season expectations aside, there were plenty of players that became bright spots for 2020, while others have us shaking our head. Below are the top 5 most disappointing Miami Dolphins of 2019:

Click here to see which Miami Dolphins made our top 5 for 2019.

5) Minkah Fitzpatrick

A player has to do something outlandish to warrant a spot on this list after just two games, but that’s exactly where we find Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Sold to us as the ultimate team player and perennial starter that could play more positions than the average fan realized existed, Fitzpatrick was nothing but a dud in 2019.

Frustrated with the way he was utilized, and disappointed that the team was attempting to “tank” (and seemingly waste the early part of his career), Fitzpatrick demanded a trade. Most will say that Fitzpatrick won the battle, as he evolved into a legitimate defensive player of the year candidate, but the Dolphins are in a much-better position to win this war.

If Fitzpatrick is disappointed that the Dolphins are rebuilding, what does he think the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do with Ben Roethlisberger on the verge of retirement?

In the end, the Dolphins received a solid return for a player that wasn’t going to live up to his potential in South Florida, but everything else surrounding Minkah Fitzpatrick’s 2019 saga was dramatic and disappointing to say the least.

4) Charles Harris

This is an evergreen statement that I should just wash, rinse and repeat on an annual basis.

After two disappointing seasons, it’s not that we had too many expectations for Charles Harris, but there was still hope that Brian Flores could come in and turn the former 1st-round pick (22nd-overall) around. Unfortunately, the four-year role player found himself losing snaps to fellow 2017 draftee Taco Charlton (28th-overall).

Charlton’s final stats might indicate he was more-productive, but most of his sacks were clean-up sacks earned by someone else on the defensive line or dictated by tight coverage in the secondary. This isn’t to discourage Charlton’s production, but to show you just how far Harris has fallen.

In the end, Harris’ draft slot (22nd-overall) is the only reason he isn’t as disappointing as Dion Jordan (3rd-overall). For your reference, Harris has been active for 41 games and has accumulated 3.5 sacks while Jordan was active for 26 games and accumulated 3 sacks.

3) Jakeem Grant

It’s not that Jakeem Grant had a bad year, but we expected him to flourish after teasing us with his potential and subsequent contract extension in 2018.

Statistically, 2019 was Grant’s worst season (aside from his rookie year where he accumulated almost nothing). He’s supposed to be a speed threat; however, his 8.6 yards-per-reception last year was lower than DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Allen Hurns. Some of us view Hurns as an afterthought, but his 416 yards last season were only 16 yards less than what Grant has accumulated the past two seasons combined.

Currently, the Miami Dolphins are strong at wide receiver, to the point where Grant is possibly the odd-man out in 2020. Parker, Williams and Hurns may all be higher on the depth chart; add in the potential that Albert Wilson restructures his deal, and Grant becomes a luxury more than a commodity.

2) Reshad Jones

Reshad Jones is another veteran that disappointed us for reasons unrelated to his performance.

If this Dolphins team was able to win 5 games without their two-most expensive players, what could they have accomplished with both of them (Jones and Xavien Howard), Minkah Fitzpatrick, Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and Ryan Tannehill?

Jones’ $17.2m salary cap hit meant the Dolphins used $4.3m in salary cap space for each game Jones was active for last season. He accumulated no turnovers, just 27 total tackles, only 1 pass defended, and allowed multiple touchdowns in coverage. Though I don’t believe Jones is “done”, his performance last year left a lot to be desired.

Dolphins fans absolutely love the hard-hitting, trash-talking safety, but it remains to be seen if he’ll still suit up with the team that originally drafted him for an 11th season. Jones is set to cost $15.6m against the cap in 2020, with a $10.2m dead cap hit attached.

Honorable Mentions:

Cordrea Tankersley:

Hard to fault a guy for tearing his ACL, but Cordrea Tankersley has gone from the most-promising player on the team to a forgotten former 3rd-round pick.

Once projected as a possible 1st-round cornerback, Tankersley fell to the Dolphins in the 3rd-round of the 2017 draft, and Miami capitalized on his availability. His rookie season was promising, and fans felt the team solved their secondary which consisted of Xavien Howard, Tankersley, Bobby McCain and Reshad Jones. Unfortunately, the Dolphins are still searching for an answer opposite Howard.

Since Tankersley has faltered, Minkah Fitzpatrick, McCain, Eric Rowe and others have attempted to man the boundary with minimal success.

Kenyan Drake:

You can pin this one on the offensive coaching staff of 2020, 2019 and everyone else since Kenyan Drake was drafted in 2016.

Given his body build, the speedy running back was never viewed as a full time solution at the position. Misused for his entire career, the Arizona Cardinals identified that they could obtain a good running back at a cheap price and poached Drake from the Dolphins for a 5th-round pick.

The Dolphins stunted Drake’s career enough that the Cardinals probably won’t receive a huge compensatory pick in return if Drake signs with another team (as he probably won’t sign a lucrative enough contract to warrant more than a 6th-round compensatory pick), but you have to wonder if Drake could have been a legitimate solution to the current running back dilemma the Dolphins face.

This is an instance where we aren’t necessarily disappointed at the player themselves, but reminiscing about Drake reminds Dolphins fans that he’s just another player the team couldn’t maximize.

Josh Rosen:

The Miami Dolphins future franchise quarterback may not have received the fairest chance, but he didn’t warrant much of a second chance either.

Outplayed and outsmarted by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen was given the reins for 3 games before coughing it back up to Fitzpatrick. As we come to learn, all Brian Flores wants to do is win, and he’s going to start the players he deems gives him the best chance to accomplish that. And though it was hard to accept, we came to realize that this team wasn’t going to win with Rosen.

Many will view this as a disappointment due to the 2nd-round pick the Dolphins gave up to acquire him, but you can’t fault Chris Grier for trying to solve the quarterback position. It’s the overall production and the fact that this fanbase has to hope for another solution that make this such a disappointing part of the 2019 season.

Aqib Talib:

Literally 0 production, c’mon man….

1) Xavien Howard

His performance hasn’t declined, but everything else surrounding Xavien Howard has led Dolphins fans to question their elite cornerback.

In his 4-year career, Howard has finished all 16 games just once (2017). Between 2018 and 2019, Howard has started 17 games…which essentially equates to one season. Pair this injury history with a potential 4-game suspension for domestic violence, and Howard’s $75m contract looks skeptical at best.

We are all expecting Howard to bounce back in 2020, but can this really be guaranteed? Or will this just be another unfinished season for Howard?

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