The Miami Dolphins surely envisioned running back Daniel Thomas making a big impact after using a second-round pick on him in 2011, but through two seasons that has not happened. Reggie Bush emerged as the team’s primary back, leaving the Kansas State product in a minimized role.
Thomas’s 2012 campaign came to an end after 12 games due to a knee injury that required offseason surgery, and he finished with 91 carries for 325 yards and four touchdowns along with 15 catches for 156 yards. His rushing yardage and carry totals dropped off a lot from 2011 (165 carries for 581 yards), despite playing just one fewer game, but Thomas only scored one total touchdown as a rookie (zero rushing).
Bush signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency, and the Dolphins look certain to give 2012 fourth-round pick Lamar Miller every chance to take over as their starting tailback. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald suggested earlier in the offseason that Thomas was not a candidate to start, and that seems to have been confirmed during OTAs with reports he worked as Miami’s clear-cut No. 2 running back.
Thomas looks to have a spot on the Dolphins’ 53-man roster locked up, but rookie Mike Gillislee may give him legitimate competition to be Miller’s primary backup during training camp. Thomas could carve out a role for himself as Miami’s goal line back, but overall he may have trouble holding his current spot on the depth chart all season. In any case, 2013 is shaping up as a make-or-break campaign for Thomas and his future with the Dolphins.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.