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Draft watch: Running back remains in play after Dolphins acquire Malcolm Brown in free agency

You can never have too many running backs

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins had five different running backs play in at least five games last season. Keep in mind, that doesn’t include DeAndre Washington, who was traded to the team in the midst of the season and played in three games.

In his two years as coach, Brian Flores has focused less on top-end talent and more on a well-round 53-man roster. The team’s recent acquisition of Malcolm Brown echoes that same mindset.

Brown, a six-year vet, played in 16 games last season and averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 101 attempts. His season also included five touchdowns on the ground, more than anyone on the Dolphins in 2020.

Some suggested that the Dolphins may not pursue a running back in the draft after acquiring Brown to pair with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Patrick Laird.

The four running backs will cost the team roughly $4 million next million. To put that into perspective, the team spent more on Jordan Howard last season.

While the Dolphins have a stable of capable backs, it is hard to imagine a world where the team doesn’t look to hit a home run with another ball carrier in the draft.

With four picks inside the top-50, general manager Chris Grier has a shot to acquire Najee Harris, Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams without using too many assets on the running back position.

Miami’s plan in free agency has been focused on solidifying depth throughout the legal tempering stage. Much like the signings of Cethan Carter, Vince Biegel, Jacoby Brissett and trade for Isaiah Wilson, the Dolphins are building a foundation in order to have more freedom in April’s draft.