CAMP COUNTDOWN: RUNNING BACKS

As the Dolphins prepare for the start of training camp, we take a close position-by-position look at the roster, including a prediction of who will start and make the 53-man squad. Today we look at the running backs.

Everything here starts and ends with Ricky Williams. He clearly is the Dolphins' best player. Period.

Williams rushed for over 1,300 yards last season, and the talk was about how things could have gone better. That's the luxury the Dolphins now have at the position.

His backup at tailback once again figures to be Travis Minor, who is not explosive but is very steady. In other words, he's just fine in limited action but he's not the answer if Williams goes down for any length of time.

The other three halfbacks on the roster are Leonard Henry, Fred Russell and Renaldo Works.

Works, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma, appears to have no shot at making the roster, so we won't spend any time on him.

But there could be a battle between Henry, who the Dolphins like, and Russell, another undrafted rookie.

Russell is very small, but he's also very quick and could find himself a niche as a third-down back and kick returner. He was very impressive in the offseason and he could wind up unseating Henry with a strong showing at camp.

At fullback, the Dolphins have four players on the roster — Rob Konrad, Sammy Morris, Ben Moa and Doug Easlick.

Barring something very weird, Moa and Easlick have no shot at making the roster.

But there could be a surprise in store here, and that would be Morris having a chance to unseat Konrad as the starter.

The Dolphins know what Konrad can do, but they also have been very impressed with Morris since he joined the team in the offseason.

Where Morris has an edge on Konrad is as a runner because Morris has experience as a tailback.

Any way it shakes out, the Dolphins are in a very good shape at this position — so long as Williams stays healthy.

The way we see it, Williams, Minor and Russell will make the team at tailback, with Konrad and Morris at fullback. Your starters will remain the same, Williams and Konrad.

Next time we'll look at the defensive line.


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