The Remarkable Rise of Myles Gaskin
A national television audience saw Thursday night what has become apparent in South Florida: Myles Gaskin is now the guy at running back for the Miami Dolphins.
Not Jordan Howard, who the Dolphins signed as a free agent in the offseason. Not Matt Breida, who the Dolphins aquired in a trade with the San Francisco on the third day of the 2020 NFL draft.
The guy has been Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick in 2019 who was inactive for the first half of his rookie season until he finally got a chance to play.
After coming off the bench but getting the most snaps at running back for the Dolphins in each of the first two games, Gaskin made his first NFL start in the 31-13 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night and again easily got the most snaps of any running on the team.
Through three games, Gaskin has carried the ball 38 times — or two more than he did his entire first season in the NFL. Gaskin leads the Dolphins not only in rushing yards with 152, he leads the team in receptions with 15.
As a matter of perspective, only two players in team history have led the team in rushing yards and receptions — Tony Nathan in 1985 and Troy Stradford in 1987.
So how did this happen?
It's quite simple. Gaskin simply has been the best Dolphins running back this year.
“He’s been productive," head coach Brian Flores said Friday. "He goes in there and runs it effectively, catches the ball, blocks in pass protection, plays some in the kicking game. He’s tough, he’s competitive and he’s been productive. If you’re productive in this league, you get more opportunities and that’s been the case for him.”
It's truly been quite a remarkable rise for Gaskin because even his roster spot didn't seem a given when training camp began.
But whereas 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage strugged enough in camp to get himself waived with an injury settlement — after a trade with the Jets had to be rescinded because of a failed physical — Gaskin thrived.
Gaskin simply looked like a different back from the outset this summer, stronger, quicker and more decisive when running the ball.
Gaskin said there were a couple of factors at play for his improvement.
"I think, obviously, just working out with the offseason, before, you always had school and stuff coming out of college," he said. "But kind of being able to make my body my assignment, in a sense, just taking care of it to the best of my abilities. And I think it’s just mind-set, absolutely. It’s just not playing at all last year made me more hungry for this year. Being able to get on the field and trying not to look bad. Last year was definitely a learning experience, definitely humbling experience. So, makes you hungry, not playing the game.”
Who knows whether Gaskin will remain the Dolphins' lead back throughout the season, but for right now he's most definitely feasting.