The Miami Dolphins didn't draft or sign a running back this offseason who will take over the starting role in the backfield. The lack of a big-time move at the position puts Myles Gaskin in line for the starting gig.
After Miami added short-yardage back Malcolm Brown and reserve Jordan Scarlett and drafted Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round, Gaskin should enter training camp as the starter in a backfield that also includes Salvon Ahmed and Patrick Laird.
Gaskin isn't worried about the pecking order in the offseason.
"Above my pay grade," Gaskin said via the Miami Herald. "To be honest with you, obviously whatever they do upstairs is what they do upstairs. Whoever we bring in, I know it's going to be the best for the team.
"I don't think drafting a back or bringing in a back is going to change anything for me. I'm trying to compete with myself, compete with others obviously, but definitely compete with myself, make sure I'm the best running back I can be come the end of July whenever camp starts, and then leading up into the season."
The Dolphins could have drafted a running back with the No. 18 overall pick. The three top backs were all on the board for Miami's second first-rounder last month, but instead upgraded the defense with Jaelan Phillips. Opting not to grab a back until Doaks late in the process underscores the club's confidence in Gaskin and the rest of the group.
"We like the group," coach Brian Flores told reporters. "We are excited about working with the group. Eric has done a nice job, obviously, with the backs over the years, and I have a lot of confidence in him, from that standpoint, as well as just the offense overall. We have to put the work in, it doesn't just happen. One of the things we preach to the players is, we are not going to just roll out of bed and play good football. We have to come in, put the work in as a team, build that cohesiveness, try to improve and get better every day in practice."
The Dolphins reportedly put in a waiver claim on running back Kerryon Johnson (Eagles) after the draft, so they might not be done adding to the deep backfield, even if a workhorse isn't on their radar.
Gaskin rushed for 584 yards on 142 carriers with three touchdowns in 2020 in 10 games played, including seven starts. The 24-year-old pointed to staying healthy in 2021 as the key after a battle with COVID-19 and injury disrupted last season.
"I was proud of how I handled my recovery of my injury, just missing a couple of games," Gaskin said Monday. "Just missing those games kind of hurt myself, just kind of hurt the team and hurt myself in my own eyes, so just trying to work on staying healthy, trying to take care of my body, trying to work on a lot of things so things don't come up during the season."
Working in Gaskin's favor heading into 2021 is his ability in the passing game, where he put up a 41/388/2 line last season. His ability to stay on the field all three downs should give him a leg up in winning and hanging onto the starting gig in a new offense under co-coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey.
"A lot of coaches call the same thing or have the same thing but just call it different wording around it especially when you're watching film," Gaskin said of the changes from Chan Gailey's offense. "But it's definitely different. It's a whole new playbook. It's not the same as last year's, but it's not -- like I said, it's still early, still picking it up."