The Dolphins traded up in the second round to draft cornerback Xavien Howard from Baylor. This young rookie is expected to compete for one of the starting cornerback spots on the roster.
Cornerback: Xavien Howard
The Miami Dolphins traded up in the second round of this years draft to select cornerback Xavien Howard. This young player out of Baylor University is the ideal size and scheme fit for the Dolphins new coverage scheme under Vance Joseph. At 6’0” tall and 200 pounds, Howard is the big physical corner that can compete with larger receivers in the NFL.
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Howard had a great junior season for the Baylor Bears and showed enough talent to go high in the draft. He showed improvement each year and showcased his ability last season with a career high in interceptions and a first team All Big 12 nomination. Howard is a bigger corner and used his strength and size to push receivers off routes. He also used his size to break up a lot of passes and tackles for minimal gains.
Even though Howard is a great young talent, he is also a rookie and has things he needs to polish in this technique. Howard showed some weaknesses when playing off coverage last season. He would often find himself out of position and end up chasing the play rather than defending it. He was also very handsy and had a number of pass interference penalties and many more that would have been called in the NFL.
Howard started all 13 games with five interceptions, 10 passes defended, 37 tackles and one fumble recovered.
Xavien Howard will be competing for a starting cornerback position this offseason. He has the talent and size to be an effective corner for the Dolphins and should be a contributor this season. Howard will have his hands full fighting off Tony Lippett for the starting perimeter corner position, and will have to make enough plays and grow up enough for the coaches to put their faith in him.
Expect Howard to see a good deal of playing time as a rotational corner and part of Miami’s Dime package. It will be hard for him to win the starting spots with talented veterans fighting for them like Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett, but he will still see plenty of opportunities on the field. This will be a learning season for Howard and he will have the chance to develop into a great player without being thrust into action too soon.
2016 Predicted Stats
20 tackles, one interception and 7 passes defended.