5 Nfl Rookie Sleepers Who Could Make A Big Impact In 2018

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by rent this space, May 13, 2018.

  1. rent this space

    rent this space Starter Finheaven VIP

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    Kalen Ballage | RB | Miami Dolphins

    [​IMG]© USA TODAY Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports
    The Dolphins' run game was almost non-existent last year. With just last year's starter Kenyan Drake and a 34-year-old Frank Gore ahead of him, fourth-round pick Ballage will be able to hit the field early and often.

    Ballage didn't produce huge stats for Arizona State, often splitting carries with other running backs. He finished his collegiate career with 1954 rush yards and 27 touchdowns along with 82 receptions for 684 yards. He has ideal size and speed for an NFL running back at 6'2″ and 228 pounds and a 4.42 40-time.

    Ballage's speed and pass-catching skills will likely get him a job as the Dolphin's third-down back. His speed and size could earn him a starting job.
     
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  2. maralieus

    maralieus Lets get those balls deep!!

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    “Just last years starter Kenyan drake”..... that’s pretty dismissive. But what do you expect right? It’ll likely take a 2000 yard season for him to even get recognized as a left starter. I’m excited to have ballage though, I think he can be effective for us out of the slot and with a few carries a game.
     
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  3. gregorygrant83

    gregorygrant83 FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    Am I missing something? How is saying MIami just has Drake and 34 year old Gore being dismissive? Who else did they really have before adding Ballage? I don't think it's saying Drak only started last year and Gore is 34 years old. I think it's they only have Drake and a 34-year old back so there was an obvious need for additional/younger back talent.
     
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  4. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    That article seems like a definite miss to me. Drake has superstar talent and the only way Ballage gets significant playing time is likely due to injuries in front of him.
     
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  5. circumstances

    circumstances Starter Finheaven VIP

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    Our running game might have been awful over the entire season, but I'm pretty sure Drake led the league in yardage over the last 5 games (444 yards).

    Mentioning that might have been good.
     
  6. jlfin

    jlfin old pro

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    The tone of the article suggests that Drake is just a mediocre player and that Gore is on his last legs, resulting in very little competition for Ballage.
     
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  7. Digital

    Digital Starter Finheaven VIP

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    I seem to be on an island with my analysis of Kalen Ballage. But, I see a guy who is not elusive and goes down with first contact from the sides or low. I see the anti-Ajayi. Where Jay Ajayi regularly led the league in broken tackles, Kalen Ballage simply doesn't break tackles. Ajayi had to push through a sea of hands in the backfield or a closed hole at the line to even make positive yardage. Ballage will be stopped for a loss.

    In the open field, Ballage has speed to burn, and reminds me of Lamar Miller. But, we need to scheme him into space, which is not easy to do and cannot be done a lot per game. And frankly, I'd still rather have Kenyon Drake or Jakeem Grant running those plays over Kalen Ballage.

    So, I see Ballage strictly as a core special teamer (where he's a good tackler and decent blocker and can use his speed), with a role as a 3rd down back because he can pass protect and catch out of the backfield well. Yeah, I know, my analysis is a buzz kill, sorry, but that's how I see it. In the NFL, if you're not very elusive or a tackle-breaker, you're not going to succeed as a primary back.
     
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  8. phintim

    phintim Seasoned Veteran

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    Well we need and have 3 backs. Hopefully Ballage can run better than what Digital put out there as Drake might not make the entire season and then its up to Gore. Who is the 4th back on the current roster if someone goes down. Perry I assume.
     
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  9. royalshank

    royalshank Not a Game-Changer Finheaven VIP Donator

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    His highlight reel suggests he doesn’t break tackles. Everything was wide open in space. That said, if he can be more of a playmaker and smarter than Damien Williams he can contribute some meaningful snaps for us.
     
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  10. Sarnics13

    Sarnics13 FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I'm not sure what you guys have been watching. He doesn't run like marshawn lynch or anything but he certainly doesn't just go down when he's touched. Hrs not going to lead the league or be roty but he's a very capable back.
     
  11. raving

    raving Starter

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    Ajayi was a tough runner but he was not willing to do what is needed. And a man does what is necessary.

    Ballage has a huge ceiling. He said himself at the press conference, where he displayed poise and maturity, that he needed to get better. For all we know Ballage could transform himself into a back that learns how to explode through contact. He’s got the frame. In the meantime he’s got plenty of tools to make opponents pay big time.

    Drake, Ballage, grant, Albert Wilson, Stills, Gisecki -all have speed. Miami HAS NOT had speed like this since Clayton and Duper.

    Gase has been given the reigns and I said let it RAIN baby because we’ve been in a huge f...ing drought! Gase is building a group of men that are accountable - no immature boys who put themselves ahead of the team.

     
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  12. miami365

    miami365 Rookie

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    Knock on Drake was yards after contact and he was near the top for the last third of the year. Hopefully Ballage will follow suit. Think his third down receiving and blocking skills will at worse be on par with D Williams.
     
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  13. Travis34

    Travis34 chea Finheaven VIP Donator

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    What about our own Daniel Thomas as a comp? A faster, better pass catching version
     
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  14. Digital

    Digital Starter Finheaven VIP

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    I hate to doom the kid before he takes a snap! LOL. I can see that comparison though. Both are big fast straight-line runners without much wiggle. If you hit them straight on high, they could bulldoze you, but if you got them low, they'd go down.

    On the flip side, Daniel Thomas's problems were health and fumbling, which aren't Ballage's issues really. When Daniel Thomas was able to string together a period of prolonged health and hold onto the ball, he was a decent back. But, as you know, he always either fumbled or got injured as soon as he started stringing together decent games. While the Daniel Thomas comparable is a fair one, I'd say your point about Ballage being a "faster, better catching version" is a major point in Ballage's favor.
     
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  15. royalshank

    royalshank Not a Game-Changer Finheaven VIP Donator

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    His running style is a bit reminiscent. Looks a bit too straight up to me.
     
  16. circumstances

    circumstances Starter Finheaven VIP

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    I can see Gore (and Ballage if he earns it) taking some carries from Drake (in general) to keep him fresh.

    In no universe do I see us taking Drake off the field on third down (and using Ballage or anyone else, regardless of how well they're playing).

    Drake is as good or better on third down than he is on first or second (and he is superlative on first and second).
     
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  17. GUH-sick-EE

    GUH-sick-EE Well-Known Member

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    That's a great point, I completely agree. With the exception maybe being 3rd & short, we go with Gore.
     
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  18. Superself

    Superself If you want to, we can supply you. Finheaven VIP

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    Ballage will eventually get on the field on some 3rd down plays. Not all. Whether he will replace Drake or not really doesn't matter because Drake will definitely be RB1 as long as he is healthy.

    But there is a very small gut feeling that Ballage will go OFF on a series of plays and show that he is a boss in his own right. That feeling is tied to the simple fact that the Dolphins RB scouts have been hitting home runs for quite a while now. Promote them!
     
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  19. Danny

    Danny Finheaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I believe we'll be seeing all 3 RB's out there. Drake will probably start with Gore getting in probably every other series or two. Ballage will start out with a few carries here and there at first but eventually he'll get some good snaps too.
     
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  20. Chuck-182

    Chuck-182 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. I'm pretty sure he led the league in rushing starting the week he first started (after the Baltimore game if I'm not mistaken).
     
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  21. gregorygrant83

    gregorygrant83 FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I think if Thomas had 4.4 speed he would still be on a roster somewhere. Was always a step slow from being a solid non-spectacular reserve back. Plus I think you'll see Ballage punish a defender from time to time, where Thomas had decent size but played more like a 6' 210 pound back. I never thought he was as bad as some did, but he was average at best in a few areas and special in none. It's hard to find a back that doesn't check at least one box (power, speed, receiving, elusiveness, quickness, blocking, special teams) as a special talent.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  22. NBP81

    NBP81 Yippi ka yay mother******! Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Lamar Gordon 2.0
     
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  23. Fintastic17

    Fintastic17 A True Fan

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    Do we play the Colts this year? :biggrin
     
  24. circumstances

    circumstances Starter Finheaven VIP

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    Where are you seeing that?

    Lamar Gordon's 2002 combine results:

    Height: 6005
    Weight: 214

    40 time: 4.61

    (Ballage: 6014, 228, 4.46)
     
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  25. SF Dolphin Fan

    SF Dolphin Fan Seasoned Veteran

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    That is my hope as well. I don't know much about him, honestly, other that what I've seen on highlights. Size, plus speed, plus coachability is a good starting point. If he's willing to work then he could certainly improve.
     
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  26. Fin Thirteen

    Fin Thirteen FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    I was very down on the Drake pick for that reason and more. So I'm going to be a bit more wary about writing off Ballage for the same reasons. He reminds me a lot of Drake, watching him, so will be interesting if he too can be more productive in the pros than as an amateur.
     
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  27. theOutback

    theOutback Well-Known Member

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    He reminds me of Miller too. I'll add goes down to easy like Miller, along w/ speed in the open field.
     
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  28. NoblePhin

    NoblePhin Starter Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Reminds me of Demarco Murray the more i watch him.
     
  29. gunn34

    gunn34 Pro Bowler

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    I thought this thread was going to be about Fitzpatrick or Gesicki. I was surprised.
     
  30. Ruckus45

    Ruckus45 FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    They aren’t wrong to see Ballage as a potential sleeper. The Fins have a track record of really good mid to late round RBs. I can see Drake balling out for a couple years before trying to sign a big contract then Ballage stepping up. If the Fins can keep a stable of RBs for very cheap it’ll be good for them when it comes to spending money elsewhere
     
  31. Tureo

    Tureo Seasoned Veteran

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    It's depressing just to think this but Ballage reminds me of Daniel Thomas. Hope I'm wrong and he's able to fulfill his potential in the pros.
     
  32. circumstances

    circumstances Starter Finheaven VIP

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    4.46 (Ballage) vs. 4.62 (Thomas) should make the comparison easier to digest. Even if there are other similarities (in your opinion), Ballage is MUCH faster than Thomas was.
     
  33. Tureo

    Tureo Seasoned Veteran

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    That's great. He still reminds me of DT.
     
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  34. Digital

    Digital Starter Finheaven VIP

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    Let's hope!
     

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