Finding a slot corner
With Xavien Howard agreeing to his amended contract for 2021, the boundary seems to be set in Miami for the time being. Howard and Byron Jones should have another strong season as outside corners, but who will Miami deploy to cover the slot?
The Dolphins have a ton of players with experience playing in the slot. Justin Coleman was one of the premier slot corners in the NFL prior to his stint in Detroit. Jason McCourty played some slot in New England and did it at a high level from 2018-2019. Nik Needham manned the slot corner position for the Miami Dolphins in 2020. Those are Miami’s most experienced slot corners and they have produced at a similar level from that position.
"Slot 2018-2020 Coleman McCourty Needham Targets 140 78 85 Completions 80 43 49 Comp % 57.1% 55.1% 57.6% Touchdowns 8 4 4 Interceptions 2 2 4 Pass Defended 18 7 7 QBR Allowed 91.6 81.6 78.9 Advanced stats courtesy of SIS Data Hub Pro"
While Coleman, McCourty and Needham have played the most slot corner, Miami could still look else where to fill the vacancy. Noah Igbinoghene has been taking some reps at slot so far this training camp and Miami would surely like to see the 2020 first round selection start making a meaningful contribution to the defense. Rookies Trill Williams and Jevon Holland also both played a ton of reps in the slot during their final college seasons.
The Miami Dolphins have one of the more versatile secondaries in the NFL. They have the ability to deploy numerous players in the slot and they are likely to switch it up week to week and play to play. Whether they decide to stick with veterans or give younger players more reps is worth monitoring.