The Miami Dolphins have an extremely deep secondary unit but just because they have bodies doesn’t mean they will be really good.
12 players are listed as cornerbacks or defensive back on the Dolphins’ official roster. Five more players are listed as safeties. That is 17 players in the secondary that take up roster spots. Looking at the state of the roster today, prior to training camp and the bulk of off-season workouts, we can dive in to see how good the secondary will be.
Almost two weeks ago, the Dolphins parted ways with veteran Bobby McCain and this week they claimed a corner off waivers but 17 players is still a lot yet we can’t really be surprised, this is head coach Brian Flores’ favorite position group.
By the time September ushers in the start of the regular season, many of these players will be gone, if not sooner. Miami will continue to turn this part of the roster over throughout the off-season and when teams begin post-June roster trimming, the Dolphins could add and subtract.
Cornerback is strong on the top. Xavien Howard is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2020 with double-digit interceptions. He will look to repeat that again in 2021 and with five potential games against rookie QBs, he could see a few games with two interceptions.
On the other side, Byron Jones was his typical consistent corner last year. He isn’t the flashy guy like Howard but his coverage skills are good.
The Dolphins are hoping that Noah Igbinoghene will take a big step this year after an inconsistent rookie season last year. Miami also re-signed Nik Needham to a one-year deal. Corner Justin Coleman adds six seasons of experience to the DB unit but beyond these players, the Dolphins’ experience at the position drops.
Jason McCourty has the most experience with 13 years and will likely move back to safety. Miami has three other corners with one year of experience and Jamal Perry enters his third.
At safety, Miami will likely use McCourty but they drafted Jevon Holland in round two this past April. Eric Rowe is the top guy deep and enters his 7th season. Last year Miami saw a lot of positives from rookie Brandon Jones. Clayton Fejedelem has six years under his belt but is considered more of a special team contributor.
Brian Cole and Nate Holley both have one year of experience.
As deep as the roster shows the secondary having, the next steps taken by Brandon Jones and Noah Igbinoghene as well Holland’s contributions will be important, but we all know that the success really will depend on Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the outside and how well the safeties play.