Granted, Thomas will likely be given a fair shot to shed the bust tag, but the former second-round draft pick was put on notice when Jeff Ireland submitted a card with Gillislee's name on it.
The former Gator is a nice, well-rounded pickup for Miami. But what will his role be with the Marine Mammals?
Gillislee could be asked to do a lot for Miami in his rookie season.
If he beats out Thomas, he will be the No. 2 running back on the roster. He might well be the best pass-protector at the position on the roster from Day 1—Lamar Miller couldn't get on the field last year in part because of deficiencies as a blocker—meaning he could be in for some third-down work.
Here is what Bleacher Report's B.J. Kissel had to say:
Gillislee has made a name for himself with his ability and willingness to take onblitzers and excel in pass protection. He'll lay a shoulder into a blitzer and put him flat on his back. He'll cut-block, chip and get out as an outlet receiver for his quarterback.
He shows soft hands out on the edge and does a good job of getting into space when coming out of the backfield. Gillislee also up screens well in the passing game and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
His underrated skills in the passing game could give him an early edge with the Dolphins at the position.
As mentioned, Gillislee will be duking things out with Thomas for that No. 2 spot right out of the gate. There is little question he will be ahead of Marcus Thigpen—whose role is primarily on special teams—and Jonas Gray, the injured pickup out of Notre Dame from last year.
If Gillislee does nab that second running back role, he could actually have some statistical relevance in Miami. Particularly if he gets on the field in third-down situations, given his abilities in the passing game.
Here are his stats from college:
If it's not plainly evident, Gillislee did not ascend to starter until his senior season, and he thrived in that role.