Miami Dolphins: Glaring Hole at Running Back as Lamar Miller Is Not the Answer

Richard SantamariaCorrespondent IIMarch 27, 2014

Nov 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) runs the ball as Carolina Panthers cornerback Melvin White (23) and strong safety Robert Lester (38) attempt the tackle in the second quarter of a game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

In his second professional season, Lamar Miller was given an opportunity as Miami's featured back and failed miserably.  While some may blame the Dolphins' offensive line, Miller was far from a game-breaker. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Miller was 32nd among all running backs with 364 yards after contact in 2013, averaging 2.1 yards after contact, per attempt.  

Those who watched the Dolphins closely last year saw a starting running back who was either too weak to break tackles or unwilling to fight for extra yardage in an attempt to extend his career.  Either scenario proves that Miller is venom for Miami's ascension.

Daniel Thomas was given 109 carries last season, which is perplexing after he had already proven to be a pedestrian rusher through his first two seasons.  In 2013, Thomas rushed for 409 yards and averaged 3.7 yards per carry, staying near his career average of 3.6 yards per carry.  The 2011 second-round pick has proven to be another of Jeff Ireland's busts.  The fact that Joe Philbin and his staff felt Thomas deserved only 68 less carries than Miller bodes terribly for Miller and Mike Gillislee, the latter receiving only six carries for the entire season.

The Miller experiment is over no matter what Philbin has said.  It was a very telling year for the young running back who will likely be relegated to the second team.  As far as Thomas goes, Miami held on too long.

The Dolphins have taken a close look at Knowshon Moreno, who had nearly 1600 yards from scrimmage last season with the Broncos.  Moreno is likely an upgrade from Miller but he may be fool's gold as Peyton Manning can make anyone look good.  The team that signs Moreno will likely pay too much.  Maurice Jones-Drew is a buy-low candidate but the 29-year-old may not have much left after 1,804 career rushing attempts.

If Miami doesn't bring in a starting running back in free agency, they will select one of the country's top running backs in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Make no mistake about it, Auburn's Tre Mason will get a hard look from the Dolphins if their cupboard has Miller as its tastiest treat.  Mason, a product of South Florida (Palm Beach), is rated as the draft's top running back and CBS Sports has compared him to Ray Rice.