The Miami Dolphins added a weapon to their offense on Friday when they used their third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select Texas A&M running back Devon Achane. A 5-foot-8, 188-pound running back, Achane is undersized for a typical running back role in the NFL, but he still packs a punch. And, he has to be caught for his size to be of any concern.
Achane adds speed to a Dolphins offense that is built around speed. With wide receiver Tyreek Hill, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, running back Raheem Mostert, and running back Jeff Wilson, Miami has speed and they are not afraid to use it. Add Achane to the mix, and the Dolphins add another speed option to attack opposing defenses.
‘I mean, speed we generally like around here,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said in perhaps the understatement of the year. McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier met the media on Friday after the team’s selection of Achane. McDaniel continued, explaining, “I think it’s more of you feel like there’s a fit in terms of a guy fitting within your existing team. You’re always keeping in mind that you’re adding players to team and really think that that group in particular, the running back room for us is very important. You find a person and player that fits your skill set that you like but also that fits within the room because we have some other good competition in there as well. So we’re real excited to add player to a group. And he is fast. Chris and I share that – we do have affection for that trait.”
Achane definitely brings that trait. He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash, the third-fastest time at the NFL Scouting Combine this year, trailing two cornerbacks. Achane will not turn 22 until mid-season this year, giving him plenty of time to continue to develop as an NFL runner, especially with the opportunity to platoon playing time with Mostert and Wilson, but the Dolphins will find ways to use his speed to create mismatches this season.
“This is probably about two years we’ve watched him,” Grier said of the team’s decision to select Achane. “We talked about him last year a little bit with some of the flashes you saw out of him. Then just watching him this year and getting to know him, we brought him in on a 30-visit and spent some time with him and got to know him as a person. We watched film and probably about two or three weeks ago, Mike was convicted in his love for the player. We all were but he was very effusive.”
“Yes, I was,” McDaniel added. “And I’m very proud of myself for being a good secret keeper. I just talk to myself a lot in my car because I had to tell somebody about it.”
Achane met with the media after his selection and was asked about joining a team that has speed like what Hill, Waddle, and Mostert bring to the field. He answered, “It’s going to be a real scary offense. Like you said, we’re all pretty fast. I feel like it’s going to be very competitive at practice and like you said, Coach McDaniel – when I had that talk with him, he was saying that he planned on building the fastest team in the NFL. So by adding me to that piece, that’s something that’s, like that’s a guarantee. So it’s going to be real fun and competitive at practice. I just can’t wait to get there.”
While the focus for Miami’s selection of Achane is the “running back” label on him, he may not be limited to only having an impact out of the backfield. He has experience on special teams as a returner, and he has also worked out of the slot as a receiver. “I’m a very unique player,” the former Aggie explained. “I have a very unique skillset. I feel like I can do a lot. I can be at running back. I can line up at receiver and they also might want to use me on special teams, so I feel like me having all those good abilities, I feel like it’s hard for a defense to be able to cover us when we’ve already got threats that are already on the team. I just feel like me getting added to this offense is very scary.”
Achane is not afraid to go up the middle, however, “Yes, sir. I feel like I can run between the tackles, outside. Like when I was at A&M, I feel like most of my runs were in between the tackles. Everybody sees me as the fastest guy, so they think he just wants to run outside, but most of my runs and my touchdowns were in between the tackles so I feel like I can run anywhere. If the ball is in my hands, I feel like I’m capable to do great things with it and me running in between the tackles is not a problem that I have.”
Mike McDaniel was fired up for the Devon Achane pick pic.twitter.com/TNUHzopMFs— josh houtz (@houtz) April 29, 2023
McDaniel, after the Dolphins submitted the pick to the NFL, acquiring Achane, was pumped. He said of the celebration captured on the television coverage of the pick, “This is just camaraderie between two work associates. Certain people have opinions that he’ll be there, certain people don’t. I was really excited that Chris was right that a player was there. You get excited about all the players. Really, it’s down to the TV producers who decide when they catch you, because apparently, as it’s become aware to me that the first pick, I was texting my wife and had my shoe on the table. We get excited for all our players, and that’s just because of the amount of work that we all put in over an extended period of time to figure out who those players are.”
He continued, saying, “Really, all of the players that I like in general, I’m kind of a pessimist in the draft because you want to be prepared for all specific situations, really. I think Chris has caught on to that. And yeah, I didn’t think he was going to be there. But that happens every draft and really I was very hopeful for both of our selections, but wasn’t totally positive they’d be there. I’m very excited about that opportunity we had.”