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2021 Miami Dolphins Training Camp Preview: Running Backs

Today, our training camp preview series takes us to the running backs' room. To reserve your spot at Miami Dolphins training camp, click the photo below.

Personnel Changes

Table inside Article
Additions Departures
Malcolm Brown (LAR) Matt Brieda (BUF)
Jordan Scarlett (DET) DeAndre Washington (UFA)
Gerrid Doaks (2021 NFL Draft)
Carl Tucker (2021 UDFA)

Coaching Staff

Eric Studesville is entering his fourth year with Miami and first as co-offensive coordinator. In addition to his new role, Studesville retains his role as the running racks coach. Studesville has worked as a running backs coach and run game coordinator dating back to 1997 when he was with the Chicago Bears. He was the interim head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2010 and moved to the role of assistant head coach with the Broncos until 2017 before joining the Dolphins in 2018.

Group at a Glance

Last season, the Dolphins found production from a collection of late-round selections and undrafted free agents. Myles Gaskin averaged 97.2 yard from scrimmage per game, 10th among all NFL running backs. His college teammate, and good friend, Salvon Ahmed led the team with 4.3 yards per rush in 2020, and his 31-yard gallop in the Week 15 win over New England was the longest of the year for Miami. Patrick Laird has been a mainstay on the Miami special teams – also a UDFA in 2019 – while newcomer Malcolm Brown also carved his path as a UDFA (2015) with the Rams. Gerrid Doaks was selected in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft and free agent acquisition Jordan Scarlett entered the league as a fifth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2019. Undrafted rookie Carl Tucker looks to make the switch from tight end to fullback.

The Cast

Claimed off waivers in August, and signed to the practice squad in September, Ahmed made his NFL debut in November. One week later, he made his first NFL start, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Chargers. On 86 touches as a rookie, Ahmed produced 380 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns. He ripped off nine runs of 10-plus yards and forced nine missed tackles on his 75 carries.

With 70 career games played, Malcolm Brown is the most experienced back on the Miami roster. He's rushed for 1,188 yards and 11 touchdowns with a myriad of contributions in the passing game and on special teams. Per Pro Football Focus, Brown has yet to allow a sack on 140 pass protection reps and has surrendered just three quarterback hits. Brown has also tallied seven tackles in 631 special teams reps played.

Brown also excels in short-yardage. Last season, he converted six of his eight rush attempts on third or fourth down and less than three yards to gain.

Doaks checks a lot of the boxes for a modern-day running back. At 228 pounds he packs a punch, using a strong lower-body to run through tackles and protect his quarterback in pass protection. Pro Football Focus charged Doaks with just one sack allowed in 130 career reps in pass pro. As a receiver, he added 407 yards and four touchdowns last season with the Bearcats without a dropped pass. Doaks averaged 14.4 yards per reception out of the backfield.

Praised by his coaches and teammates for his work habits, Gaskin rose from rookie on the practice squad in 2019 to Miami's primary back in 2020.

"I think the big thing about Myles from at least last year and going from Year 1 to Year 2 for him was his growth in football and what he learned and how dependable he became for what we needed done," Studesville said.

Despite missing six games, Gaskin led the team in snaps played among Dolphins running backs (453). His production validated the Dolphins belief in him as he piled up 584 yards on the ground, 388 through the air and five total touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per touch. Gaskin forced 31 missed tackles per Pro Football Focus and averaged 2.54 yards after initial contact, leading all Dolphins backs in both categories.

Making the team in 2019 as an undrafted free agent, Patrick Laird has worn many hats in his time with the Dolphins. Despite just 23 touches last season, Laird picked up a pair of crucial first downs in big victories (at Arizona and vs. New England) in addition to his work on special teams. In his two-year career, Laird has played 426 reps on special teams and recorded six tackles, per Pro Football Focus.

Scarlett played in nine games as a rookie with the Panthers in 2019. He carried the ball just four times but played 111 snaps on special teams. The former fifth-round pick rushed for 1,846 yards and 12 touchdowns at Florida. There, Scarlett displayed exceptional contact balance and quick feet that remain active in traffic.

Beginning his college career in Chapel Hill with the Tarheels, Tucker transferred to Alabama where he and the Crimson Tide captured a National Championship in 2020. During his six-year college career, Tucker played fullback, h-back, tight end and special teams – a true jack-of-all-trades. His tape is riddled with punishing blocks, showcasing the trait in which he takes the most pride-- his physicality.

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