Dolphins must learn from 2020 RB pursuit as offseason parallels form
The Miami Dolphins are, for the second straight year, being tied to plenty of running backs available to be had this offseason. And as a result, the Dolphins must aspire to avoid the same result that went into the team’s effort in 2020 to upgrade the position — as the back who stepped up to command control of the backfield was not the back the team signed in free agency (Jordan Howard) nor the one they traded for during the NFL Draft (Matt Breida). Instead, it was the 2019 7th-round draft selection in Myles Gaskin who became the featured back in Miami’s backfield.
And on the surface, that’s a perfectly fine result. But the process that led to Miami’s backfield taking shape in such a matter needs to be avoided. The Dolphins, like this year, were tied to plenty of backs in 2020.
Veteran back Melvin Gordon was often rumored to be on Miami’s radar in free agency while Ohio State’s JK Dobbins, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire were all widely considered acceptable outcomes for Miami in the early portions of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins got none of them.
Miami opted for a more financially thrifty signing in free agency and passed on each of the running backs three times in the first round before Edwards-Helaire was drafted at No. 32 by the Chiefs. By the time Miami was on the clock at No. 39 (they eventually drafted Robert Hunt), Swift was also off the board — with the Dolphins presumably betting that they’d see Taylor or Dobbins further down the road. Both were gone by pick No. 56 and the Dolphins eventually then traded Breida on Day 3 of last year’s draft.
Having options is fine. As a matter of fact, it is a great place to be. But the Dolphins would be well served to not consistently push their big investment into the position to the brink, particularly with how much a featured role said player will presumably play in Miami’s offense — if 2020 is any indication. Spare no expense. Leave no stone unturned. But ultimately, Miami’s running back investment should come with conviction this time around to avoid seeing a plethora of options lead to such little fruit bore from their search.
This offseason, the Dolphins have been rumored to be interested in courting veteran back Aaron Jones from Green Bay and have also been tied via draft rumors to both Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Alabama’s Najee Harris. North Carolina back Javonte Williams would also presumably be a strong fit for Miami’s style of play.
This team will once again have options. But Miami must learn from 2020’s outcome and be more proactive this time around to act earlier to ensure they get the upgrade they’re most taken with in the backfield.
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