In six days, the NFL Draft will officially begin, where teams from all over the country draft the necessary needs for their team. The Dolphins are a young team that can compete with the teams at the very top; we saw a vivid example of this in Week 14 versus the Chiefs. However, there are still holes that must be filled that can be within this stacked 2021 draft class.
We all know the Chiefs will try to target a receiver in this draft, but another prominent piece they need on the offense is a running back. Last year, the Dolphins were ranked in the bottom half (21st) in rushing yards per game with 105.5, which means it’s obvious changes must be made. The Dolphins must draft a running back; Gaskin needs competition and may not be the best moving forward, Brown would be excellent for depth, and Liard or Ahmed is not the answer they need.
With that said, who should they draft, where should they draft, and why? We’ll discuss this in this piece, but before we talk about this, let’s refresh the draft picks the Dolphins to have in 2021:
- Round 1, Picks 6 and 18
- Round 2, Picks 36 and 50
- Round 3, Pick 81
- Round 4, Pick 156
- Round 7, Picks 231 and 258
Don’t draft in the 1st Round
I’d like to thank my colleague Zachary Roberts for alluding to this in a recent article. First-round running backs aren’t the best, and you rarely get one that’ll most likely stay with the franchise that selected them. Past examples include Doug Martin, Rashaad Penny, Leonard Fournette (for his Jacksonville years), Trent Richardson, and many others. Jacobs and Helaire deserve more time before we decide how good the pick was, but the point still stands.
Also, some of the best running backs in the league at this moment don’t come from the first round. Examples that back this up are Derrick Henry (2nd round), Nick Chubb (2nd round), Aaron Jones (5th round), James Robinson (UDFA), Dalvin Cook (2nd round), and many others. The evidence clearly favors the choice of not drafting an RB in the first round.
Also, we know the Dolphins will likely select a receiver with the 6th pick, and probably select a linebacker or someone on the defense with the 18th pick. Whether they do or not doesn’t concern this article, but that’s probably the route the Dolphins will go.
The Pick Is In
The first round has loomed over, and now it’s time to see where the Dolphins will go to draft a running back within this draft. They’ll likely select a running back in the second or third round, so let’s see who’d they draft within each round:
If they select in the 2nd Round: Javonte Williams, North Carolina
In the second round with the 36th pick of the NFL Draft, the Dolphins select Javonte Williams from North Carolina. If you’re worried he may be selected earlier, he’s highly projected to go 43rd overall, so the Dolphins will be able to select him with that pick. They’ve been in talks with him on Zoom multiple times already, according to the Miami Herald, which feeds into the case that the Dolphins will select him.
Onto Williams, he’s a strong physical back, waiting to hit stick you or juke you out whenever the opportunity presents itself. This, with his agility and speed, gives an overarching ability to have large yardage games. He’s also a patient runner; not like Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell-type patient but patient nonetheless. His downfield vision is impeccable, and he’ll be a tough man to bring down.
He’s also the 2nd-highest-graded running back coming out of college, plus he is confirmed the best tackle-breaking in this draft with 75 forced missed tackles and a 48% missed tackle rate. If he’s on the board, it’s tough to see the Dolphins pass on him:
They could also use the other second-round and the third-round pick to beef up the offensive line. Examples include but are not limited to Dillon Radunz, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith.
If they select in the 3rd Round: Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
Even if the Dolphins don’t select an RB in the second round, it won’t be an issue. In the third round with the 81st pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Kenneth Gainwell from Memphis. Gainwell is projected to go at the 83rd pick, which means there is a high possibility he’ll still be up for the Phins once it’s their turn to select.
Onto Gainwell, he’ll gain well enough yards (haha, funny pun) with his excellent vision, footwork, elusiveness, and speed that’ll bring him to the next level of play. His spectacular vision allows him to see blocks perfectly on the field, and utilize them effectively. His burst in speed and elusiveness help him get around a decent amount of defenders on the field. He’s also shown to be an amazing receiving back in the backfield.
There are a decent number of routes the Dolphins can go, but if the moment presents itself to draft Williams, that’ll be their best bet. If not, Gainwell is there sitting and waiting for his name to be called. It’ll be exciting to watch draft night, as due to my heavy addiction to football, I’m excited about what’s to come. Whatever happens with who they select, let’s hope at the end of the day that the Dolphins make the right one. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!