As the 2014 draft approaches, many people are excited to see how the intensity and suspense of the first round unfolds, but what can easily go under the radar is the importance of solid middle and late round picks. Teams have to take a 6th round pick just as serious as the 1st, and for the Dolphins, the first few rounds, will no doubt be dedicated to solving the incredible offensive line deficit being faced. But another issue on the team must be addressed, and that’s the lack of rushing yard production last season. The Dolphins as a team collected a total of 1440 yards; as a total package including Tannehill scrambles, this is certainly a less than satisfactory stat. So for Miami to potentially be on the lookout for a 5th, 6th, or 7th round runningback could be a serious opportunity.
Two potential runningbacks that would be great pickups from the 5th round and on would be Stanford’s runningback Tyler Gaffney and UCF’s runningback Storm Johnson. Tyler Gaffney was a definite senior year surprise with an eye-turning breakout game against Oregon where he rushed for an astonishing 45 times for 157 yards (1709 yards total on the season). He would be the solid, lower-the-shoulder runningback to compliment Lamar Miller with a stout frame at 6 foot, 225 pounds. With a more dependable line to aid the run game at the line of scrimmage and open up holes between the tackles, rushing would feel just like college for Gaffney as Stanford is well-known for their old-fashioned, pro-style formation designed to run straight into the heart of the defense. Storm Johnson, another possible option, would produce a similar compliment to Miller as a largely framed runningback as well. Skepticism is circling around about whether Johnson is truly all that he was hyped up to be in the 2013 season because critics think he had it easier in a less competitive conference and that rushing with Blake Bortles as the quarterback opened up more holes out of demand for respect to Bortles’ ability as a running and passing threat. But Johnson had an impressive junior season nonetheless rushing for 1139 yards and 14 rushing TDs. Johnson isn’t the fastest runningback and his lack of speed could be a possible hindrance for him, but he is surprisingly a great receiving back. He had 30 receptions for 260 yards and 3 TDs, and was a dependable target for Bortles throughout the season. Either runningback would be a great pickup; Gaffney would be a great 5th round pick and Johnson either a 6th or 7th.