Kenyan Drake has been traded, Mark Walton released and Kalen Ballage has struggled to develop basic fundamentals as an NFL running back. Stats don’t always tell the complete story, but Ballage’s 1.9 yards per carry align with his lack of pace, vision and ability to pick up yards after contact. Dating back to Arizona State, Ballage is who he’s always been -- a good athlete that doesn’t blend his attributes together well enough to be a nuanced football player.
Undergoing a massive rebuild, Miami has holes to fill all over the roster and running back is no exception. With identifying the new direction at quarterback atop the to-do list for general manager Chris Grier, building a running game is necessary to provide an environment for the young passer to succeed. Miami is currently averaging an NFL-low 60.3 rushing yards per game and 3.0 yards per attempt.
The good news for Miami is that the rising crop of running back prospects is loaded with talent and the Dolphins have an abundance of draft picks. Who could Miami have its eye on to take over as the feature back? Dolphins fans will have a great opportunity this Saturday to get their eyes on some of the best options. I’ve got your day mapped out:
12PM ET: JK Dobbins, Ohio State vs Penn State on FOX
I’m a big fan of Dobbins. In fact, I’m not convinced he isn’t the best running back in the Big Ten, a conference that includes Jonathan Taylor.
Taking over as the lead back for the Buckeyes this year after two seasons in a shared backfield with Mike Weber, Dobbins has been sensational. Averaging seven yards per carry, Dobbins has 1,289 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games so far in 2019. He’s a punishing inside runner that always has the juice needed to work off tackle. His vision is clean and he’s been a consistent receiving threat throughout his career at Ohio State. Dobbins can be the focal point of an NFL rushing attack and a stout Penn State defense will be a wonderful opportunity to see his skill set on display.
3:30PM ET: D’Andre Swift, Georgia vs Texas A&M on CBS
You want to see nuanced running? Get your eyes on Swift who is an absolute delight to watch work.
A multifaceted back, Swift is a dynamic runner who also has soft hands to win as a receiver. I love his thick and compact frame that leads to a natural low center of gravity and enables him to win post-contact. He’s fairly elusive and he executes dynamic frame that you don’t expect for a back of his body composition. Finding true flaws in Swift’s game is difficult and everyone I’ve ever talked to within the Georgia program rave about his work ethic.
7:30PM ET: Eno Benjamin, Arizona State vs Oregon on ABC
If Miami wanted to wait until the middle rounds for a running back, Benjamin would be an ideal target. A powerful runner, Benjamin thrives in one-cut situations and still has plenty of juice and wiggle to win in space. He’s been a productive receiver in each of the past two seasons for the Sun Devils.
While Benjamin doesn’t have any true standout qualities, he is consistent across the board and should be a quality piece in a stable of backs in the NFL. I like the test Oregon’s defense presents as a measuring stick for what Benjamin could be at the next level.
10:00PM ET: Zack Moss, Utah vs Arizona on FS1
Dolphins fans remember Jay Ajayi, right? There’s a ton of parallels between Moss and Ajayi. Both press the line of scrimmage with ideal pace and foot cadence to complement generally sound vision. They are both tanks in the open field with outstanding contact balance and the ability to grind out tough yards. Moss is also a capable receiving threat.
Moss has been heavily featured for a Utah offense that is firing on all cylinders right now. You won’t want to miss him against Arizona as the Utes make a push towards a Pac 12 Championship.