A popular destination for first-round running backs in this year's batch of mock drafts is the Miami Dolphins--and for good reason.
In 2019, no team struggled to establish a top running back quite like the Miami Dolphins. After the departure of a struggling Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals, it appeared Miami-native Mark Walton could be the answer before he was promptly released for various crimes that inevitably cost him his job and NFL career. After Walton's spark was extinguished and Drake became a Fantasy monster in the desert, Kalen Ballage took over. He embarrassed himself by rushing for 1.8 yards per carry, totaling just 135 yards on 74 carries and allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the team in rushing. The offensive line was terrible; however, the backs post-Walton did nothing to help the situation. Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskins did little to help the ground game either.
The Dolphins have brought in Jordan Howard. Nevertheless, he has proven to be less than a star in the NFL. He's an average runner and miserable pass catcher. Phins' fans and fantasy owners alike are clamoring for a true stud back in Miami, and Jonathan Taylor is that guy.
We have once again seen the running back position be devalued this offseason after a brief resurgence. I firmly believe no running backs belong in the first round or very early second. However, if a back is drafted that early, it will be by a team with extra draft capital like the Dolphins. We saw the Raiders with a stockpile of high picks last year are the teams most likely to reach for a running back as they did with Josh Jacobs.
Taylor checks all the boxes when it comes to measurables and durability for a pro rusher. He possesses the size and speed they look for in the league, and his durability has been incredible as a true every-down back. He must improve as a pass-catcher and protecting the ball, but almost every rookie has flaws in their game. His are limited and very fixable. He's an every-down back that can block and knows how to find the end zone. If he lands in Miami, there is little doubt he’ll be the first rookie running back off draft boards and a contender for the first-overall pick in dynasty rookie drafts. Fantasy owners do not fear or value Jordan Howard and rightfully so.
In this Wisconsin Maven article evaluating Taylor, SI's Kevin Hansen said this about a possible in Miami:
On where he sees Taylor going in the NFL Draft:
"I think he's in the mix (to be drafted in the first round). So I've had a lot of mock drafts -- almost one a week - and I have four more coming up so it's not going to stop. I've had Taylor at some points in the first round, at the end of the first round. I think teams like Miami, who could use a running back -- I know they added Jordan Howard -- but Baltimore I think could be an interesting spot.
Taylor holds even more value in keeper or dynasty leagues as he will evolve into an undisputed feature back early in his career. With Miami having a ton of cap space, draft picks, and already making moves in free agency, the offensive line should become substantially better and show vast improvement. Taylor added to Miami would be the perfect marriage for fantasy owners.
The biggest concern you're going to hear about Taylor is his college workload. That said, I don't believe any team should draft a running back looking five years into the future, and they certainly shouldn't give them those huge second contracts. Fantasy owners shouldn't be looking that far ahead with running backs either. The position is far too volatile, and they don't have a long enough shelf life. You can get four to five great years out of Taylor, barring a significant injury. Taylor is the best RB prospect to come out in the past two years and should be treated as such by fantasy owners without hesitation.
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