Following the release of FS Isa Abdul-Quddus, Miami has an open spot at free safety. While the team signed Nate Allen, it is unclear where he is a starter or just a special teams ace. The Dolphins use Reshad Jones as an in the box safety who covers TEs/ RBs and helps play the run. Miami also uses a Cover-3 scheme that requires a rangey ‘centre-fielder’ and could look to the draft to find their future starter.
Marcus Williams, Utah
He is everything Miami need next to Reshad Jones. He’s an athletic and instinctive centre fielder who is ball-hawking free safety with outstanding ball skills. He has the desired speed to shut down runs to the outside and has high football IQ to figure out where the QB wants to go with the football. While Williams will need to add muscle to a slim frame, he is the perfect lone deep safety Miami is looking for. His height and skillset would compliment SS Reshad Jones, someone the Dolphins routinely drop into the box to play the run.
Budda Baker, Washington
An undersized safety who makes up for his small frame with a toughness and competitive desire that utilises his football instincts and tremendous speed. He is extremely aggressive in run support and can explode off the edge when used as a blitzer. He is the type of leader and safety coaches love. He accelerates and breaks on balls, trying to blow up receivers over the middle. His size may concern some but Baker has a tenacity and attitude that allows him to ‘play bigger.’ Could be a fun pairing him next to Reshad Jones.
Justin Evans, Texas A&M
A player who I believe is flying massively under the radar due to a deep and stacked defensive back class. He’s everything the Dolphins could wish for in the opening at free safety. He has the desirable athleticism and ball skills that Miami will look for in a centre fielder in their Cover-3 scheme. He’s also a ferocious hitter and brings a physical presence that will have small slot receivers cringing when they run routes over the middle. Evans has the potential to develop into a Pro-Bowl free safety as he is able to stick to receivers in coverage, while also laying out physical challenges and hits. Look at him go blow for blow with college football’s biggest back, Derrick Henry, in a 2015 game (see below). This is a free safety who doesn’t back down from anything. He’s an alpha!
Clearly the Dolphins have a variety of options to explore with pick No.54. The Dolphins laid a solid foundation with a successful draft class last year. While it is still too early to judge last years class, the Dolphins appear to have got their future franchise LT, a no.1/ no.2 long corner who fits their scheme; and a RB who compliments their feature back and has special teams value. Miami needs to go Defense with the 54th pick, and this draft class is loaded with premier talent for the Dolphins to bolster that side of the ball.