Following one of the worst rushing performances in recent memory, the Dolphins had nowhere to go but up with their running back group. While fans expected the Fins to fix this problem through the draft, it wasn’t exactly in the way that they ended up going.
In trading a fifth-round pick for Matt Breida, Chris Grier landed the player with the fastest speed for a ball carrier in each of the last 2 seasons. In Week 12 of 2018 against the Buccaneers, Breida topped out at 22.09 mph on a 33-yard run, better than Dalvin Cook’s 22.07 mph. On Monday Night Football last season, Breida got past the Cleveland safety Damarious Randall and turned upfield for an 83-yard touchdown, topping out at 22.3 mph. I remember watching that play. I didn’t expect Breida to have top of the league type of speed (admittedly not a regular follower of 49ers football), but that thought disappeared with each yard he separated himself from Randall, who disappeared from the screen. He looked back and waved as he approached the end zone. Cold blooded. One of the most impressive runs I’d seen in a while.
Breida was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Southern in 2017. He saw limited action in 2017 but started 13 games in 2018, averaging 5.3 ypc on 153 carries. Then, the Niners added Tevin Coleman, and with Raheem Mostert having a breakout season and postseason after Breida suffered an ankle injury in Week 10, it appears the Niners were willing to make Breida available as the odd man out of their backfield. As a restricted free agent following his third year of service, the Niners placed a second-round tender on Breida, who signed a one-year deal last month and will count $3.259 million against the cap in 2020.
I didn’t expect to see Miami’s running back room with a player of the experience and playmaking ability of Breida sitting in it already, but here we are. Credit to Grier for landing the fastest skill position player with the ball in his hands the last two seasons in exchange for a pick that often doesn’t even see a second season. Shrewd. And Breida certainly isn’t going to have the struggles of a rookie RB if there are limited or no offseason activities due to the pandemic.
With Breida’s speed matched with Jordan Howard’s physicality, Miami added two guys who do different things well, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Chan Gailey implements them into his offense.