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2020 NFL Draft: Espin’s Top-3 Running Backs

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the moment, the Dolphins hold six running backs on the roster in newly signed Jordan Howard, Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin, Samaje Perine, and De’Lance Turner.

Looking at this list you can deduce that the Fins could use a boost to their backfield for this upcoming season. Luckily for Miami, there are many options that will be available to select with their 14 draft picks.

Here are my top-3 running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft.

D’Andre Swift, Georgia

Overview

His name speaks for itself, the former Georgia Bulldog has had an impressive career throughout his time in Athens. He exploded onto the scene with 618 rushing yards and 3 TDs on just 81 carries in an extremely talented backfield with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. His impressive freshman season led to him being named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

As a sophomore, he started 5 of 14 games and led the Bulldogs in rushing with 1,049 yards and 10 TDs on 163 carries (6.4 YPA). On top of being productive running the ball, He also showed an aptitude for catching the ball, catching 32 passes for 297 yards (9.3 YPC).

In 2019, he became the full-time starter and had a season that led to him earning first-team All-SEC honors. Swift played in all 14 games despite having a shoulder injury that restricted him to 11 starts. He built on his success with 1,218 yards and 7 TDs on 196 carries (6.2 YPA). In addition, he caught 24 passes for 216 yards (9 YPC) and a receiving TD.

Positives

He has shown the ability to run effectively outside the tackles. He does this with a distinctive combination of physicality, speed that maximizes space in the second level. His pass-catching prowess has helped him develop reliable hands for the NFL level.

Negatives

One of the weaknesses of the UGA back is his durability. Swift’s punishing way of running has become another concern for teams in the long run. Another concern about Swift revolves around ball security. His low carries per-fumble is well below the NFL average.

NFL COMP: Dalvin Cook / Miles Sanders

JK Dobbins, Ohio State

Overview

JK Dobbins has had a hell of a career at Ohio State. He became a starter right away as a true freshman and emerged as a can’t miss player. He started every game and earned second-team All-Big 10 honors. Dobbins racked up 1,400 yards and 7 TDs on the ground, as well as 22 receptions for 135 yards and through the air. The Buckeye won MVP of the Big 10 Championship Game. He finished the season as the seventh-ranked RB in the nation in terms of yards per carry.

JK once again earned a second-team All-Big 10 nod as a sophomore. That season, he started 12 out of 14 games. Statistically, the back rushed for 1,053 yards and scored 10 times on 4.6 yards per carry. He also caught 26 passes for 285 yards that season.

Dobbins saved his best for last, finishing as a Heisman candidate his junior season. The Buckeye received second-team AP All-American honors as well as the Big 10 Running Back of the Year honors. JK finished the year with an insane 2,003 rushing yards, one of only three FBS backs to do so that year. He had a knack for getting into the end zone with 21 rushing TDs. Dobbins contributed to the passing game with 23 catches for 247 yards.

Positives

He has shown durability, never missing a game in his three seasons in Columbus. He is good at running in zone blocking plays, allowing linemen to block before bursting out of the backfield. When faced with contact, he doesn’t lose much balance. His center of gravity allows him to stay balanced through contact. Dobbins is best when getting outside. He is able to start and stop on the dime.

Negatives

Dobbins has improved as a receiver over the past three seasons, but can use some improvement. Another knock on him is his lack of pass protection. Working on blitz identification would be huge for him. I can see Dobbins being a second-round guy just like D’Andre Swift. If the Fins were going to go ahead and select him I could see it being done with the 39th pick.

NFL Comp: LeSean McCoy / Marlon Mack

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Overview

Playing behind the nation’s top offensive line has its benefits, Jonathan Taylor can attest to that. As a freshman in Madison, Taylor was a second-team AP All-American, Big 10 Freshman of the Year, and a Doak Walker Award finalist. He did all this as a true freshman. He compiled 1,977 yards on 299 carries with 13 TDs in 14 games.

In his follow up campaign, he led the FBS in rushing yards with 2,194 yards. He reached the end zone sixteen times. Taylor won the Doak Walker Award, as well as UNANIMOUS First-Team All American honors. He was named first-team All-Big Ten and RB of the year in the conference. Taylor was awarded the Badgers’ Pinstripe Bowl MVP following a dominant performance in a win vs Miami. His freshman and sophomore rushing total ranks as the third-best two year run in NCAA history.

In 2019, Jonathan Taylor once again topped the 2,000-yard mark. The Badger repeated not only the Doak Walker Award, but also being a First-Team All-American and Big 10 RB of the Year. He had 2,003 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in his junior season. He showed improvement as a pass-catcher, with 26 receptions, 252 yards, and 5 TDs.

Positives

Taylor has shown that he is scheme proof and that he can succeed in bothering zone and man/gap blocking concepts. He has a built body and is a workhorse that has that mentality when he steps onto the gridiron. The back has never missed significant time despite having accumulated over 400 carries at Wisconsin. He can run inside and out and can shoulder the bulk of the carries if you need him to.

Negatives

The main concern with Taylor is his ball security. Taylor recorded 18 fumbles in 41 games. He has fumbled 1 out of every 54 carries, way above a normal mark. However, his remarkable numbers and his 4.39 forty time makes him the most eye-grabbing running back in the draft.

NFL COMP: Fred Taylor / Frank Gore

Miami Hurricanes Lead Writer. From a young age I’ve always been drawn to sports and writing about sports is something I am very passionate about. I’m currently a high school student that runs a Canes news page @canesaccess and a Fins account @finsaccess

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