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A Few Options for Dolphins at Running Back

With the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine now underway, the Dolphins and their staff will be gleaming over every bit of information they can gain on players from now until draftday. So to prepare for the draft ourselves, we brought in draft expert Gil Alcaraz from DraftBreakdown.com, to analyze some of the prospects at the positions of need for the Dolphins. Gil’s first intake on Miami’s situation is on the running backs that will be available in this years draft.

With the 15th pick in the first round, the Dolphins should have their choice of any running back in the draft barring a team like New Orleans or New England trades up to snag one. With both of their top two running backs, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, most likely heading out of Miami this off-season, there is a dire need for a new number one runner in the Dolphins’ backfield. Here are a few of their options in the first two rounds that could come in and make an immediate impact.

Mark Ingram, Alabama

There is no running back in this draft class that is more NFL ready than Ingram. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner is one of the most promising running back prospects to enter the NFL in recent years, offering an excellent mix of power, size, speed, and quickness. He has terrific vision and finds cutback lanes with ease. There are some injury concerns in his past, but he proved this season that he could make a quick recovery and play just as hard after reentering the starting lineup. The Dolphins would be getting the next great NFL running back by taking Ingram with their first round pick.

Mikel LeShoure, Illinois

LeShoure burst onto the scene in 2010 with an impressive junior year for the Fighting Illini. He displayed tremendous burst and acceleration in open field, while still having the power to bowl-over defenders when he needed to. When running, he has a full head of steam and does everything he can to pick up tough yards after contact. Although he may not show as much on film as Ingram does, he has a very high ceiling and could easily be the best running back of the class. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg on LeShoure’s potential.

DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma

It would give Dolphins’ fans a reason to worry if they decided to take Murray. Murray is a very well-rounded running back who displayed plenty of spark during his years at Oklahoma. The biggest concern… He has had numerous injuries throughout his career and his durability is questionable at best. However, if he can stay healthy and keep injuries to a minimum, he could be a very productive NFL runner. When the offense puts the ball in the air, he displays excellent hands and also does an outstanding job of pass-blocking. He may not be the most explosive runner, but he does everything well and can definitely contribute to the Dolphins’ offense.

Shane Vereen, Cal

Somewhat similar to Jahvid Best from last year, another small, speedy Cal product enters the draft with high expectations and big “boom or bust” stamped on his forehead. Vereen is an elusive runner who uses an impressive combination of speed and pizzazz to weave his way through defenses. He has the speed to outrun just about any defender if he has the space to accelerate. He needs to learn to run harder and with a better base, but is hard-nosed and will finish off a run with tenacity. The passing game is where he will mostly shine in the NFL, as he is one of the most natural pass-catching running backs of the class.

Derrick Locke, Kentucky

The second round may be a bit of a reach for Locke, but there’s no question that he has the talent and skill set to contribute to the Dolphin’s offense. When he’s running the ball, he has a knack of making people miss in the open field and picks up extra yards after contact despite his small frame. His quickness and agility would allow him to be a great fit in the Dolphins’ Wildcat formation. When the offense throws the ball, he does a good job catching the ball out of the backfield and uses his speed to pick up yards after the catch. There is still plenty of room for him to grow as a running back and could really blossom into a productive NFL runner.


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