I’ll admit—I wasn’t the first to jump on the CJ Spiller Bandwagon. In fact, I tried my hardest to stay off that bandwagon for the longest time. Thinking about replacing Ronnie Brown just doesn’t seem right to me. However, I surprisingly have begun shifting my thoughts towards CJ Spiller. Why? Age!
Let’s take a look at some of the players in Miami who seem to be the foundation for future contenders:
Chad Henne: 24 yrs. old
Jake Long: 24 yrs. old
Sean Smith: 22 yrs. old
Vontae Davis: 21 yrs. old
Davone Bess: 24 yrs. old
Brian Hartline: 23 yrs. old
Ronnie Brown: 28 yrs. old
Even though Brown is known as a premier back in this league, his age and injuries are certainly hurting his cause. Let’s face it—the times have changed. The Miami Dolphins are a very young and promising football team. We have our share of veteran players like Jason Taylor, Yeremiah Bell, Channing Crowder, and newly acquired Karlos Dansby to lead a defense that needs help. However, Taylor is past his prime, and the duo of Crowder and Dansby seems to be one of the most exciting inside linebacker team in Miami in a long time. Dansby is 28 years old, like Ronnie, but the fact is—a linebacker and a running back are on two different scales in the NFL. A solid linebacker develops into his prime by his late twenties and early thirties. Running backs need to make immediate impact if they want to survive in this league. With that being said, we have a running back out of Clemson that could make this impact for our Miami Dolphins with the twelfth pick in this years draft.
I believe it was Little Nicky 21 who put out the question a long time ago saying If you could take Chris Johnson at the 12 spot of this years draft, would you do it?
And who wouldn’t right now? Even if we had half a Chris Johnson—we’d be getting a 1,000 yarder. Ronnie Brown’s best season, in terms of yards, was in 2006 when he broke the 1,000 yard mark by just eight yards. The rest of the years were all broken up with injuries and splitting time with Ricky Williams—although Brown enjoyed success two seasons ago. Bottom line is this: Ronnie is approaching that "30 Year Old Wall" that we saw LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook hit so hard these past seasons.
The problem I see with Ronnie Brown is this. We are a few years away from serious contention. I am extremely optimistic with this team’s direction, lead by a great coaching staff and front office, as well as a great young quarterback in Chad Henne. But, the key is a few years. In a few years, we will be on top the AFC East and one of the best teams in the NFL. We saw the potential this past season in games where we were contenders, but couldn’t seal the deal against the great teams (Colts, Saints to name a few). In a few seasons, we will win those games instead fold at the end. However, in a few seasons, Ronnie Brown will be at the age of thirty+ and Ricky Williams will be retired. So when we expect everything to be "clicking" in a few seasons and we become Super Bowl contenders, Ronnie Brown will be the guy who is struggling—if he isn’t hurt already.
In a passing league, the best fit for our offense at running back is a Chris Johnson meets Reggie Bush type of player. Ronnie can’t give us that when he is over thirty years of age. And Ronnie is my favorite Miami Dolphin. I hate to say it, but he can’t give us the production we want when he has gone through two season ending injuries, and is getting older and older in this league. Plus, as mentioned before, Ronnie has only eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark once.
CJ Spiller is the answer for us. He is the highest ranked running back in this year’s NFL Draft. He is flashy like Reggie Bush and has speed not quite like that of Chris Johnson, but is a player similar to him.
He is 22 years old, as well. If it’s true that we become Super Bowl contenders in a few seasons, check this out.
Chad Henne should be in his prime. If Chad Henne is doing well, then we must predict Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are doing very well. Jake Long will continue being the perennial Pro-Bowler that he is (and will ink a new contract in Miami when he gets to that bridge). Vontae Davis and Sean Smith will be a great cornerback duo, who could be rising to the primes of their careers. Our whole team, in general, will be young and dominant. CJ Spiller will be early in his NFL tenure, but effective like we want. Unlike Ronnie, he’ll be getting better each game, instead of one game closer to retirement (Ronnie, Ricky…).
Imagine the Miami Dolphins in a few seasons becoming Super Bowl contenders, because it is very likely. This draft is crucial to this image, though. We might go for a Nose Tackle, a Safety, possible a Wide Receiver, but I encourage a Running Back to be drafted in the first round. I’m not going to get into the "guts" of every player by posting college statistics for every game because I don’t need to. We know what needs to be addressed for this draft and we know the players who we could or should go after.
We are a young team in the right direction. CJ Spiller would fulfill our offense’s need for the future. Out with the old, in with the new. The same argument can be made for our situation at Nose Tackle.
But, a similar player like Chris Johnson, wouldn’t we all want him on our team? Or even half a Chris Johnson?
Leave your thoughts below + thanks for reading.