The Miami Dolphins have spent a lot of time this offseason filling the void left by Olivier Vernon who moved on to the Giants. Miami needs to now turn its focus to the cornerback position. Miami must add at least one more veteran corner before training camp.
The Miami Dolphins have been active this offseason in building their defensive line. They have signed Mario Williams, Cleyon Laing, Andre Branch, Farrington Huguenin, and now Jason Jones. Miami has left no stone unturned, in regards to replacing Vernon on the defensive line and creating a dominant pass rush and brick wall against the run. It’s clear that Miami wants to be physical up front.
The Dolphins must now turn this same attention to their secondary and add another veteran cornerback. The Dolphins were 21st against the pass last year, allowing 31 touchdowns through the air, 53 passes longer than 20 yards, and 13 passes longer than 40 yards. Those are not encouraging numbers. The Dolphins have to do something to turn them around.
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Vance Joseph is building this defense to resemble the Seahawks. An attacking, pash rushing defensive front paired with a press cover 3 defense. Miami has matched Seattle in the pass rushing department, but is way lacking when it comes to the secondary. Seattle’s defense is so effective because the pass rush has time to get to the quarterback. The corners and safeties press at the line and cover the corners long enough for the pressure to get there.
Miami cannot expect to have an effective copycat of Seattle with only one half of the formula. They need to bring in players that will hold the receivers off their routes long enough for players like Wake and Williams to get the sack. A dominant line and a porous secondary will still end in frustration for Miami.
So far this offseason, Miami’s efforts to fix their secondary have been lackluster. They essentially traded Brent Grimes for Byron Maxwell, who is coming off a down year, as well as injuries. They drafted Xavien Howard and Jordan Lucas to play corner, but both are rookies and will need time to get accustomed to the NFL.
Then there is Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain who are two developmental players from last season, who haven’t shown they are ready for a full time roll. Miami’s options at corner are not something to feel confident about. After Byron Maxwell everyone else is a question mark.
Miami needs to seriously consider bringing in another veteran at corner. They don’t only need competition, but also quality depth players. Having a lot of players on the roster at a position isn’t depth, having multiple quality players at a position is. When I look at Miami’s corners I don’t see depth. I see a bunch of question marks.
There are still proven veteran corners in free agency. Leon Hall and Antonio Cromartie would both be great additions to the roster that would pay dividends this year and beyond. Both of these players could come in and compete right now for one of the starting spots. Both of them also fit the system that Miami will be running this season.
Leon Hall comes from Cincinnati and has experience playing with Vance Joseph. He can play both in the slot and on the perimeter. Miami has holes in both places and having someone who can come in and play well in both places would add a lot of value to this secondary. Hall’s price has been too high for Miami thus far, but Miami needs to start asking if money or winning is more important.
Cromartie would be another great add for Miami. He has experience being a shutdown corner and will not only provide competition and depth, but will be a great teacher for the younger players. He can come in and show the young players on the roster what it takes to be elite in the NFL.
The Dolphins play against Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, and Joe Flacco this season. All of them have the ability to pick apart a weak secondary. Miami needs to have multiple quality corners to go up against their strong passing attacks. Adding Hall or Cromartie would give Miami the depth and starting caliber players they need.