5 Running Back Prospects the Dolphins Should Consider in the 2020 NFL Draft

Oct 5, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (2) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers linebacker Chandler Wooten (31) defends during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have lots of positional needs on the offensive and defensive side of the football. Should they aim to pick up a potential franchise running back in the NFL draft? Overall they are better, but still weak at the running back position, so these are some of the prospects the Miami Dolphins should consider drafting.

5. Lamical Perine, Flordia 

Lamical Perine is 5’ 11”, 216 pounds, and runs a 4.62-second forty-yard dash. Perine rushed for six touchdowns, 676 rushing yards, and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt in his senior season. Also, he received five touchdowns, 262 receiving yards, and had 40 receptions. On his NFL Draft Profile, he is graded at a 5.99, which means he is projected to be a backup and a special teamer. Perine does not have a draft day comparison but is projected to be drafted in the fourth round. 

Perine has a few major pros and cons to his game. First, he is the prototypical size of a modern NFL running back. Second, he is a hard worker on and off the field, which is exactly what Brian Flores is looking for in any football player. Third, low center of gravity, so he has a good balance to beat off arm tackles. Fourth, he has experience as a core special teamer in 2018, which could be a good position for him in the NFL. On the contrary, he still has a few cons that he will have to get better at if he wants to become a starting running back. First, he lacks a burst in both the inside and outside of the hashes. Second, he needs better technique to be able to protect his quarterback in pass pro. Third, he is still training his eyes to be able to see the pass protection better. Overall, the Miami Dolphins could draft Perine to play special teams and potentially work had enough to make it onto the running back rotation. 

4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is 5’ 7”, 207 pounds, and runs a 4.6-second forty-yard dash. Edwards-Helaire rushed for 16 touchdowns, 1,414 rushing yards, and averaged 6.6 yards per attempt in his junior season. Also, he received one touchdown, 453 receiving yards, and had 55 receptions. On his NFL Draft Profile, he is graded at a 6.39, which means he should be a starting running back in his first two seasons. Edwards-Helaire is compared to Devonta Freeman, who was the starting running back for the Falcons from 2014 to 2019. 

Edwards-Helaire has many upsides to his game and also a few downsides. First, Edwards-Helaire’s ball security is outstanding for a college football player. Second, 36% of his carries were for first downs and touchdowns in his collegiate career. Third, he was a kick returner for three-seasons, which can help the Miami Dolphins on the kick and punt return units. Fourth, Edwards-Helaire can cut anywhere on the field without slowing himself down, which is a great trait to carry into the NFL. On the other hand, Edwards-Helaire is not perfect and still has some negatives to how he plays. First, he is a quick running back but does not have the speed to rush for longer runs. Second, Edwards-Helaire’s speed to the outside is just average. Third, he is a smaller running back which limits how he can run in the interior. Overall, Edwards-Helaire is a running back that could play on third-down and be a good returner for the Miami Dolphins. 

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Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) runs with the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin 

Jonathan Taylor is 5’ 11”, 219 pounds, and runs a 4.39-second forty-yard dash. Taylor rushed for 21 touchdowns, 2,003 rushing yards, and averaged 6.3 yards per attempt in his junior season. Also, he received five touchdowns, 252 receiving yards, and had 26 receptions. On his NFL Draft Profile, he is graded at a 6.41, which means he will be a starter within his first two seasons. Taylor is compared to Ryan Mathews (with durability), who played for the Chargers and Eagles from 2010 to 2016. 

Jonathan Taylor has some pros and cons in his collegiate career. First, he is prototypical weight, height, speed and durability of an NFL running back. Second, he knows how to sink, plant and cut which leads to amazing one cut talent. Third, if he gets into the open field he has outstanding breakaway speed because he used to run track. Fourth, he posses the talent to make some rushes go from nothing to something. On the flip side, he still has some cons to his running game. First, he had 15 fumbles in his three-year career, which concerns NFL coaches. Second, he lacks a fluid jump cut throughout the season. Third, occasional hesitation while running towards the interior of the defense. Overall, Taylor has the talent to be a franchise running back, but he needs to work on not fumbling the football. 

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Sep 21, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor (23) rushes with the football during the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2. Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State

Eno Benjamin is 5’ 9”, 207 pounds, and runs a 4.57-second forty-yard dash. Benjamin rushed for ten touchdowns, 1,083 rushing yards, and averaged 4.3 yards per attempt in his junior season. Also, he received two touchdowns, 347 receiving yards, and had 42 receptions. On his NFL Draft Profile, he is graded at a 6.12, which means he will be a good back up who could become a starting running back. Benjamin is compared to Devin Singletary, who plays for the Buffalo Bills. 

Eno Benjamin has some pros and cons to his running style. First, he has excellent three-down production as a starting running back. Second, at times when you think he’s tackled, he’s not. Third, he runs with an excellent competitive streak whether it be inside or outside. Fourth, he is a hard-nosed running back, with some pop at the end of his runs. However, he still has some cons to his running style. First, he had a noticeable drop in production from his 2018 season, which concerns NFL coaches. Second, one cut opportunities turn into lots of unnecessary moves. Third, he takes on heavy collisions too much. Overall, Benjamin would be a good back up who could potentially take the starting position if he works hard enough. 

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Sep 27, 2019; Berkeley, CA, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin (3) carries the ball during the first quarter against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

1. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

D’Andre Swift is 5’ 8”, 212 pounds, and runs a 4.48-second forty-yard dash. Swift rushed for seven touchdowns, 1,218 rushing yards, and averaged 6.2 yards per attempt in his junior season. Also, he received one touchdown, 216 receiving yards, and had 24 receptions. On his NFL Draft Profile, he is graded at a 6.78, which means he will be a good year one quality starter. Swift is compared to Frank Gore, who is a potential Hall of Famer and played for the 49ers, Colts, Dolphins, and Bills.

D’Andre Swift has some positives and negatives to his game. First, he has a compact build with a strong lower body and has three-down talent. Second, he understands his blocking schemes and trusts his offensive lineman to make the right blocks. Third, he gets right onto the linebacker before making a cut. Fourth, his hands are soft and sticky as a pass receiver. On the other side, he still has a few issues that he could try to improve as he grows as a football player. First, he is quicker than fast and he lacks a homerun burst. Second, his ball security is well below the league average. Third, he doesn’t always trust his vision as a short-yardage back. Overall, Swift could be a day one starter or he could be able to play back up a season and split snaps with Jordan Howard

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Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back D’Andre Swift (7) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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