With the way Kenyan Drake played at the end of the 2017 season everyone is giddy with the thought of Drake being the #1 running back for the Miami Dolphins for a full season heading into 2018. There are some red flags though with the Dolphins running back position and adding another running back, another quality running back, is key between now and the start of the 2018 season.
Yes, Kenyan Drake played like a man among boys the final five games of the 2017 season and there is plenty of reason for optimism around him heading into 2018. A couple of things to remember though like Drake has never been the most durable player throughout his career. Whether at his time at Alabama or his rookie year with the Dolphins, Drake has always been often injured and dinged up missing time. To expect he can go from that type of player to a #1 lead running back overnight who will be expected to touch the ball some 15-20 times a game is asking a lot and expecting a lot out of someone who has never been asked to do that ever. Another thing to consider is now teams will be preparing for Kenyan Drake and he will not be catching anyone off guard anymore. Drake’s big games in 2017 came when the Dolphins season was clearly over, and they had no realistic shot at making the playoffs. Drake will have a bullseye on his back each week now and performing in that type of situation is very different.
Behind Drake at this time is Frank Gore and if this were 2012 that would be a good thing. It is 2018 though and Gore will be 35 years old in less than a month. While Gore has been a productive back in recent years you have to wonder how much he truly has left in the tank. Should Drake go down for an extended period could Gore carry the load and be a feature back for this team? Put me in the category of NO! While I think Gore can serve a purpose and be someone you can rely on in the pass blocking game and in short yardage situations where you need that tough yard or two up the middle, I am not one to think Gore can be counted on in much of an expanded role.
Senorise Perry is the only other somewhat legitimate running back on the Dolphins roster and is essentially a camp body at this point. So, with Drake being unproven as a #1 running back and having durability issues and Gore being 35 years old one must wonder where Miami will look to add a third running back to complete this group.
There was talk earlier this offseason that the Dolphins were interested in Broncos running back CJ Anderson. Per reports the Broncos were open to trading him and still might be shopping him. If the price were right I think Miami would have interest. If the Broncos decide at some point to just release CJ Anderson I think the Dolphins would definitely be interested. Frank Gore signed for so little money that his addition to the roster on a one-year deal does not prevent the Dolphins from adding another proven veteran running back.
If the Dolphins were to look at the draft, then round two and three has some very good prospects. The Georgia boys of Nick Chubb and Sony Michele would both be great fits in their own ways. Michele has soft hands and is that dual threat who can catch the ball and run with a purpose that Adam Gase loves out of his running back. Chubb is a downhill runner who would be the perfect compliment and be the “thunder” to Drake’s “lightening.” Another name to watch for is Ronald Jones out of USC. Jones is a similar player to Drake in that he is explosive and a dual threat and has that “juice” you like to see out of a running back. He is expected to go in the early part of round 2 and someone to keep an eye on.
Those are just 3 of the names who could be available in the 2nd or 3rd round of the upcoming draft that might be good fits for the Dolphins. This draft is loaded with quality running backs and guys who would be great additions to the Dolphins running back room. The point is the Dolphins running back room today isn’t good enough.
Yes, the Dolphins have major holes at tight end and linebacker but adding a quality running back early in the 2018 draft is also a must if the Dolphins want to give themselves some insurance at that position heading into the 2018 season.