Everyone knows that the Dolphins are a mess on the offensive line and shoring up the O-line will probably be the top priority of the new General Manager whoever he may be. Immediately after fixing the offensive line the Dolphins should be looking at running back. Let’s call a spade a spade here, Daniel Thomas is a bust and one of departed GM Jeff Ireland’s many mistakes. Just when you thought Thomas was going to string out a few good games he would get hurt and not play for a few weeks. Lamar Miller should flashes his rookie year that made fans not feel as bad about letting Reggie Bush walk even fantasy football analysts were calling him a potential sleeper in the preseason but man did he disappoint. Miller had a few big runs that showed flashes of what he has, and hits the hole hard but overall he did not make the second year jump fans were hoping for. Hopefully a better offensive line, and an OC that will use him more in the passing game is what the doctor ordered. A lot is unknown about Mike Gillislee who had a hard time seeing the field this season like all the other 2013 Dolphins rookies outside of Caleb Sturgis. I hope the Dolphins look across the spectrum for a running back. I have two targets in each of these categories: acquired via free agency, trade, or the draft.
Andre Brown, New York Giants
Andre Brown is the hard running running back that every team in the AFC East seems to have with the exception of the Dolphins. Brown broke his leg in the preseason and didn’t see game action till week 10. His first game back he ran for 115 yards on 30 carries and 1 touchdown. Brown finished the season with 493 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Giants like the Dolphins also had a patchwork offensive line but Brown would make defenders miss tackles. The Giants ground production during the first 10 weeks of the season was 69.9 ypg to 98.6 ypg. Brown is also stout in pass blocking. One of the knocks on Brown is health issues and uncertainty on whether he can be a number one back.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have found an every down back with Eddie Lacy. This means that Green Bay is willing to part ways with Starks. While complimenting Lacy Starks finished with Like Brown Starks finished the season with 493 carries. Starks averaged 5.5 ypc and had 3 touchdowns. Starks also has ties to Head Coach Joe Philbin from their Green Bay days. Starks could be looking for a shot to show that he is a number one back and Miami could very well be the place for him.
Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
The Lions are on the cusp of being in cap hell due to some of their contracts so they may try to take some contracts off the books this offseason. Leshoure could be one of those candidates. He missed all of his rookie year with an Achilles injury, was suspended for the first two games of the 2012 season but finished the season with 798 yards and 9 touchdowns. Due to the Lions acquiring Reggie Bush in free agency and the emergence of Joique Bell and Theo Riddick Leshoure was buried in the depth chart and only played in 3 games in 2013. Leshoure has proven that he can perform at the NFL level but does have injury history. He only has a year left on his rookie deal so the Dolphins should part with a late round draft pick to take a flyer on him.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Last two times that the Dolphins traded for a Heisman winning* back the Saints drafted it turned out to be a solid move for the Dolphins. Ricky Williams won a rushing tittle in Miami and Reggie Bush spent 2 seasons in Miami where he had his first 1,000-yard season and resurrected his NFL career. With Pierre Thomas being the Saints every down back and Darren Sproles being the scat back Ingram seems like the odd man out in New Orleans. Ingram is a hard runner saw action in 11 games this season and finished with 386 yards on 78 rushes and 1 touchdown. Ingram has a year left on his contract and could use a change of scenery
Tre Mason, Auburn
Tre Mason is a powerful man. The West Palm Beach native finished his last year at Auburn with 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns. However in the final two games of the season, which included the SEC Championship and BCS National Championship game, he ran for a combined 499 yards and 5 touchdowns. Mason is bruising runner who is a handful to tackle. The knocks on Mason are his size (he’s 5ft 10in) and that he lacks a second gear.
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
This one might be kind of homerish because I think that it would be cool to see somebody I went to school with on the Dolphins (Go Eagles!). That being said Hyde has all the traits to be a successful player on Sundays. Hyde is a workhorse. Urban Meyer would keep feeding him the rock and Hyde would keep producing. Hyde finished the season with 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns after being suspended during the first 3 games of the season. Even though he’s built like a power back he can find a second gear when he needs to beat somebody on the edge. The negatives on Hyde are character concerns. Philbin has shown he has no tolerance for that, and he has conditioning issues