Miami Dolphins Ceiling and Floor Player Analysis: Daniel Thomas

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Daniel Thomas #33 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball against the Washington Redskins on November 13, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Redskins 20-9. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Last week I did a best case and worst case scenario for Miami's starting RB, Reggie Bush. I will continue these types of posts and will go with Miami's current #2 RB, Daniel Thomas. You can read last week's post about Bush here if you want to read about his best case and worst case scenarios.

It's rare to say a player's second season in the NFL could be his make or break season, but that could be the case for Thomas. His performance in 2012 could determine his future on the team. A breakout season could mean he enters 2013 as the starter. A poor year in 2012 could mean he's not even on the team in 2013 as Miami could look to re-sign Bush and use Miller as a #2 RB. Because of his rookie contract, I find it unlikely to see Thomas anywhere except Miami in 2013, but he'd have a heck of a hole to dig out of in 2013 if he enters that season as a #3 RB. This season means big things for the former Wildcat RB.

Floor: Daniel Thomas struggles to find time for potentially a number of reasons. Nagging injuries could continue to hamper him, Reggie Bush could simply play at a good enough level to keep him off the field, or Miami's fourth round selection, Lamar Miller, could leap him on the depth chart. Those nagging injuries or his inability to pick up the zone blocking scheme could cause him to continue his play from his finish in 2011 and he looks like a disappointing second round pick. For those reasons, Miller jumps him on the depth chart and at some point in 2012, Thomas becomes Miami's #3 RB or possibly their #4 if Steve Slaton jumps him as well. Thomas finishes the year with under 100 carries and a sub-4.0 YPC. Stats: 325 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, 1 TD.

Ceiling: Thomas plays like he did in spurts in 2011 and continues to have games similar to his performance against the Texans, Browns, and Raiders. Bush either struggles to pick up the zone blocking system or injuries come back to bite him in 2012, allowing Thomas to become Miami's featured RB. Thomas takes advantage of the situation by carrying the ball 200 or more times and averaging over 4.0 YPC. As Miami's bigger and more powerful RB over the likes of Bush and Miller, Thomas also becomes Miami's preferred short yardage RB. Stats: 850 rushing yards, 125 receiving yards, 10 TDs.

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