The lack of respect continues to pour in by the national media, with ESPN once again at the forefront. This time, the “world wide leader in sports” ranked all 32 NFL teams’ running backs, and you won’t believe where they ranked Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage.
28. Miami Dolphins
Top three backs: Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore, Kalen Ballage
Projected unit stats: 330 carries, 1,379 yards, 8 TDs; 72 receptions, 554 yards, 2 TDs
Outlook: Drake has registered only 166 carries since being drafted in the third round of 2016, but his career 5.0 yards per carry supplies plenty of reason for optimism. He enjoyed a mini breakout down the stretch last season, pacing the league with 444 rushing yards once promoted to a full-time role in Week 13. He’s expected to get the first shot at lead-back duties, but 35-year-old Gore, who is averaging 3.80 YPC over the past three seasons, also will be involved. Fourth-round rookie Ballage has generated some hype, but he’ll need to dramatically improve on ugly efficiency at Arizona State.
That’s right, folks!
Despite Kenyan Drake finishing the last four weeks of the season as one of the league’s best running backs, the Miami Dolphins are ranked 28th. And yes, Drake may have rushed for 644 yards and 3 touchdowns, finishing the 2017 season with an average of 4.8 yards per carry (best in the NFL), but who cares.
Forget about Frank Gore, one of the best running backs of all-time. Forget about what he’s accomplished with terrible offensive lines during his time in Indy. Sure, he rushed for 961 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2017, but none of that matters.
Kalen Ballage may have been a highly coveted player in this year’s draft, possessing skills on the ground as well as through the air. He may have scored 8 touchdowns in a college football game, something that may never happen again. Hell, he can even throw the football. None of that matters.
Truth is, ESPN is slowly dying. Their takes continue to get worse and their “expert” analysis is lazy at best. Maybe it’s the homer in me, but I find it difficult to see many teams with a better running back situation than the three-headed monster in South Beach. I definitely can not find 27 other teams with better running back situations, but that’s just me.
Unfortunately, there will be many more articles like this before the beginning of the season. It’s up to Adam Gase and the 2018 Miami Dolphins, to write their own narrative.