If our WR corps is a little on the high side salary cap wise at the moment, especially considering who’s on our roster, our RB room is on the cheap. At the moment, no Dolphins RB is at a $1M salary or higher. Myles Gaskin, Patrick Laird and Salvon Ahmed are the only RB’s under contract now and add up to a stingy $2.5M. I expect that to change when the draft rolls around. I think after watching all of our backs it’s easy to realize that really none of them are a true bellcow RB or what could be considered a #1. I liked what I saw out of Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, they both showed the ability to run the ball and catch the ball and do good things catching the ball out of the backfield (Myles Gaskin moreso than Ahmed) but neither guy proved capable of pushing the pile or creating after contact yards. I saw way too many times first contact and down. We need a RB that’s both more elusive and also more powerful that can break that first tackle which many times leads to big gains.
A RB that can catch the ball and then make things happen after the catch can be a QB’s best friend. I think Najee Harris fits that role best as he is probably the best receiving RB, and he has the size (6’2 230) to and skills to be an every down back. Travis Etienne is a very good RB, maybe the highest ranked pure running back. He broke more tackles than any other back in college and has a lot of long runs to his credit. Etienne is more of a traditional sized RB (5’10 205). Etienne had 43 runs of 20 yards or more, that’s the kind of explosiveness the Dolphins backfield could use. There are plenty of RB’s who would improve the quality of our backfield, but I think it’s time we really invested in getting a premier talent. Running backs have been devalued to a point in the NFL where they are rarely early to mid 1st RD picks, but I think there’s a good chance we could lose Najee Harris if we don’t take him at #18. Of course we could trade back either from #3 or from #18 and have a shot at him but I don’t think it’s likely he makes it to #36. The Chiefs took the first RB off the board last year at #32 (Clyde Edwards Helaire), and the guy I thought we would be the first back taken, D’Andre Swift was taken at #35. Another good choice for us would be Javonte Williams from NC. He’s a physical downhill runner with good size and speed 5’10 220.
Here’s what our RB’s did in 2020
Myles Gaskin – 142 carries – 584 yards – 3 TD’s / 41 receptions – 388 yards – 2 TD’s
Salvon Ahmed – 75 carries – 319 yards – 3 TD’s / 11 receptions – 61 yards – 0 TD’s
Patrick Laird – 13 carries – 72 yards – 0 TD’s / 10 receptions – 68 yards – 0 TD’s
We also had Matt Breida last season who gave us minimal production, despite most of us expecting him to be the change of pace and 3rd down back. We also got a little production from DeAndre Washington who is also not under contract in 2021. It’s clear we need to upgrade the talent in our backfield, so will 2021 be the year we go RB early? It’s difficult to say. I wouldn’t be surprised if they look for to upgrade the trenches in some fashion, either an OL, DL or even a playmaking LB or a CB. I’m going to hate to see Patrick Surtain II in another NFL uniform, but after drafting Noah Igbinoghene at #30 last year, I can’t imagine we would spend another first RD pick on a CB.
I don’t think there was DC that played our team that was overly concerned about our rushing attack. Nothing helps a QB more than a reliable, effective rushing attack. Proof of this is available from our own 2016 season with Ryan Tannehill and then any season while playing for the Tennessee Titans. Tannehill went from a run of the mill QB to a top 10 QB. I think we should do everything we can to help Tua become a better QB, so draft the best WR and RB in this draft and that’s a good start to getting him in that direction.
GO DOLPHINS 2021!!!