Last season Kenyan Drake created one of the best memories in the history of the Miami Dolphins, but with Frank Gore now being a part of the Buffalo Bills, now Kenyan Drake will have to carry the load. Drake last season had four touchdowns, and 53 receptions, for 477 yards, but this coming season he will definitely be named the starting running back for the Dolphins.
Training camp is coming up in July and my second question is who will be Drake's back up? The Dolphins have Kalen Ballage, a two-year back from Arizona State who did see playing time carried the ball last season 36 times for 191 yards and one touchdown.
The Dolphins also have a three-year running back in Kenneth Farrow, who did not see any playing time last season and rookie Myles Gaskin was drafted in the seventh round, 234th overall.
The Dolphins also signed Patrick Laird from Cal, as an undrafted free agency, but if he has any hopes of carrying the load he has to make it through, not just the first cut in training camp, but the 53-man roster.
I am not taking my eye off of Mark Walton last season he carried the 14 times, for 34 yards, and no touchdowns. Walton spent one season in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and I still think he has potential to play in this league and he is a South Florida native out of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami and went on to play college football for the University of Miami Hurricanes from 2015-2017 and was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round with the 112th overall pick.
Dolphins first-year offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea and first-year running backs coach Eric Studesville should not have a real hard decision to make to see who earns the back-up role at the end of training camp at the end of August. Personally, I think we should see who carries the ball better through the preseason because that's when the front office can make the right and wrong decision on who to let go.
I trust Chris Grier though and definitely, Brian Flores comes from the most accomplished coaching tree and front office in the National Football League.
If any of these running backs have any hopes of playing the second string or even third string and see a good amount of playing time they are going to have to step up in training camp. Personally, I go by experience when it comes to learning an offense and playing so I think Kalen Ballage will earn the second string role at running back, due to the fact that he has already rushed for 191 yards in his limited playing time.
The third string spot should go to Kenneth Farrow, he has more experience than Ballage, but I will point out that Farrow has no carries as a Dolphin. I believe this is how the depth chart will look going into the first preseason game at home against the Falcons, but the Dolphins rising star at running back in my mind is definitely Mark Walton who I think will get a lot of carries in training camp.
Why don't I have Walton at least at third string? I see Walton more like a kickoff and punt returner and in Cincinnati last season he carried the ball 14 times, but he had no touchdowns. I bet signing Walton got Hurricanes fans attention big time, but it definitely turned my head because I watched him in college at Miami and I thought he was extremely talented due to the fact that he is a speedster.
The last Canes running back to make it big for the Dolphins was Lamar Miller, and Mark Walton definitely has a chance to do the same. Duke Johnson is doing well for the Browns, but he has fought injuries throughout his NFL career and I expect him to have a big year this year in a talented Browns offense and that should be a really tough game for the Dolphins.
Brian Flores retained running backs coach Eric Studesville from Adam Gase's staff a year ago so he knows these running backs quite well, but I think Flores should have cleaned house, in my opinion, to have a whole a new attitude on this staff.
I do have confidence though that Flores has brought a really a good attitude to South Florida from a really accomplished coaching staff in Foxborough from Bill Belichick's six Super Bowls. The Dolphins are coming into the 2019 season with hopes of returning to the playoffs soon, and they will also be in a quarterback triangle throughout training camp, but we will have just have to find out who Brian Flores decides to go with.
This story was written by Zach Blaine. Follow him on Twitter: @TheMiamiGator
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