Why the Dolphins RB room will be the group to watch this summer

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Now that we’re in the month of July, the smell of football is in the air and hitting like aromas from a July 4 barbeque. While there are still a few weeks until the Miami Dolphins open up Mike McDaniel’s first NFL training camp as a head coach, there’s a solid chance several players are not in vacation mode at the moment.

With an influx of talent in all areas and phases of football, a number of Dolphins could be in jeopardy of losing their role. Not only that, but some rooms also seem over-occupied at the moment, and cuts or trades could very well happen as Miami prepares to trim their roster through the summer and preseason.

When looking at the offseason acquisitions in South Florida, a certain room added three veterans through free agency, as well as an undrafted rookie. They joined a trio of contracted Dolphins in Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed as well as practice squad seventh-round 2021 draft pick Gerrid Doaks.

Ironically, the two Washington Huskie friends in Gaskin and Ahmed could be the ones with their work cut out for them. The emergence of rookie UDFA ZaQuandre White impressing in camp could make one or both expendable. Gaskin was a seventh-round pick in 2019, and Ahmed was an UDFA originally signed by San Francisco, but he ended up in Miami in 2020.

Gaskin could hold trade value if Miami is to go that route, and that wouldn’t be surprising at all based on general manager Chris Grier’s track record. If there’s a draft pick to potentially recoup, Gaskin would be the asset to send, leaving a three-way battle with Ahmed, Doaks and White to earn that fourth running back role.

Gaskin can be a very solid pass-catching back and has proved that so far in his career. Gaskin caught 49 passes for Miami last season for 234 yards and four receiving touchdowns. 2021 did see his lowest career output in both yards per carry (3.5) and yards per reception (4.8). Inversely, last season Gaskin averaged 4.1 yards per carry on the ground and 9.5 yards per catch.

Ahmed showed flashes in limited action in 2020 and 2021 but regressed in his production. As a rookie, he rushed for 319 yards on 75 carries, good for a respectable 4.3 yards per attempt. He found the endzone three times and added 11 receptions in just six appearances.

In two occasions in 2020, Ahmed recorded 20+ carries. He gained 85 yards and 122 yards in those games, scoring in each contest. The Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10 and New England Patriots in Week 15 with the help of Ahmed.

2021 was a different story, as Ahmed never went over eight carries. His yards per carry was 2.8, and he only rushed 54 times while seeing offensive action in 11 games.

This doesn’t bode spectacularly well for Ahmed or Gaskin, as the Miami rushing attack in 2022 could be brand-new, with potentially four or five backs yet to record an official rush for the Dolphins. Raheem Mostert was a Dolphin in 2015, but in his one game, he didn’t record a touch.

The Dolphins could run with Mostert, who had sparks of spectacular play while a 49er with McDaniel, as well as Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel as their three-headed committee. Mostert has electric speed and could be the game-breaker Miami sorely needs, while Edmonds could be the most relied upon back in both the rushing and receiving components. Look for Michel to be the short-yardage and goal-line back.

It will be interesting to see the battle between Doaks and White, as there’s no certainty there. Both could either make the team or practice squad. The running back room is certainly one to focus on this summer in training camp. McDaniel, who specializes in the running scheme, just may be the perfect evaluator.

Rookies report to training camp July 19, and fans will be able to watch practice live for a number of sessions.

List

List of Dolphins players heading into the final year of their contracts in 2022