For the second time under Head Coach Brian Flores and General Manager Chris Grier's tenure together, the Miami Dolphins utilized a seventh-round draft pick on a running back.
With the 244th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Dolphins chose Gerrid Doaks out of Cincinnati. A 228-pound running back, Doaks made his hay at the college ranks through physical runs, special teams contributions, and the required skills in the passing game for him to stay on the field for all three downs.
"Obviously, he's has had injuries, but we've got the utmost confidence in him as a ball-carrier, him as a (pass) protector and him as a leader," Cincinnati Head Coach Luke Fickell said. "That gives the guy a little bit more of a leg up."
Doaks developed as a rusher during his time at Cincinnati, sharing the backfield with current NFL players Mike Boone (Denver) and Michael Warren II (most recently with Washington) in 2019. Doaks carved out a more significant role with the Bearcats in 2020 through his reliable pass protection and receiving ability.
Doaks showed that dual-threat ability by tallying 407 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns out of the backfield last season. He didn't drop a single pass and allowed just one sack in 130 career pass-protection reps, per Pro Football Focus, in an offense that heavily relied on the passes to the running backs. Doaks averaged 14.4 yards per reception in 2020, up from 8.8 in 2019.
A lot of Doaks' game – as suggested by the stingy job done on opposing pass rushers – is built around power and lower-body explosiveness. He's 228 pounds with a thick build and the explosion to boot. His vertical (39.5 inches) and broad (120 inches) jumps tested in the 96th and 84th percentile among 2021 running back pro days respectively. He tacked on 19 bench press reps and a 4.57 40-yard dash.
"His physicality changes everything," said Jason Spear, who was Doaks' high school running back coach. "What really impressed me was that even during our drills he was the most physical guy I've coached in 20 years."
The aggressive nature of Doaks' game shows up as a ball carrier, too. He rushed for 637 yards and seven touchdowns last season, including 25 missed-tackles-forced on 144 carries, and produced 17 runs of 10-or-more yards, per Pro Football Focus. Over the course of his collegiate career, he averaged 5.2 yads per rush on 331 career carries with 2,119 total yards from scrimmage.
Injury rehab is one of, if not the most, challenging aspects of professional sports. As Doaks battled back from the sports hernia injury and climbed up the Bearcat depth chart, he earned praise from the Cincinnati staff for his drive and positivity through that adversity.
"After that injury, I was in a pretty down place," Doaks said moments after being selected. "But I'm pretty close with all my teammates at Cincy, so they kind of helped me realize how important I was on the team and just became really close with the teammates and they kind of helped motivate me to get back to where I was. And that's the bond I plan on having with my teammates in Miami."
Physical, smart, passionate runner with high character and a love for the game – just as Grier described Miami's newest running back post-draft.
He is a tough, physical runner but plays the game with energy, passion. He’s got toughness, he’s got power. He plays on special teams as well…this kid was a very high-character player that loves football. He’s smart. Again, we’re excited to get him. He’s a big back that plays hard, he’s tough, he’s team-oriented and he’s a smart player. Chris Grier, Dolphins General Manager
Doaks is the sixth running back on the roster. He's one of two players among the group to be drafted by the Dolphins (Gaskin, 2019 seventh-round selection) while Malcolm Brown, Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird arrived to the NFL as undrafted free agents and Jordan Scarlett was drafted in the fifth round in 2019 by Carolina.
"I can't really describe it but all I can say is I'm just happy to be here, be in Miami, be a Dolphin," Doaks said. "I'm ready to give it my all."