A Miami Dolphins Perfect Match

Perfect Match

Let’s be honest with each other, if the season started today, we would have Dmitri Patterson and Richard Marshall as our starting cornerbacks with Nolan Caroll being our nickel back.  Please contain your excitement (sense the sarcasm).  Since I started following the Dolphins, we never had to worry about our starting cornerbacks.  We had Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison on our edges.  When we let those players test the market and we thought we found our next great match by drafting Vonta Davis and Sean Smith.  Jeff Ireland has now lost both of those players via trades and free agency.  So we, the fans are left wondering, whose are next perfect match?

In my opinion we have two options.  Option 1 would be signing a veteran, established cornerback and pairing him with a young rookie.  Option 2 would be a repeat of what did a few years ago and that is doubling down on two rookie cornerbacks.  What’s the best option? Well, let’s take a closer look at both:

Option 1 – Veteran and rookie CB

The free agent market doesn’t really have that much talent left on the cornerback market.  The best case would be Brent Grimes, however it should be noted that he is coming off a serious injury where he tore his Achilles and landed on the Injured Reserve for the entire year.  But before that injury, this kid was considered a player to watch.  This was evident based on the fact that the Atlanta Falcons designated him a Franchise player.  It would be a risk to sign Grimes to a long term contract, rather an incentive ridden one or two year deal would be the ideal situation for this player.  It would protect our team, and it would also provide Grimes an opportunity to broadcast his talents to the entire league which could set him up for a larger contract next year.

Adam Jones has started understanding the game and appreciates what it takes to stay in this league.  He has shown promise and has matured since his rookies activities led him to be cut by two different teams.  Jones had a solid year with the Bengals and started living up to his first round status.  Jones would not be looking for a large contract, rather a fair one.  Based on the maturity that Jones has shown these past few years, I believe that he would be the ideal mentor to work with a rookie’s cornerback.  The first-hand knowledge that he could pass along and educate to a young rookie would be one of the best attributes that he would bring to the table if he decides to sign with the Dolphins.

Antonio Winfield and Nnamdi Asomugha are two talented cornerbacks; however I believe that they would sign one year deals with potential contenders as they are on the last cycle of their NFL careers.

Option 2 – Doubling down

we’ve made some great moves to get younger, get faster, more explosive, more physical. Some of the moves we’ve made are certainly upgrades to what we’re trying to get accomplished on both offense and defensively.
Jeff Ireland press conference extracted from Miami Dolphins.com

If you read the above statement by Ireland you can’t help but think that he wants the teams speed to be an asset.  Injecting two dynamic and exciting young players to our secondary would only entice our fan base that Ireland means business.  By drafting two corner backs in next month’s NFL draft, we would see a repeat of what Ireland did a few years ago, however, this might be the best option we have.

You can’t go to any mock draft and not see how NFL media communities are linking the Miami Dolphins to Xavier Rhodes.  Rhodes has blossomed into a first round selection based on his raw athletic ability which he showcased to all General Managers at the NFL combine last month.  Rhodes is a solid 6’1, 210 pound athlete.  He ran a 4.43, 40 time at the combine and showed solid progression during his on the field activities.  One thing to mention is that last year, Jeff Ireland drafted two players from the University of Miami, as the fan base was always wondering why the Dolphins never select any Florida grown talent.  Rhodes played for Florida State, so selecting him 12th overall, might increase Ireland popularity as well as bring a solid addition to our secondary.

If we chose to double down, we would need another rookie cornerback to pair with Rhodes.  As such it would be wise to use one of our two second round picks on obtaining another prospect. Enter Darius Slay, from Mississippi State.   All the attention this year has been directed to Slay teammate, Jonathan Banks, and his injury concerns.  Banks injuries have led scouts to look at the player that subbed in from him which was Slay.  Slay had an amazing combine by running one of the fastest 40 times for his group and demonstrated solid awareness during his on field activities.  Based on Slay strong performance many believe that he is starting to climb up draft boards where Banks and his injury concerns are dropping.

If we decide to upgrade other positions in the 2nd round, one player might be available in the 3rd round that would create an interesting story line.  That player is Tyrann Mathieu aka the Honey Badger.  As many of our fans know this player was asked to leave the LSU program for drug addictions to conduct that didn’t properly reflect the culture of LSU Football.  Tyrann is now looking for a 2nd chance to prove that he is worthy of playing in the NFL.  He worked out for everyone during the NFL combine, with mixed results.  Tryann did show potential on the field, however his individual work out, specifically the bench press might have hurt his overall value.   During the combine, the NFL network team asked Tryann about his time at LSU and how he is going about rebuilding his image, he stated the following:

“I didn’t have everything together back in college. I had everything together as far as football, but when it came to my social life, my personnel life, I didn’t have everything intact. I didn’t have my emotions intact. Spiritually, I wasn’t intact. Once you take football away, you are able to work on the person. These last six months, that is all I had was Tyrann the person. I attacked the person, I attacked my issues. I think that is why I am here at the combine … Back when I was the Honey Badger, I didn’t have everything intact. Going forward, I am going to focus on being Tyrann Mathieu and that is the person I want to control right now.”

Drafting Tyrann would be no different than signing Adam Jones.  The only difference is that Jones has shown he has matured on and off the field.  Tyrann would be an intriguing prospect to watch out for, remember he was once considered one of the best athletes in the NCCA, by being a finalist for the Heisman Award.  Tyrann might not fit into Philbin culture, but would be an interesting story line to monitor.

Ireland and his team of scouts have a lot of work left and must decide which option they will chose to enforce.  What we do know for certain is that when our players hit the field, we will be watching our new cornerbacks develop, and we can only hope that their bond, like all new relationships, is the start of something special.

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Tags: Adam Jones Brent Grimes Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Xavier Rhodes

  • Spazzola77

    I say double down. …I like Rhodes at the 12 spot. 2nd I’m starting to like Slay.

    • dj

      Watch the tape on Slay after Banks went down due to injury….i think when he started living outside of Banks shadow, he really started to grow.

    • Paulmatthew22

      You guys should GM for the Raiders,.

  • jeremy161616

    Absolutely we double down. Just not with Rhodes. He’s a press man corner, not a zone guy which is what I keep hearing we’re going to be. With this in mind I think we can wait until the second and third rounds to snap them up.

    I’d be more interested with Poyer,Banks, Ryan or Alford. All of whom seem more adapted to a zone system.

    • dj

      I agree with you that Rhodes is a press corner. However when Koyle implement the cover 3 call for our secondary, you need a press corner and a zone free CB. Each CB that is playing, needs the ability to do both. Imploring Both Rhodes and Slay give us that opportunity

  • http://twitter.com/ctphins Ctphin

    I like Rhodes and tyrann and maybe even Reid at safety.

    • dj

      One safety to watch out for is another Florida product…Jonathan Cyprien. i believe he could be our 2nd, 2nd round pick and eventually replacement for Clemons

      • Paulmatthew22

        We just re-signed Clemons.That usually means we arent looking for a replacement,.Duh!

        • dj

          Exactly my point….Clemons re-signed to a one year contract…Therefore it wouldnt surpise me, if the Dolphins drafted an eventual replacement

  • http://www.facebook.com/scubaray2012 Ray Deeken

    since we still have some cap space to play with, how about, draft Xavier Rhodes and Tyrann Mathieu as well as sign PacMan, we have some money to play with and this would hedge all our bets

    • jeremy161616

      Do you really think that getting rid of Marshall, Philbin has any desire for criminals like PacMan or the Honey Badger?

      • Paulmatthew22

        I totally agree,.The fins arent going to get a bunch of thugs,divas, and questionable characters in our locker room,.They just cleaned house,.If it aint squeeky,We aint biting,.Philbin really does know what he wants,.and what he doesnt want,.Im glad he isnt reading this article,.Its pathetic

    • dj

      The mentorship that Jones could provide Tyrann might be the best situation. However, It would be interesting to the results of the interview that was conducted between the Dolphins and Tyrann at the combine. Remember the Dolphins had a full crew there

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-J-Bailey/1055197089 Matthew J Bailey

    Sign Grimes and draft Poyer, Slay or Jamar Taylor from Boise St.

  • Paulmatthew22

    We dont need super good corners! They are one of the most over-rated positions in football,.You need 4 decent ones, and a good front 7 with good safety help,.Thats what the Dolphins have now!,.The new LBs they have will be able to get more pressure on the Qb than Dansby and Burnett did in zone blitz situations,. If we get a decent FA corner and one in the draft I will be more than content,.We need a TE a OL and a WR in this draft,.Lets get some touchdowns!,.We didnt give up alott of points at all last yr!!!,.We just couldnt score any points!!! If our defense plays as good as it did last yr and we score 14 more pts a game we will be in the SUPERBLOWL!,.!,.The defense is FINE!,.Oh yeah,.and Vernon will help with pass rush also!,.I wouldnt want to have to block the Dolphins defense this yr !

  • Paulmatthew22

    Why do you think that the Jets are trying to get rid of revis?,.Because one good corner doesnt stop 4 wr sets,.And I dont wanna spend 80 million dollars trying to do it,.I want a good front 7 to knock the qb out of the game! PERIOD,.. This column is a joke,.Don’t buy it Ireland