The Miami Dolphins have several huge needs to fill in the draft, but running back is not among them.
With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams set to split the majority of the carries in the Dolphins' backfield, at first impression, the idea of Miami selecting a running back in the draft seems unreasonable.
But what about the idea of the Dolphins trading up into the Top Ten to try and snag Clemson's C.J. Spiller?
According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Dolphins and Giants are the two teams most interested in trading up in order to increase their chances of selecting Spiller. Currently, Miami holds the 12th pick, so trading up a couple of spots probably wouldn't come at an overly high cost.
Earlier in the year, it might have seemed like a stretch to even talk of Spiller as a top ten pick, but his stock has been quickly rising throughout the offseason. The former Clemson Tiger is an exceptional talent, so it isn't surprising to see him get his due.
He's a rare blend of speed and power, the type of game-breaker that just doesn't come around often. He has sky-high potential as a return man, can play out of the slot or in the backfield, and has the intelligence to pick up an NFL offense about as quick as anyone.
When you're talking about Spiller, one stat stands out above all the rest. In his four years at Clemson he had 21 touchdowns of over 50 yards. That's an incredible number, one that tells you immediately what kind of potential this 22-year-old brings to the table.
Running backs generally transition to the pros faster than other skill positions, so it's safe to assume Spiller wouldn't have an issue translating his collegiate success to the NFL.
But does that necessarily mean the Dolphins should attempt to draft him?
Miami has a stable of proven running backs already on the books for the 2010 season, but the situation isn't as firm as a first glance might appear. Ronnie Brown is coming off major foot surgery, Ricky Williams is 32 years old, Patrick Cobbs tore his ACL last season, and Lex Hilliard has 23 career carries.
So while Miami has a lot of bodies at the position, they all come with a certain level of uncertainty. Adding Spiller to the mix would quell a lot of those concerns. The Dolphins have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL; Spiller would run wild behind that bunch, you can bet on that.
General manager Jeff Ireland and Head Coach Tony Sparano have both repeatedly spoke of adding a play-making, run-after-the-catch talent to the passing game, but Spiller hasn't really been mentioned as a the solution to those needs.
Spiller has the potential to make the kind of impact the Dolphins are looking for not only in the passing game, but as a running back and return man as well. Right now, he has better play-making ability than anyone on the roster.
He isn't a receiver, but he isn't your average running back either. Spiller had 1,420 receiving yards and caught 11 touchdowns in his four seasons at Clemson. Add in his 2,621 return yards and another eight touchdowns, and you're talking about a dangerous and potent all-around weapon.
And that's not even mentioning his obvious talent as a runner.
Spiller can line up practically anywhere on the field and be a threat to take it to the house on any given play. He's exactly the type of play-maker Miami is looking for. The more you look at it, the more sense it makes for them to pursue him.
His addition would certainly mean the end of Ronnie Brown's Dolphins tenure, but Brown's future with Miami is up in the air anyway.
It's difficult to say exactly where the Dolphins would need to trade up to, or even if they'd need to trade up at all, to select Spiller. He may go as high as Cleveland at No. 7 or might still be on the board when Miami selects at No. 12.
But with other teams targeting Spiller as well, the safe move would be to move into the Top Ten and not risk losing out—assuming Spiller is Miami's first-choice on draft day.
What if that meant shipping Ronnie Brown to the Browns and a swap of first-rounders? What if it meant swapping first-rounders and throwing in a third-round pick?
With so many holes to fill and every draft pick coveted so highly, is that really something the Dolphins would consider doing? It goes against the grain of operations, to say the least; but Spiller is a talent worth taking that kind of gamble on.
Nose tackles, wide receivers, pass-rushers, and safeties could all be available in the later rounds. But a talent like Spiller is a very rare thing. Teams get a chance to draft players like that once in a blue moon.
So before you dismiss the idea entirely, think for a moment what kind of instant impact he would have on Miami's offense. Do you see Ronnie Brown, Dan Williams, Dez Bryant, Earl Thomas, Derrick Morgan, or any other player doing more for this team?
If you don't, hop on the C.J. Spiller bandwagon while there's still room. Because if he does end up being Miami-bound, it won't be long before that wagon will be packed full of fans.