It's no secret that second-year running back Lamar Miller is going to be a pivotal part of the Miami Dolphins' offense in 2013. After Reggie Bush's departure this offseason to the Detroit Lions, Lamar Miller was essentially handed the keys to the starting running back job.
Now, in the NFL, no job is safe (unless you're Tom Brady or Peyton Manning). Lamar Miller is going to have to prove himself during training camp, but all signs are pointing to the former Hurricane being the featured back in Miami's new-look offense.
In limited time, Lamar Miller made the most of opportunities. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 51 attempts while sharing the load with veterans Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush.
While on the field, Miller looked like the fastest running back that Miami had, even compared to Bush.
In the only two games that Miller saw 10 or more carries, he averaged 6.9 yards per carry.
While he did struggle in blitz-pickup as a rookie, early reports from Miami Dolphins Organized Team Activities is that Miller is looking a lot more comfortable in those situations.
As mentioned in the section above, Miller only carried the ball 51 times during the 2012 season. He had double-digit carries just twice, and his carries during those game stopped at 10.
Also mentioned above was the fact that Miller struggled picking up the blitz during game-situations. That played a big factor in why he didn't see the field more, and if he didn't make a big improvement in that area, he could lose playing time during passing situations during the 2013 season.
Miller was also targeted only eight times in the passing game, making six receptions and averaging 7.5 yards per reception. In order for him to make a long-lasting impact, he's going to need to do more than just run the ball -- he will need to prove he is reliable as a pass-catcher and as a blocker.
Even going back to his days at the University of Miami, Miller was primarily used for his running ability -- not as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. For every 10 touches Miller had, nine of those touches were runs.
Can Miller shoulder the load? Yes, that was a terrible pun referring to the shoulder injury Miller had issues with during his final year at The U. That's one of the reasons why Miller slid down to Miami in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Scouts had questions about Miller's durability coming out of Miami, saying that Miller "lacks the size to be a bell-cow back."
There's no question that Lamar Miller will be given the opportunity to show what he's got. Other than that, there's still questions across the board. Can Miller handle blocking on passing downs? Can he handle 200 or more carries during a 16-game NFL season? Will he continue to improve?
Even with those questions, there's one fact that surrounds Lamar Miller's future: He is the most talented running back on Miami's roster.
Given that fact, and the potential that Miller has to be one of the premier up-and-coming running backs in the NFL, Miller lands at the 10 spot on Miami's player power rankings. Obviously, this is subject to change, given the impact he could make on the field during 2013.
Stay tuned for the 9th-best player on the Miami Dolphins.