The Miami Dolphins have plenty of running backs but no easy answers.
Rookie head coach Adam Gase wants to run the ball a lot this year but doesn’t have many proven options. Here is a look at Miami’s tailbacks:
Analysis: Ajayi is among the Dolphins with the most to prove this year. The 2015 fifth-round pick showed a few flashes and rushed for 187 yards as a rookie. But the team is counting on Ajayi making a sizable jump in Year 2 and he’s the early leader in the clubhouse to be the starter. Ajayi is a big, physical runner who needs to do a better job of making people miss at the NFL level.
Chances of starting: 70 percent
Analysis: The Dolphins showed interest before the draft in running back Ezekiel Elliott. But after he went off the board early to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 4 overall, the Dolphins moved on and waited until the third round to take a running back. They chose Drake, who was a backup at Alabama behind Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. Drake has durability concerns and isn’t considered a bell cow. But he brings a lot of versatility as a receiver out of the backfield and kick returner. Barring injury, Drake projects as a third-down back.
Chances of starting: 25 percent
Analysis: The veteran Thomas has quietly impressed the coaching staff with his ability to pick up the nuances of the offense. He’s been around the block with the Dolphins as a 2011 second-round pick. Thomas was a draft bust, but his experience offers him another chance to carve out a backup role with the team.
Chances of starting: 5 percent
Analysis: Williams was Miami’s third-down running back last year and finished with 59 rushing yards and 142 receiving yards. He was inconsistent at the position, and the Dolphins are searching for an upgrade. Williams also returned kicks and his best way to make the team will be on special teams. Miami likely will keep three running backs, which means Williams and Thomas could be fighting for one spot.
Chances of starting: Zero
Analysis: Pead was a 2012 second-round pick of the Rams who didn’t work out but is looking for a fresh start. He has just 78 career rushing yards in four seasons. Pead has long odds to make the 53-man roster but will battle with Williams and Thomas for one of the final jobs at tailback.
Chance of starting: Zero