Dolphins draft preview: RB

With the 2005 NFL draft fast approaching, we take a look at the Dolphins' situation at each position along with a prediction as to what the team might do during the draft. This story looks at the running back position.

As you peruse the multitude of mock drafts that are available everywhere (magazines, Internet, radio shows, you name it), you will more often than not see the Dolphins picking a running back -- usually Ronnie Brown of Auburn -- with the second overall selection.

And why not?

The Dolphins had major running back problems last year after Ricky Williams bailed on them and they went through a succession of ball carriers throughout the 2004 season.

Travis Minor, Leonard Henry, Lamar Gordon, Brock Forsey, Vick King, Sammy Morris -- the list goes on and on.

Of the bunch, Morris was about the only one who had decent success, but he battled minor injuries and doesn't look like a long-term answer at halfback. In fact, it's expected he will be used at fullback next season.

Minor, Gordon and Forsey remain on the roster, but Minor is a third-down back and nothing more; Gordon remain an unproven commodity; and Forsey has the look of a journeyman.

It is because of the absence of a feature back that picking a running back at No. 2 seems to make so much sense.

But is it really a slam dunk? Actually, no.

First, there's the Ricky Williams issue. Don't discount the possibility of him returning to the Dolphins at some point, even though that's obviously less than certain.

Of greater significance -- as with the quarterbacks -- is the lack of a sure thing at No. 2.

Ronnie Brown looks like a very good prospect, but the truth is he only vaulted himself to the top of the halfback chart after his stellar performance at the combine.

Remember that it was Carnell Williams and not Brown who was the starter in Auburn's absurdly rich backfield last season.

The feeling remains here that the Dolphins' first choice, by far, would be to trade down. If they stay put, Ronnie Brown certainly would be a possibility. But he's not the slam dunk that many people would have you believe.

At fullback, the Dolphins got rid of longtime starter Rob Konrad in the offseason, but they still apear in good shape at this position with Morris, Jamar Martin and free agent acquisition Heath Evans.

In fact, it would be a shock to see the Dolphins spend any of their draft picks on a fullback this year.


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