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Jeff Wilson Jr. helps Miami’s rushing attack reach it’s true potential under Mike McDaniel

Who knew the impact of a fifth-round pick?

Cleveland Browns v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins offense is taking a massive step forward with the addition of first-year coach Mike McDaniel calling the shots.

The issue, at least early in the season, was the team’s inability to run the football. Considering that McDaniel was the run game coordinator while working for the San Francesco 49ers, it was clear that the roster was missing something.

The Dolphins struggled to solidify the rushing attack and averaged 87 rushing yards per game through nine weeks — the league’s fourth-worst mark. When the trade deadline arrived, the addition of Bradley Chubb caught the attention of most people — but who knew that Miami’s rushing attack could turn the corner for only a fifth-round pick?

After San Francisco traded for Christian McCaffery, the team felt it could move on from Wilson and traded him to Miami, where he was reunited with old running mate Raheem Mostert. Wilson seemed like the ideal No. 2 running back in McDaniel’s offense but through two games, he’s been so much more.

“It’s something that you are very proud of as a coach because this entire group really dedicated themselves to the craft,” McDaniel said of Miami’s group of running backs after Sunday’s win. “It’s tough. You come here. There was a lot of talk about our run game and just because of the past successes that I’ve been fortunate enough to have myself, and guys were excited about the system. When you don’t have immediate results, you get to learn a lot about people.

“And in this particular circumstance we have a bunch of guys really working at the craft at a level that you need to really attack something when you are playing an opponent at the National Football League. So it was awesome to see that collective effort really bear fruit. That’s a team accomplishment.”

Wilson’s 119 rushing yards on Sunday is the most from a Miami running back this season, topping Mostert’s 113 yards in Week 5 against the New York Jets.

“It is kudos to all those other guys,” Wilson said of his success on Sunday. “I’m just a running back. There are a million running backs in this league and like I said, we have three good ones that were up today and was active. So it could have been any one of those guys because the way our o-line attacked, and the way our receivers attacked down field helping us get to the open field.

“There’s no competition. All that stuff’s up to the coaches – whoever’s in, we’re going to roll and that’s just how it is.”

In his two weeks since joining the Dolphins, Wilson has carried the ball 26 times for 170 yards and a touchdown. Averaging 6.5 yards per carry with Miami, Wilson has 118 total carries on the year for 638 yards, three touchdowns, and another 136 yards through the air.

“We’ve worked together for a number of years,” Mostert said of Wilson. “For him to come in and play the role that he’s doing, I can’t be much prouder. I said it last week and I’ll say it again this week; he’s definitely a guy that we can count on in the run game.

“I’m just happy for him, because like I said, I saw him when he was just crawling in the league, and now he’s blossoming. He’s doing unbelievable things. We feast off each other. We’re a good 1-2 punch.”