MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 10: Miami Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel talks to the media during a press conference at Baptist Health Training Complex on February 10, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. McDaniel will be replacing the Dolphins' former head coach Brian Flores, who was fired on January 10 after back-to-back winning seasons. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins have some glaring needs this offseason- most of them being on the offense. The fins have ranked 31st, 29th, and 31th in the league in Yards Per Carry over the last 3 seasons. Now, not all of that is on the running backs as the offensive line has been just as to blame. Chris Grier has shown what he thinks about drafting running backs. They have drafted 2 running backs over the last 3 drafts, but they were both 7th round picks (Myles gaskin and Gerrid Doaks). As of now the Miami Dolphins only have 2 backs under contracts– Gaskins and Doaks.

In Mike McDaniel’s 3 seasons in San Francisco, he spent his first season as the Running Game Coordinator and the last two seasons as the team’s OC. In those 3 years the 49ers averaged over 4.3 yards per carry each season. It’s clear that he wants to establish the ground game. Here are 5 backs to keep an eye on as free agency opens on March 14th.

  • Melvin Gordon

    Melvin Gordon

    Melvin Gordon has done one thing consistently over his career- find the end zone. He’s scored 53 touchdowns over the last 6 seasons, never scoring more than 10 or less than 8. Gordon would be a high-profile back that the Dolphins haven’t had in quite some time. He will be 29 at the start of next season and might be a little too rich for the fins. But there is no doubt Gordon would add a pop to the running backs room it is in desperate need of.

  • Leonard Fournette

    He’s already played for the other two NFL teams in Florida, so why not complete the sweep? But seriously, Fournette has shown to be a difference maker going back to days at LSU. Fournette has had over 180 rushing attempts in 3 of his 5 NFL seasons, proving he’s a work horse. Fournette has only lost 1 fumble in his professional career also. At 27 (his birthday was in January) he should still have plenty left in the tank. He’s never played in the zone scheme McDaniel is going to bring to Miami, but I think he would be able to find a way to manage.

  • James Connor

    This is a guy who has a MASSIVE chip on his shoulder. While at Pitt he was diagnosed with cancer and told he had about a week to live. All he did was undergo treatment after treatment, get back on the field, get drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and establish himself as one of the hardest workers in the league. All of that is great, but he is also just a damn good running back. He’s averaged over 4 yards per carry in 4 of his 5 seasons, scored 37 touchdowns over the last four seasons, and only lost 3 fumbles in his career. He’s played smash mouth football while with the Steelers and finesse football with the Cardinals last season. He can do it all. His age is the best and worse thing going for him- at 27 next season, he’s still in his prime, but he’ll also be looking for a big payday. This guy is the type of guy any football team would love to have in their locker room.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson

    Okay, so he’s not a true running back… so what?! Patterson has shown throughout his career that his can make plays when the ball is in his hands- kickoff return, wide receiver, running back, it does not matter. I’d imagine Mike McDaniel coming from san Francisco where Deebo Samuel was used as a do everything football player could do similar things with Patterson. I don’t think a signing like Patterson addresses the running back position the same way the previous 3 backs would, but man would I love to see McDaniel’s creativity with a talent like Patterson.

  • Raheem Mostert

    I had to have a guy on this list that has a connection with McDaniel and the zone running scheme the 49ers have implemented over the past 3 years. There are plenty of reasons to stay away from a guy like Mostert- he’s only played in 9 games over the past 2 seasons, and only 1 last season, he’s never been “the guy” in a back field, and he’ll be 30 at the start of next season. However, when Mostert has been on the field, he has been one of the best backs in the league averaging 5.6 yards per carry over his career. He’s also a threat out of the back field averaging 10 yards per reception over the course of his career. And as for his age, he’s a 30 year old who should feel like a 26 year old. As I mentioned, he has only played in 9 games over the past 2 seasons, but he also only has 264 rushing attempts in his career. Don’t forget about that NFC Championship game from a few years ago where he had 220 yards on 29 carries and 4 touchdowns. Not to mention, having a back in the room who can explain the zone scheme will be like having another coach on the team.

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