Running backs don’t normally deserve consideration for a team’s first draft pick. They shouldn’t either, as I’m in the camp that a fullback isn’t a premium choice unless it’s exceptional and a competitor’s missing piece.
But again, most teams that make that decision do so on Thursday night with their first-round pick. Miami doesn’t have that problem, thanks to the trade with superstar WR Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins don’t pick until the third round with overall pick #102.
So, is the running back worth considering there? Although the Dolphins have made two signings this offseason at this position, I would still say it’s at least worth considering, especially when there’s a player like Dameon Pierce potentially waiting there. (Yes, I can hear you IOL/LB stans pounding your keyboards right now.)
Pierce is built like a tank at 5’9″, 220 pounds, and he runs like that. Hard to tackle, he averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 48 games at Florida. However, he was grossly under- used by Florida staff, only carrying the ball 329 times over 4 years, so he has some tread left on the tires.
What I love about Pierce is that he’s built to run between tackles at 220lbs with a low center of gravity – and he certainly can do that…but he might be at his best when he’s running off tackle. He has good vision and seems to find the optimal path to open up space. He’s also been involved in the passing game during his limited time on the field, catching 19 passes for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. By comparison, UTSA-used Sincere McCormick — another intriguing runner — carried 298 times last year while making 22 catches for 184 yards.
He is also more than capable of protecting Tua Tagovailoa:
Running backs you can trust in pass protection have never been more valuable in the NFL than they are today
— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) February 3, 2022
The question remains: is a running back worth considering when Miami just signed two fullbacks and has other needs? Given who they signed, I’d say that’s still the case. Chase Edmonds was very effective in Arizona, but shared with (and was the thunderbolt of) James Conner. Raheem Mostert – whose skills I love – has lacked the most important ability throughout his career: availability. Not to mention that he has a one-year contract. Neither player seems to fill an early, long-term role.
Long story short, I think Pierce has the makeup and the skills to run smart, hard, and efficiently in the NFL, as well as contribute to the transmission.
What do you think, Miami fans? Would you be satisfied with this selection, whether at 102 or 125? Or are you giving up on running back altogether, given the reduced number of choices and other needs? Let’s listen to this.