2004 DRAFT PREVIEW: RUNNING BACKS

As the weekend of April 24-25 approaches, we preview the 2004 NFL draft with a series examining the top prospects at each position, how the Dolphins stands at each position and what the Dolphins might do at each position. We continue our series with a look at the running backs.

The top prospects

Unlike the quarterback position, it's not a great year at the running back spot. There really is no stud prospect and there are only a handful considered good enough to get picked in the first two rounds. The best of the bunch appears to be Steven Jackson from Oregon State, but he's no Marshall Faulk or Ricky Williams. Kevin Jones from Virginia Tech disappointed scouts with a mediocre workout at his school and now might not get drafted until the second round. Greg Jones from Florida State is huge, and he's a good fit for a team looking for a Jerome Bettis type. But Jones is so limited as a receiver that he won't be an every-down back in the NFL. There's also Chris Perry from Michigan, who racked up big numbers but simply doesn't do anything particularly overwhelmingly well. Another name to remember is Tulane's Mewelde Moore, who looks like a tremendous prospect as a third-down back.

The Dolphins situation

This is one of the most stable positions on the team because of the presence of Ricky Williams on the roster. Travis Minor is a restricted free agent, but he probably won't get an offer sheet before next Friday's deadline and he should be back to once again provide solid backup work. And we're not even mentioning Leonard Henry, a guy the Dolphins remain high on. Henry started off his NFL Europe season in style as he earned Offensive Player of the Week honors. It would be surprising if those weren't the three running backs on the roster come September.

What the Dolphins might do

With the Dolphins' needs along the offensive line and in other places, getting a halfback through the draft really isn't a high priority. In the mid-to-late rounds, the Dolphins might think about grabbing one if there's a good prospect available who also happens to be a good kick returner. But it wouldn't be surprsing if the Dolphins ignored this position entirely come the weekend of April 24-25.

Next up: The wide receivers.


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