Last season Lamar Miller finally got the chance to show the Miami Dolphins what he can do with enough touches on the ball. He’s the undisputed leading running back for them this season as well, but he’s going to face competition from Jay Ajayi.
There are other running backs on this team. LaMichael James, Mike Gillislee and Damien Williams, but that trio will be trying to make it on the roster. Ajayi, despite being a fifth round pick, is the leading candidate to be a backup to Miller and eventually take his place as the starter. Things change quickly for running backs the moment they stop producing at a high level.
Miller ran for 1019 yards last season, his third in the NFL. He carried the ball 216 times (averaging 5.1 per carry) and scored 8 touchdowns. Right now, that makes him one of the more efficient runners in the NFL among first-string running backs. However, competition at the position is fierce, and it won’t be surprising that the smallest sign of a drop off in his form will help someone else take his place.
Ajayi was the 149th overall pick in the draft after three very productive years at Boise State. He rushed for 1823 yards in 2014 and also caught 50 passes for 535 yards, scoring a total of 32 touchdowns. Teams were concerned about his knee, which is why he fell to the fifth round, but the Dolphins see him as a very good potential to become a three-down back, which means giving him the backup role makes a lot of sense.
The rest – James, Williams and Gillislee, saw very little action for the Dolphins last season. If they actually make the 53-man roster it’ll be an achievement for them considering the limited amount of touches they’ll get once they make it.