Mobile, Ala. – Kalen Ballage has played multiple positions throughout his football career. He’s played quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, safety and even linebacker, but the running back position is obviously what he desires to play in the NFL.
“I see myself as a running back,” Ballage said following Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice. “I see myself as a Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson type guy who can come out of the backfield, run routes and be physical in the backfield.”
At 6-foot-2, 222 pounds, Ballage ran the ball well during practice but his athleticism and pass-catching ability is what caught some of the coaches off guard.
“Some of the coaches are surprised at how well I move for how big I am, can catch the ball out of the backfield. Stuff I knew I could, do but I was able to show them.”
While Ballage certainly has a future in the NFL as a running back, his ability as a receiver is undeniable. He could very well make the transition to H-back the way former Dolphin Charles Clay did in 2011 because of his pas-catching prowess. During his time at Tulsa, Clay averaged 5.35 yards per carry, rushing for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns in his four-year career as a Golden Hurricane.
Clay does not possess Ballage’s explosiveness, and by no means should Ballage cease taking handoffs from the backfield, but when he isn’t, he shouldn’t be relegated to watching on the sideline.
If Ballage is unable to win a starting running back job in the NFL, waiting next to the coach in order to finally spell the starting running back is contradictory to his overall talent level.
In addition to getting carries, Ballage could make an impact in the slot, as well as lining up as an in-line tight end or fullback. If Ballage’s next coach allows his versatility to work for him, not against him, he’d be able to remain on the field and contribute at other spots while waiting for his number to be called as a runner.
Ballage’s skill-set meshes well with a back like Kenyan Drake. Defenses wouldn’t know where either player is lining up, and would routinely be caught off balance from a match-up perspective.
If Ballage lands in Miami and the team elects to maximize his position flexibility, the Dolphins could move the football and score points in a myriad of ways in 2018.