Miami Dolphins: What Happened to Running Back Daniel Thomas?

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IAugust 14, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins hands off to Daniel Thomas #33 during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While drama over the quarterback situation and the recent cutting of Chad Johnson headlines Dolphin activity in the media, there is another side story that has gone unnoticed.

A simple question must be asked of the organization. What happened to Daniel Thomas?

Drafted in the second round in the 2011 NFL Draft, many analysts penned Thomas to start from Week 1 of last season.

And he did have some starts last year. Thomas had a particularly productive game in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries and notching a receiving touchdown to his total—the only touchdown he scored all season.

When Reggie Bush exploded over the second half of the season, Thomas was relegated to second string on the depth chart, and that was where he remained for the remainder of the year.

His game-by-game production varied. He was constantly dropped behind the line for a loss of yards and was quickly taken off the field for Bush. Finishing the season with 581 yards and no rushing touchdowns, it was safe to say that the Kansas State star had a disappointing rookie season.

In the 2012 Draft, top-rated running back Lamar Miller from the University of Miami fell to the fourth round against all odds. With the 97th pick in the draft, the Dolphins felt that type of value could not be ignored and selected the Hurricane back.

As soon as Miller entered training camp, he impressed the organization with his work ethic and ability in his attempts to move up the depth chart.

Thomas did not play with the same drive.

And in the first game of the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miller again outplayed last year’s backup.

Although the Dolphins ran more than twice as many passing plays than rushing attempts as the squad looks to find a new receiving corps, there was still competition amongst the halfbacks. Bush returned to the field in good form, while Miller struggled to push past the Buccaneer defense with four yards on five carries, but notched two catches of his own.

The opportunity was there for Thomas, but in his two carries, he rushed for no gain and a loss of two yards. Although he had a catch of his own, his performance fell short of what he needed to do to challenge Miller for that backup role.

If this current trend continues throughout preseason, Lamar Miller could be usurping Thomas’ depth chart position.

And this will leave fans with one fundamental question: What in the world happened to Daniel Thomas?