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Dolphins non-existent recent history of taking running backs in 1st round

Florida Football Insiders



Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) runs the ball against the New York Jets during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

At the outset, most NFL teams have put in to practice “group think,” when it comes to shying away from taking running backs in the first round, especially early, of the NFL Draft. And the Dolphins would certainly fit in that category.

You remember “group think” from your high school or college psychology 101 classes, don’t you?

It basically says, that an individual (or team) can and likely will, if it stays and listens to the group give opinions long enough, lose it’s own ability think, reason, etc. Instead, it will take on those group opinions, right or wrong, based in reality and facts or not, and even, adopt them, as their own.

This brings us back to the new mentality of the last 5-10 years that the “group think” of NFL teams has: “Don’t take a running back in the first round.”


This is because the “group” believes that you can still get quality running backs later in the draft (not always true).

Of course, that same argument can be made of any position, including ones like offensive and defensive linemen, which there are always dozens of that can help you and are available on day 2 and day 3 of the draft.

As for the Dolphins, while their running game has floundered mostly for 20 years or more, they have spent exactly one, uno, single first round pick on a running back in the 2000’s. That was the second overall pick in the ’05 draft on Auburn’s Ronnie Brown.

Brown ended up playing six seasons in Miami rushing for just over 4,800 yards, 4.3 avg., and 36 TDs. He was selected to one Pro Bowl (2008) and only had one, 1,000 yard rushing season (2006).

Certainly not a spectacular career, but also not a reason to stay away from drafting a back in the first round indefinitely. Or, at least in the Fins case, the last 13 drafts.

In fact, the Dolphins haven’t taken a running back in the second round either, over these last 13 years.

Kenyan Drake was a third round pick two years ago, and Jay Ajayi, who had the monster season in 2016 was fifth round pick in ’15.

Clearly, the “group think” is alive and well in South Florida.

That’s not to say that the Dolphins haven’t addressed, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, other needs in the first round, but clearly, the past regime’ or the current one, subscribe to the mentality of, “we’ll take one later.”

In looking at an even larger sample, the Dolphins have only spent a first round pick on a running back two other times in 30 years! Only John Avery of Ole Miss in 1998 (28th) and former FSU star Sammie Smith with the ninth pick  in 1989 were grabbed in round one. Neither were spectacular and Smith is more known for his drug arrest and serving prison time than toting the football in the aqua and white.

Look, the Dolphins have a couple of pressing needs. Offensive line is one, but also, running back of the future is another.

All we are writing on a Monday morning is: the Rams, Cowboys, and Jaguars all helped themselves tremendously by grabbing an impact back in the beginning of the draft over the past few years.

Miami would be foolish not to look hard at someone like LSU’s Derrius Guice with the 11th pick in April.

Don’t let the “group” over think it for you.

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