When the Miami Dolphins drafted Mike Gillislee in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, most draft pundits felt like the Dolphins got real value with the pick. Running backs are typically underdrafted, and for a player with the skills of Gillislee to slip that far meant that the Dolphins got a real steal.
Gillislee really came on strong during his senior season, recording 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is a near perfect mix of power and quickness, with neither overshadowing the other. And even though he proved to be a workhorse in the 2012 season, he was more of a running back by committee during the previous years, so he’s coming into the league with fresh legs and lots of carries in him. I continued to be more and more impressed with Gillislee as each week went on. Florida had very little threat to throw the football, and he continued to churn out yards.
But what can he hope for this season? He will enter training camp as one of three running backs on the roster; the other two running backs are Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, neither of whom have secured a starting spot at this point. I understand that most Dolphins fans consider Miller the starter and believe the battle will be between Thomas and Gillislee for the backup spot. I suppose that is the case, but Miller has one career start and 250 total yards. I have to believe that the running back competition is going to be wide open come training camp, and the best back will prevail. I suspect during training camp Dolphins fans will see all three backs play well at different times and garner the praise of the coaching staff, but once the regular season starts, we’ll almost certainly see a committee approach in the backfield. But make no mistake, of all the backs on the roster, Gillislee might be the one with the best overall talent of the three and give the Dolphins the best chance to win with him starting.