League’s Running Back Stockpile Could Help Dolphins Trade Down

31 Jan

It’s interesting to look at the RB needs in this year’s draft. We’ve previously profiled the many teams that could use a top quarterback, and how that might complicate matters for the SoFlo Sea Mammals’ draft. However, the exact opposite could prove true with the backfield, where the vast majority of teams seem to be in good shape. Let’s take a gander at the draft order, shall we?

1. Carolina (2-14) Jonathan Stewart, Deangelo Williams (almost certainly leaving), Mike Goodson
2. Denver (4-12) Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter
3. Buffalo (4-12) Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller
4. Cincinnati (4-12) Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott
5. Arizona (5-11) Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower (could leave)
6. Cleveland (5-11) Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty
7. San Francisco (6-10) Frank Gore, Anthony Dixon
8. Tennessee (6-10) Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer
9. Dallas (6-10) Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Marion Barber (could be gone)
10. Washington (6-10) Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, Clinton Portis
11. Houston (6-10) Arian Foster, Ben Tate
12. Minnesota (6-10) Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart
13. Detroit (6-10) Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith (could leave)
14. St. Louis (7-9) Steven Jackson, Kenneth Darby
15. MIAMI (7-9)

At this point we think it’s very likely that all running backs will still be on the board. Torain actually showed a great deal of promise for the Redskins. Keiland Williams made some noise too. Not to mention Washington is one of those teams in dire need of a quarterback. If they don’t snag Kyle Orton, Vince Young or Kevin Kolb before then, look for a signal caller to go to Washington at pick 10. Even if they don’t draft a quarterback, they should instead look to fix their 31st ranked overall defense, shouldn’t they? The Rams may start to snoop around for an heir apparent to Jackson, but they seem likely to look for a killer target for Bradford or a run-blocker.

So, with no RBs taken by 15, suppose the Dolphins decide to trade down to add a pick (most likely a 2nd). How is the rest of the first round looking as far as RB needs go?
16. Jacksonville (8-8) Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Jennings, Deji Karim
17. New England – from Oakland (8-8) Benjarvis Green-Ellis-Wilkins-Jones, Danny Woodhead
18. San Diego (9-7) Ryan Matthews, Mike Tolbert
19. New York Giants (10-6) Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw (one of the two may be gone), Danny Ware
20. Tampa Bay (10-6) LeGarrette Blount, Cadillac Williams
21. Kansas City* (10-6) Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones
22. Indianapolis* (10-6) Donald Brown, Joseph Addai (could leave), Javarris James, Mike Hart
23. Philadelphia* (10-6) LeSean McCoy, Jerome Harrison
24. New Orleans* (11-5) Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas (Could leave), Reggie Bush (Could leave)
25. Seattle* (7-9) Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett
26. Baltimore* (12-4) Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
27. Atlanta* (13-3) Michael Turner, Jason Snelling
28. New England* (14-2) Benjarvis Green-Ellis-Wellington-Heller-Smith, Danny Woodhead
29. Chicago* (11-5) Matt Forte, Chester Taylor
30. New York Jets* (11-5) Ladainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, James “Brian” McKnight
31. Green Bay* (10-6) James Starks, Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson
32. Pittsburgh* (12-4) Reshad Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman

So, at the end of round 1, how many slam dunk RB-needy teams will have picked? We don’t see one, necessarily. We don’t like New England popping up twice in there. They’ve got a lot of picks to play with, and though Benjarvis is solid, the Patsies have the luxury of playing the value chart. The Packers have to like what they’ve seen of Starks, and Chris Ivory was a revelation in New Orleans. Marshawn Lynch is probably going to get a stab at the starting gig in Seattle after his memorable Incredible Hulk impression.

So, say the Dolphins have decided to go RB, but they have two or three guys bunched very closely at the top of their wish list (Mark Ingram, Bilal Powell and Mikel LeShoure perhaps). It seems likely that we could trade all the way down (maybe even into the high second) and still grab one of their target backs.

Good to keep in mind. With so many needy teams on the clock, quarterback bargains may be harder to come by. But at running back, by and large, NFL teams are looking strong. Not to mention Deangelo Williams is almost definitely going to change teams, possibly before the draft. That will probably nix another team from the starting RB search.

Could be a good year to be in the market for a franchise back, at a reasonable price.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on the Twitter machine @thebottlenose

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