The Dolphins didn't trade three picks to draft just any college running back. They targeted a player who proved he could handle a big workload in college, because he might need to start Day One. Miami moved into the second round to draft Kansas State's Daniel Thomas, a big back who was very productive in the Big 12. We are still hearing that neither Ricky Williams nor Ronnie Brown is expected to be back in 2011, putting Thomas atop the RB depth chart. Thomas carried the ball 298 times in his senior season, and even with defenses keying on him he ran for 5.3 yards per carry. With Korey Sheets and Lex Hiliard the only two backs under contract, Thomas is looking at getting more than 200 carries in his rookie season.
When free agency begins, the Dolphins likely will double down by adding a veteran back. Head coach Tony Sparano has said the team will continue to run the football, preferably with two backs. The potential free-agent back that the Dolphins will be pushing for is DeAngelo Williams, who has said he'd like to play in Miami. But if 2010 rules are applied, Williams will be a restricted free agent. Another potential free-agent target would be Darren Sproles to add a scatback and continue the team's offseason upgrade on speed.
While a veteran back would take carries away from Thomas, the Dolphins would like to continue the success they had in 2008 and ’09 with split backfields, so the rookie should still get plenty of touches.
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