Latest On Dolphins RB De’Von Achane’s 2024 Role

The Dolphins signed accomplished wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason to serve as a complement to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and the team may also be getting increased WR reps from a somewhat unliklier in-house source. As David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details, the ‘Fins appear to be making a concerted effort to get second-year running back De’Von Achane more looks as a wideout.

Given Achane’s remarkable rookie season in 2023, in which he accumulated 800 rushing yards on just 103 carries, it makes sense that Miami would want to get the Texas A&M product the ball as much as possible and in as many ways as possible. Head coach Mike McDaniel, who believes the “sophmore slump” is a real phenomenon, said, “a lot of times, if you have success as a rookie, you go one of two ways. You’re either starved for more or you can get kind of comfortable. … You get out what you put in, and I think [Achane is] aware of that because nobody wants to have the climax of their career be the first year.”

To that end, Achane himself said that one of his primary goals this offseason was to improve his route-running so he could get more burn in the passing game, and he spoke about his work as a receiver during the Dolphins’ spring practices.

“Just me lining up at different positions, as far as like receiver, running routes and stuff,” he said. “That’s something that we’re doing different this year, so that’s something that I’ve been doing in the offseason.”

To be clear, Achane did see a fair amount of action from receiver positions in 2023. Of the 323 offensive snaps that Pro Football Focus credited him with last season, 73 of them came in the slot and 33 came outside the numbers. Jared Dubin of CBS Sports breaks down those figures a bit further, noting that while Achane would still receive handoffs when lined up as a receiver, he was also targeted on 21 passes and caught 16 of them for 122 yards. He finished the season with 1.58 yards per route run, which is 0.6 yards more than the the league-wide average for RBs lining up somewhere other than the backfield.

It therefore stands to reason that Achane would want to continue honing his receiving abilities, especially since his size (5-9, 188) precludes him from being a bell-cow back. His explosiveness — his 7.8 yards-per-carry average is a Super Bowl-era record for any RB with at least 100 rushes — makes him a formidable weapon no matter how he gets the ball.

“He had outstanding ball production. … To find different ways to get people the ball, whether that’s different types of pass routes, whether that’s different types of run schemes that you can get comfortable with, all those things. More ways to be at the point of attack to play within this offense, that’s what this offseason really provides for him,” McDaniel said.

Achane’s other main goal this offseason was to get stronger to better withstand the physicality of the NFL. He spent time on IR last year with a knee injury, and creating opportunities for him in space on the other side of opposing defensive lines should increase his chances of remaining healthy while also allowing him and fellow RB Raheem Mostert, a dynamic back in his own right, to be on the field at the same time.

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