The Miami Dolphins may have finally found their running back through free agency.
Denver Broncos free agent running back Knowshon Moreno is due to visit the Dolphins on Friday. The free agency period began more than a week ago, and the Dolphins showed little interest in addressing the running back position through free agency. In fact, Moreno will be the first running back to even visit the Dolphins since free agency started.
It’s well known by now that Miami’s rushing attack ranked 26th in the NFL, with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas leading the attack.
Miller will be entering his third year in 2014, and it’s unclear whether he’s even cut out to be a starting running back in the NFL. By bringing in Moreno, Miller can at least be a complementary back, a role in which he succeeded in 2012. Miller ran for 4.9 yards per carry in limited action on 51 rushing attempts.
Thomas is a former second-round draft pick out of Kansas State. Through three years in the NFL, it’s safe to say he is a bust — he has never averaged more than 3.6 yards per carry in a single season in his three-year NFL career.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald took a look at some statistics from Pro Football Focus in comparing Moreno to Thomas and Miller. Some of the interesting things he found from PFF was that Moreno wasn’t a home run threat. He had just five rushing attempts that went for at least 20 yards. Both Miller and Thomas had four such attempts each. The difference is, Moreno had 241 carries, while Miller had 177 such attempts and Thomas had 109 attempts.
Although Moreno isn’t a threat to take it to the end zone from 80 yards out, his contributions are significant in other areas. He ranked eighth as a pass blocker among all running backs. Miller ranked 33rd, and Thomas ranked 34th out of 55 running backs ranked.
Moreno also ranked in the top five amongst all running backs in receptions and receiving yards. He had 60 receptions for 548 yards in the passing game.
Although Moreno may have looked better in the Broncos’ offense, in part due to his supporting cast, there is little doubt that Moreno is an all-around back. At the very least, the veteran running back can improve the Dolphins by blocking for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and providing a safety valve for Tannehill in the passing game.
Moreno would be an immediate upgrade over Miller and Thomas in 2014.