There was a mock draft I saw from this past January conducted by one of the “draft experts” on Bleacher Report saying the Miami Dolphins will select RB Saquon Barkley at #11 and so I thought I might give my thoughts on the idea should this come true in late April. We take all mock drafts with a grain of salt, especially this time of year, but I wanted to comment on this one specifically because it had Miami taking a running back in round 1.
Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams are both good running backs that were the Dolphins one-two punch at running back during the 2017 season after Jay Ajayi was traded (although Williams is a free agent currently and most likely will not be back in 2018.) With that said the Dolphins do need to address the running back situation this offseason and find someone to pair with Drake. Drafting Saquon Barkley is a bit of a risk in one regard because he really didn't have to pass block in college and the Dolphins will need a back who is proven in pass protection, especially with Ryan Tannehill coming of a knee injury. In the past, the Dolphins best running back success has come with running backs who have been in the organization for a while and know the system like Jay Ajayi as he was in his second season when he burst onto the scene for Miami. Same for Kenyan Drake this past season, it was his second year.
Saquon's running skills and ability is spectacular and he is just a straight up an amazing player all around. Should he fall to Miami in round 1 or should Miami trade up to get him early in round 1, the competition at the Dolphins running back spot will only make Drake and Barkley better players. Having both players fighting it out for playing time and pushing each other to be the best running back they can be is only a positive for the team and the franchise.
The Dolphins still must work on their offensive line I feel like. But when they are healthy as a unit (assuming guys like James and Pouncey are back with Tunsil) they are a solid group. If we can just improve the guard position overall I think the offensive line unit will be good enough. Health is always a concern though with players like James and Pouncey who have both had their share of injuries in the past and with James coming off an injury that cut his 2017 season short.
Should Barkley fall to Miami at #11 or should Miami trade up to get him in round 1, it would add more depth and running back but I am not sure running back is that big a need for Miami heading into this draft and could better be addressed in free agency with a veteran. Kenyan Drake showed what he can do as the main back at the end of the 2017 season. So, I advise that the Dolphins stay away from Barkley in this April's draft.