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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
This installment will be on the running backs, and for now, since this is a slow time, I'll be doing one of these every other week, it's a long offseason, but on to the running backs.
As I looked through each unit, one thing stood out to me, there are fairly big questions going forward in every unit, and running back is no exception. I will say this though, I am much less worried about the unit this year than I was last year, Lamar Miller has proved that he is a capable NFL RB. Last year that was still a bit of a question, and how well Knowshon Moreno was going to fit, this year we know what Miller can bring to the table.
The Dolphins have 4 tailbacks as of the end of the season, Lamar Miller, Damien Williams, LaMichael James and Daniel Thomas, Williams and James are relitive unknowns, while Miller and Thomas are known commodities.
LAMAR MILLER In 2014 Miller showed the Dolphins that he's a competitor, we all know he isn't Le'Veon Bell, but he's a hard working fast tailback that could potentially hit some big plays. Either way you could do a lot worse than Lamar Miller as your starting tailback.
DANIEL THOMAS I think most agree that Thomas is basically a failed pick, he is OK as a back up but his ceiling has been reached. Most were happy when he was cut last year, and I think the Dolphins move on for good this year.
DAMIEN WILLIAMS An un-drafted free agent, he was a stand out player at Oklahoma but was released by the team for undisclosed reasons, which killed his draft stock. A 220+ pound tailback with sub 4.5 speed, he was used sparingly this year but did show very good potential. When he was used it was mainly as a 3rd down back, because he can block and catch. This is unusual for a rookie, because you normally can't trust them in the passing game, blocking or route running, so the kid has a good head on his shoulders. I'm excited to see how much he progresses in the offseason.
LaMICHAEL JAMES There is a lot of unknown about the former Oregon superstar, he seemed to fall into a black hole once he was drafted. A very highly touted 2nd round pick for the 49ers, he doesn't see much playing time, as a tailback or as a returner, then to start out his 3rd year he asks for a release from the team, and so they cut him. The fact that they cut him is a little troubling, because he had been a 2nd round pick and yet they were willing to just let him walk. What's more troubling in my opinion is the fact that he asked for his release. Many Dolphin fans are clambering to release Mike Wallace because he may have taken himself out of a meaningless game, and here's a guy who asks off a team because he's not good enough to start. It's funny how perception changes.
(insert cricket sounds) Yes, I'm aware that we have no fullbacks, but I for one would like to see that change, a true fullback would be a huge help on short yardage plays, as a blocker or a runner. I do understand that our basic offense is not a fullback friendly offense, but any short yardage formation benefits from a fullback.
Depth here is the issue, as it is with many of the Dolphin units, but the answer may already be on the team. Damien Williams could emerge as a share timer with Lamar, which would certainly help a lot with depth. James is a complete unknown quantity at this time, Thomas could be brought back as depth, because he can be plugged in, but his celing is so low that there isn't much point keeping him around unless need drives it.
I don't see any pressing need to draft a tailback, besides the kind of standard draft a tailback late and try to develop him theory. As I said above, I wouldn't mind them picking up a fullback, but that is more of a late round or undrafted free agent type of thing.
Personally I think the Dolphins are set enough with Miller to go into 2015 with the hopes that Williams takes the step it looks like he will take. I wouldn't go out and spend on a tailback in free agency, a fullback maybe, but not a tailback. I think we should see what we have in Williams and James before commiting to anything else, because like I said earlier, Miller has proven he can get the job done, and I personally have some high hopes for Williams, I think he can actually becoma a better tailback than Miller, and then we would have a scary backfield.