The Miami Dolphins are getting band back together today as the veterans report to training camp, joining the rookies who reported last week. The ramp up for the 2023 regular season is officially underway and it seems like a perfect time to re-open The Phinsider Mailbag. What questions do we have hanging around in it?
Last week, I asked for your input to the bag. Today, I see what is on your minds and give you my thoughts. We had two questions submitted, so I hit up both of those submissions. Today, we take a look at the role rookie running back De’Von Achane could have in Miami’s offense and if there is a potential breakout player for Miami this year similar to last year’s surprise from cornerback Kader Kohou.
How could the Dolphins use rookie running back De’Von Achane?
Achane could be a fun piece for head coach Mike McDaniel and his offensive scheme this year. Miami is clearly built for speed, with wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Robbie Chosen along with running back Raheem Mostert, and Achane just adds to that. A third-round pick this year, the Dolphins could look to get Achane on the field in multiple roles this year.
As ddbren states in his question, Miami has the options of using Achane either out of the backfield or as a slot-style receiver. Both options . Lineups with Hill, Waddle, and Chosen at receiver and Mostert (or Jeff Wilson, Jr.) and Achane in the backfield, with one of the running backs then motioning out could create a ton of mismatches for opposing defenses. McDaniel will not miss that opportunity when it is needed.
The hype surrounding how Miami could use Achane is huge. But, there is also a reason he was available in the third round and was the sixth running back selected. It might take a minute for him to get up to full speed. How much playing time and when he will see the field will be determined by how quickly he can get the full playbook under control and how he adjusts to the speed of the game.
Miami should have packages ready for Achane early in the year, ramping up his playtime during the season. At some point around mid-season, Miami may have a three-headed running back monster. Not comparing it to a previous three-headed running back group, but hmmmm...
A surprise breakout player?
Last year, the Dolphins took a flyer on undrafted free agent cornerback Kader Kohou out of Texas A&M-Commerce. He wound up playing in 15 games, starting 13 of them, and recording 72 tackles, a forced fumble, 10 passes defensed, and an interception on the season. That is a spectacular season for a rookie undrafted free agent, especially one from such a small school.
Could Miami have another surprise player like Kohou in 2023? Someone breaking out to that level is not likely, but there are a few candidates who could have solid years for the Dolphins.
Brandon Pili is the first name that comes to mind. Miami needs to find depth in the middle of the defensive line, and Pili, an undrafted free agent out of USC, could be that piece. Miami needs to find a true nose tackle, even if it is just to serve as a backup behind Raekwon Davis, and Pili would serve perfectly in that role. At 6-foot-3, 316 pounds (he was listed at 345 by USC last year and could put weight back on if needed), he is the second-heaviest defensive lineman behind Davis on the roster. Miami has a need and has an undrafted free agent who could perfectly fill it - that is the start of the recipe for a breakout like Kohou had in 2022.
Mitchell Agude, an undrafted edge rusher out of Miami (and UCLA before that), has some potential as well. He has some development still to do, and the edge rushers are deep with Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Andrew Van Ginkel, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Malik Reed all high on the depth chart, but Agude could carve out a role for himself this summer.
Obviously trying to pick someone who surprises as much as Kohou did last year is hard - otherwise, it would not be as big a surprise, but those two are really good candidates.
The next round of The Phinsider Mailbag will be coming around soon. We will ask for your questions as training camp gets underway later this week.