After struggling to gain his footing during his rookie season, Miami Dolphins defensive back Noah Igbinoghene may be turning a corner.
The second-year cornerback out of Auburn was given regular snaps right off the bat to start the year in 2020, filling big shoes in Weeks 3 and 4 when starter Byron Jones missed two games. During an early-season test against the Buffalo Bills, Igbinoghene was torched on multiple occasions by Stephon Diggs and others as quarterback Josh Allen smelled blood and attacked primarily Igbo’s side of the field. Against the Seahawks, he gave up 95 yards and the game-sealing touchdown to David Moore.
After Week 4, the Dolphins essentially shut Igbinoghene down. He played more than 18% of defensive snaps just once down the stretch, and didn’t take a single snap on five different occasions.
So what does the future look like for the former first round pick? According to Pro Bowl teammate Byron Jones, things could be looking up for Noah Igbinoghene.
Byron Jones says that Noah Igbinoghene is an incredible talent. Can the second-year cornerback for the Miami Dolphins make the leap this season?
During his media availability on Thursday morning, the veteran Jones was asked about Igbinoghene’s progression and development, and had nothing but good things to say:
"“He’s an incredible talent…I think the way he’s approaching the game this year is going to be special…As a rookie, he balled out in camp. I love the way Noah is approaching the game”"
A good amount of praise from one of the best in the game. Jones has had a front row seat to the start of his teammate’s career, and has been around the league long enough to know what it takes to succeed. After facing such adversity so early on, a bounce back from Igbinoghene would certainly gain the respect of his peers, and it looks as though he is doing the right things so far.
The Dolphins have depth at the position, but being able to rely on Igbinoghene would be a major plus for Miami. Their talent is top heavy with Jones and Xavien Howard leading the way as the starters, but the rest of the players at the position are question marks. Jason McCourty is certainly a proven veteran talent, but how much does he have left in the tank? Other than he and Igbo, Nik Needham and Tino Ellis would likely be next up on the depth chart. With the bolstered tight end situation in New England and the dangerous passing attack in Buffalo, the Dolphins could use every healthy body they can get, especially late in the season. Miami’s Week 18 matchup will be played against the Patriots, and they’ll need all hands on deck.
If Igbinoghene is able to make a leap forward like Byron Jones suggests that he might, then one of the strongest defensive back units in the league may be even stronger than we expected.