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Ballage's work ethic and athleticism have made a strong impression on running backs coach Eric Studesville, one of the few holdovers from the old coaching staff in Miami, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports. "[Ballage]'s a big, physical body," Studesville said. "He can run. He's athletic. He's got a lot of growth to do as far as seeing and recognizing things. His work ethic is tremendous. He's got speed for a big man."
A size-speed freak with subpar college production, Ballage was selected at No. 131 overall (fourth round) in the 2018 NFL Draft and spent most of his rookie season playing special teams. He finally got his shot on offense when Frank Gore suffered a season-ending foot injury Week 15, immediately responding with a 75-yard touchdown scamper against Minnesota. The rookie averaged just 3.3 yards on his 35 other carries and 6.2 yards on nine catches, with 12 of his 45 touches (27 percent) going for no gain or a loss. The hit-or-miss style isn't optimal in an offense that already has Kenyan Drake doing a better version of the same thing, but the 237-pound Ballage does at least have theoretical potential to develop into a between-the-tackles grinder if he can improve his vision, toughness and upright running posture. He seems to have support from Studesville, but there's no guarantee other members of the overhauled Miami coaching staff will agree. We'll have a better read on Ballage's dynasty value once the Dolphins start to make some moves during the offseason.
Added 10:23 am (EST)
Added 10:23 am (EST)
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