The Dolphins running back picture is pretty clear as far as the 3 that will definitely make the roster, but not so clear as far as which back will start, and which back will get the lion’s share of carries. Future HOFer Frank Gore has come back home to Miami, and if healthy can still carry the rock to join one of the best RB’s in the NFL the last 4 games of last season Kenyan Drake, as well as rookie draftee Kalen Ballage. Those 3 are in, but one of the other remaining 3, Senorise Perry, Brandon Radcliffe and Buddy Howell. Those 3 will be competing for the final RB roster spot, and at least one of the others should get placed on the PS. So let’s take a look at the competition.
Frank Gore RB – 5’9″ 212
A no doubt future Hall of fame RB, Gore has amassed over 14,000 yards rushing in the NFL as well as 77 rushing TD’s. I don’t expect him to crack 15,000 this season, but he can easily get halfway to 1000 in a RB committee approach I expect us to have here in MIA in ’18. Not only can Gore run, but he’s been an effective receiver his entire career as well. Gore has 443 receptions for 3672 yards and 17 receiving TD’s. Gore has done it all, and for a guy who had 2 knee injuries in college, he has been a picture of longevity with over 3000 NFL carries. He may start early on, and might even get the majority of carries too, but Gase won’t let anyone get burnt out, so don’t expect Gore to have enough carries to break 1000 this season. Gore is a bowling ball, and has always been a reliable short yardage converter, and I would expect him to get his chances in that regard.
Kenyan Drake RB – 6’1″ 211
Drake really burst on the scene after the trade of Jay Ajayi. Although Drake shared time with Damien Williams at first, it became clear that Drake was the better talent and he earned more carries and opportunities. Considering the fact that Drake was always a 2nd fiddle at Alabama, behind either T.J. Yeldon, or Derrick Henry, it’s understandable why he wasn’t the first choice over Ajayi or even Damien Williams. The talent was always there, but various minor injuries kept him from being the primary ballcarrier. Once he got his chance here in Miami, Drake made the most of it. With just 6 starts, Drake finished up the season with 644 yards rushing on 133 carries for a nice 4.8YPC and 3 TD’s. In addition, Drake caught 32 passes for 239 yards and 1 TD. Drake showed running power as well as home run speed. Both Gore and Drake will get the majority of the carries, but don’t sleep on number 3!
Kalen Ballage RB – 6’2″ 228
The Dolphins nabbed this big back in the 4th RD of this years draft and I for one was really happy. I read about all the backs, and there were things I liked a lot about a few of them, but those guys were going to be taken in the first couple of rounds, which i knew was unrealistic for us. I think we took a back at the right time with our priorities, and Ballage was one of my favorite mid RD picks. Oft compared to David Johnson, he has the size and physique of Johnson, as well as the speed and the receiving ability. Ballage blasted a 4.46 at the combine, so this big guy can move. He has a lot of work to do to get to being compared with David Johnson statistically in the NFL, but I think he has potential. The fact that he’s a very smooth receiver out of the backfield will endear him to Gase who truly values that. Ballage will definitely find opportunities here in Miami.
Senorise Perry RB – 6’0″ 210
Perry has been in the NFL since 2014 and has total of 8 carries in 4 years. What Perry does well is play special teams, so already he has a leg up on making the roster. Perry is also a kick returner adding to his special teams value. He played in all 16 games last season in a special teams capacity. Beyond that, he’s not much of a factor.
Brandon Radcliff RB – 5’9″ 216
Like Senorise Perry, Radcliff played at Louisville. The UDFA joins Miami and a crowded backfield. He was a 3 year starter at Louisville but was a non combine invitee. He did well at his pro day unofficially running between a 4.4-4.5 at 207 lbs, roughly 8-9 lbs lighter than his playing weight at 215-216. Radcliff will have to show some special teams ability if he’s going to steal that last spot, and if he can make the most of his carries in training camp and preseason, he has a shot st steal the last spot.
Buddy Howell RB – 6’1″ 215
Greg (Buddy) Howell is another non combine invitee. Mr. Howell ran a 4.55 40 at his pro day, apparently he saw Lovey at the finish line. Usually players shed weight for their pro day’s, but Howell was up a few pounds, up to 219. Howell had a decent workload at FAU, rushing for 828 yards and 13 TD’s his junior year. His numbers fell off a bit his senior year, but not bad. Like Perry and Radcliff, Howell will have to show he can play ST’s and do it well to sneak onto the roster.