Can you believe what the Miami Dolphins have been able to do these past two offseasons?
Just look at their draft classes. They added Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Solomon Kindley, Noah Igbinoghene, and Raekwon Davis last year, and this year they got guys like Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, and Liam Eichenberg. That, along with the core they already had on their roster, has given the Dolphins the chance to swing into a winning window just two seasons after starting the 2019 campaign 0-7.
It’s a job well done by general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores to get on the same page quickly and flip the script. This roster is now ready, and many would tell you they can go as far as Tagovailoa will take them.
But outside of all the great additions they’ve made over the past two seasons, some Dolphins faithful are focusing on a position that has yet to be emphasized: running back.
Running back was a big need for the Dolphins heading into the draft, so much so there was talk of them being the landing spot for Alabama running back Najee Harris at No. 18 in the first round. That didn’t happen, and neither did any other running back selection until Miami took Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Should this be seen as a failure or an oversight by the Dolphins?
When you look at who is currently on the Dolphins depth chart, there isn’t really a name that jumps out from the group of Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, Doaks, Jordan Scarlett, and Salvon Ahmed. Gaskin and Ahmed led the Dolphins in rushing last season, but Gaskin was the only one who eclipsed even 500 yards on the season. Miami rushed for just over 100 yards per game, which was good enough for 21st in the NFL. Not terrible, but certainly not great.
So again, was not getting a running back a detrimental move by the Dolphins? I say no. Would the Dolphins have liked to upgrade their running back room? Sure, but you have to look at the draft context to really see why it didn’t happen.
If you believe the Dolphins should have selected Harris over Phillips (or even Kwity Paye) at No. 18, I don’t know what to tell you. With those two players on the board at high-value positions— which just happened to also be positions of relative need—you take them every time. Then you go to the second round, where UNC running back Javonte Williams was still on the board. From what I was told, the Dolphins were in on Williams, but they also loved Holland. As it turned out, the Falcons traded their pick right before the Dolphins to the Denver Broncos where they selected Williams, which is the same thing that happened to Miami last year when the Falcons again traded their pick right before the Dolphins to the Ravens, who selected running back J.K. Dobbins. If you want to go ever further into how unlucky the Dolphins have been, they appeared to be very in on Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones in free agency. They were even labeled as the most likely destination for Jones before the Packers gave him a lot of money to stay put.
The bottom line is, the Dolphins have had running backs on their radar and on their target list, but have been correctly patient in their approach to get one. They weren’t going to grossly overpay for Jones to come to Miami because that would be a waste of resources on a position that is often rapidly depreciating. In each of their last two drafts, they weren’t going to use a first-round pick on one because, again, that’s the right train of thought. And in the second round in each of the past two seasons, they’ve been unlucky with teams popping up in front of them to get a guy.
There comes a time when the need for a position requires more aggressive pursuit in free agency or the draft, but I don’t think the time for that was either of the past two seasons for the Dolphins. They are doing things the right way. They are being patient, and I believe they will be rewarded with the right running back at the right time at the right price. Their approach to the process is lending itself to yield that result.