How Myles Gaskin went from late-round pick to RB1 for the Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin enters NFL Year 3 with a completely new set of pressures. As a rookie, he was trying to make the team as the final running back selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. In 2020, he was trying to carve out a role on a roster with veterans Jordan Howard and Matt Breida ahead of him. Now, instead of chasing people on the depth chart, he’s the one being chased.

Myles Gaskin is the Miami Dolphins’ RB1

He might be the most anonymous RB1 in the NFL, but make no mistake: Gaskin is an RB1. The Dolphins demonstrated how highly they think of Gaskin by selecting him as one of four team leaders to speak to reporters Tuesday — the first day of Brian Flores’ third training camp.

So with all apologies to Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown, the pecking order has been established. And Gaskin is on top of it.

“My expectations for him are very high,” said Jerome Baker, the Dolphins’ newly minted $38 million linebacker. “It goes off of his work ethic. Last year, it blew my mind. He was going hard literally on our day off. That shows who he is.

“I’m happy for him and excited to see him come into his own,” Baker added. “He’s going to be good.”

That’s the big gamble.

Gaskin is working to stay healthy for 2021 and beyond

The Dolphins have in back-to-back years passed on highly rated running backs in the NFL Draft, in part because they knew they had Gaskin on the roster. They had their shots to select guys like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Najee Harris, and Travis Etienne, but passed on each one.

But this isn’t blind faith. Gaskin has proven that, when healthy, he’s a producer. His 97.2 yards per game from scrimmage was top 10 among NFL players last year. Of course, the “when healthy” caveat is important. Gaskin missed four games with a knee injury and two more with COVID-19. The past seven months have been about ensuring that doesn’t happen again. He’s been vaccinated for COVID and has trained his body to be more durable.

“Definitely eating better this offseason,” Gaskin said. “Eating a lot better. Working on my body. Stretching, doing Pilates. I did a little bit of Pilates going into my second year, and this year I did a lot more Pilates, just working on things, being more flexible, more durable. Being more conscious of it.”

It’s the next step in a lifelong pursuit of his football dream. He grew up idolizing LaDainian Tomlinson, and in the right light, you can see the similarities. Like Tomlinson, Gaskin is a 5-10, 200-something-pounder who can both carry and catch the ball out of the backfield. As a result, he’s the most complete back on the Dolphins’ roster. Expect his snaps and touches to reflect that ability.

“Trying to get that one percent better each and every day,” Gaskin said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. It came to fruition a little bit last year. But like I said, I missed six games. [Just need to ] get better at something every single day.”

Other news and notes ahead of the 2021 Miami Dolphins Training Camp

*** Nearly nine months removed from the foot injury that ended his 2020 season, wide receiver Preston Williams is still not healthy enough to practice. Williams begins training camp on the physically unable to perform list. That’s unfortunate for him because he’s facing the stiffest roster competition of his young career. The Dolphins have 14 wide receivers, including first-round pick Jaylen Waddle and two former starters, Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson, who are back in the league after opting out in 2020.

*** Offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg became the last Dolphins rookie to sign his contract Tuesday. That means the team has no holdouts heading into tomorrow’s first practice of training camp.

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