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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Can Lamar Miller replace Reggie Bush?

By James Walker

The changing of the guard at tailback in Miami was nearly a year in the making.

Following Day 3 of the 2012 NFL draft, Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland gushed about fourth-round pick Lamar Miller. Ireland traded up six spots to draft Miller, who played at nearby University of Miami. Ireland knew Miller well and believed he was a first- or second-round talent. But Miller’s stock dropped due to a lingering shoulder injury he suffered in college.

Miller flashed plenty of ability throughout Miami's training camp. He saw his first action in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders and rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. Miller also rushed for a career-high 73 yards on 10 carries against the Buffalo Bills in Week 16. Miller received just 51 carries last season but averaged a team-high 4.9 yards per rush.

This is why it was no surprise that Miami will not re-sign starting running back Reggie Bush. The Dolphins believe Miller is ready to take on a bigger role at a more affordable rate than Bush. Miller will pair with former second-round pick Daniel Thomas in Miami next season.

Bush developed into a leader in Miami and rushed for more than 2,000 yards the past two seasons. Bush should get a nice contract elsewhere in free agency. He's earned it, but Bush is far from irreplaceable in Miami.

The Dolphins have plenty of depth at running back and should be fine with Miller, Thomas and perhaps a third running back via the draft or free agency. Miami’s primary focus should be adding depth at weaker positions such as cornerback, wide receiver and tight end.