With just 25 days to go until the 2021 NFL Draft, Miami have a huge opportunity and I believe the Dolphins will go RB at 18. Now bear with me because taking running backs this high is no longer considered necessary or maybe even wise.
Running backs have one of the shortest tenures of any position due to the wear and tear, the ease with which they can be replaced (supposedly) and the fact they are somewhat dependent on a decent OL around them. This logic is part of the reason they Dolphins haven’t had a great running back since Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
DOLPHINS WILL GO RB AT 18 BECAUSE: GREAT TEAMS CAN RUN THE BALL
The Dolphins have had one, yes one, 100-yard rusher in the last 34 games and that is a recipe for disaster. It’s also one way to get your QB under serious pressure because no one fears your ground game.
Now I hear all the arguments for Myles Gaskin, and Salvon Ahmed, but they are not every down workhorse backs. They are change of pace backs who you need equally as much on your roster, but not as your primary back. The Dolphins will go RB because they kind of need to.
Consider Tampa Bay from last season. Even though they had Tom Brady and weapons galore, down the stretch it was Leonard Fournette who they gave the rock and told to win them games. Control the ball and you control the game.
Did Fournette get a tonne of yardage? No, but he got the BIG yards, the important yards. You have to move the chains, you have to drain a defence. And at the end of a long hard season that is massive. It pulls the linebackers and safeties closer to the line, and allows you to hit them over the top with Will Fuller.
REASON #2 THE DOLPHINS WILL GO RB AT 18: THERE’S ONLY ONE NAJEE HARRIS
The mix of big, powerful, and athletic, flexible, and elusive are extremely rare and hard to come by. He forced 71 missed tackles (per PFF) at a rate of better than one every four carries. He immediately elevates your offensive line, and gives you a threat from the backfield we haven’t seen since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown (or 6 games of Jay Ajayi).
I get the love for Travis Etienne as well but for me Harris is an absolute blue chip number one running back prospect and is more than worth the 18th pick.
REASON #3: THE DOLPHINS WILL GO RB BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONTROL THE CLOCK
As much as you may not want to hear this, the Dolphins aren’t looking to be the explosive sexy passing attack that would suit a Justin Herbert. There’s a reason they selected Tua Tagovailoa and it’s because he’s smart, makes good reads, and is extremely accurate.
The verticality will be more prevalent this season, but this will be primarily a running team. You can see this in the Jordan Howard signing, and the run the team made at Le’Veon Bell. Without a power back who adds versatility this offense will never purr and that’s why the Dolphins will go RB.
Can that same thing be achieved by selecting an OL at this spot? Maybe to an extent, but why not just take the BPA who will definitely give you that step up. This front office has taken lineman top three rounds a lot lately and they need some time to bed in and prove themselves.
Jackson, Hunt, and Kindley all showed flashes of being very good players at the NFL level. Can Michael Deiter become the center of the future? Who knows, only the coaches know how that experiment is progressing. But you can draft an OL and expect him to immediately be a world beater.
So set yourself up and take the best fit for the offense you want to run and roll with Najee Harris.
The Dolphins will go RB because Harris will be BPA, it fits a need on the roster, and it’s exactly what they need to run the offense they want.
And for once I don’t think the Dolphins will overcomplicate the decision.