Recent NFL Draft pick, Devon Achane, is going to take the sports world by storm in 2023. The Dolphins should get the exciting weapon on the field early and often.
The Miami Dolphins stormed out the gate to open the 2022 NFL season. Led by new head coach Mike McDaniel, the Teal and Orange won eight of the first 11 games on the slate. Super Bowl aspirations began surfacing for the fan base, with the team sitting in first place in the AFC East midway through the campaign.
Hot Start Leads To Embarrassing Collapse
Unfortunately, the wheels would soon fall off for the upstart Dolphins. Following an MVP-caliber start to the season, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fell off a cliff in the second half. Granted, the former Alabama alum battled through more injuries for most of the year. In the four games Tagovailoa was forced out of action, Miami only won one of them.
Still, thanks to a torrid start, the Dolphins limped their way into postseason play. With Skylar Thompson starting in the place of Tagovailoa, McDaniel and Co. headed to Buffalo as a considerable underdog. After falling behind 17 points early in the Wild Card Game, Miami charged back and outscored the Bills 24-3, taking a four-point lead early in the third quarter.
The comeback effort ultimately fell short, as the Bills would use a Cole Beasley touchdown to retake the lead — and they never looked back. Would the Dolphins have been victorious with a healthy signal-caller behind center? That is a fair assessment if you ask me.
Tagovailoa is far from the physical marvel that Josh Allen is, but the former is plenty capable of running an NFL system. If the 8-3 start didn’t prove that, just take a look at how proficient the offense was with Tagovailoa taking snaps. It is night and day in terms of production.
However, at the end of the day, a loss is a loss. The disappointing defeat sent general manager Chris Grier back to the drawing board this offseason. It was a relatively slow couple of months, but Miami brought in a bonafide superstar to shore up the cornerback room.
Former Florida State Seminole Jalen Ramsey returned home to the Sunshine State. The Dolphins acquired Ramsey from Los Angeles for a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long. Going further, Grier brought in another potential starter in the secondary when he selected Cam Smith in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Dolphins: All Aboard The Devon Achane Hype Train
As exciting as these additions are to the defense, perhaps the most intriguing acquisition of the offseason came at No. 84 overall in the most recent NFL Draft. With this selection, the Dolphins snagged a running back that fits the McDaniel system like a glove.
Texas A&M superstar, Devon Achane, is a former track star, and he flexes this speed every time he takes a snap on offense. The 5-foot-8 ball carrier lacks the ideal size of an NFL bell cow, but his burst and shiftiness make up for his shortcomings in size.
At 188 pounds, Achane is a more compact runner than you might think. He displays vision and patience when working between the tackles. The Aggie standout doesn’t play small and is constantly churning his legs to net more yardage at the end of runs.
Where Achane is truly special is out in space. His trademark speed makes it nearly impossible to catch him from behind. The ability to cut on a dime and re-accelerate in the blink of an eye results in several highlight-reel plays as he terrorizes and embarrasses oncoming tacklers.
The Dolphins have suffered from constant injury at running back. Raheem Mostert nearly doubled his career starts in 2022, but at age 31, it is unfair to expect a player with a long list of durability issues to repeat this success. Jeff Wilson Jr. provided steady play following his trade to South Beach, but neither guy should keep Achane off the field as a rookie.
Devon Achane Is Perfect Fit For Mike McDaniel
McDaniel thrives with a zone-blocking attack, allowing his offensive linemen to get out in space and create massive running lanes for their running back. Achane will carve up defenses on the ground, and his chops as a pass catcher could boost the first-year ball carrier into elite status in Year 1.
In his final season at College Station, Achane eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a runner, including eight touchdowns to only one fumble. The versatile weapon also hauled in 36 receptions and chipped in three more scores through the air. These are the type of contributions that Miami should expect immediately from Achane.
Knowing McDaniel and his philosophy, Achane is unlikely to surpass 300 touches as a rookie. The good news? He doesn’t need anywhere close to those touches to make his impact felt on a weekly basis. The exciting prospect matches the speed but brings more consistency and better durability than the veteran ball carriers on the roster. Watch out because the Achane Hype Train has left the station.