Do the Miami Dolphins have their own “Legion of Boom”?

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 15: Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 15: Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

If you look at the Miami Dolphins secondary on paper, you will see a legit secondary that could potentially be the best in the division and a few could argue that best in the league.

The Dolphins secondary was always a group or better yet a position that was classified as a need to have asset model. A position that was deemed important enough to outweigh any salary cap or draft allocation to it.  Previous regimens have shown an effect to double down on draft picks, where Jeff Ireland drafted Vonte Davis in the 1st round and then Sean Smith in the 2nd round in the 2009 draft.  Jimmy Johnson led the charge by drafting Sam Madison in the 2nd round in 1997, followed by drafting Patrick Surtain in the 2nd round in 1998.   The pedigree has been established that the Miami Dolphins value their secondary players by drafting or paying them in order to set the precedent that is required for the defense.

Fast forward to the Miami Dolphins current roster and you can see the following:

  • Byron Jones – 1st round pick – FA signing
  • Xavien Howard -Miami  2nd round pick – resigned
  • Jevon Holland -Miami 2nd  round pick
  • Eric Rowe – 2nd round pick – FA signing and resigned

Based on the above you can see the value that the Dolphins current front office has on addressing key pedigree players to such important roles.  Now, how it pans out is a completely different story.  The Dolphins were wise to support and handle the Xavien Howard contract status, whom NFL players just ranked as the 17th best player in the entire league.  His dominance on the field would have caused a drastic shift.  The newest member to this unit is Jevon Holland who has turned heads in training camp by becoming a ball hawk, something that his predecessor, Bobby McCain failed to do, thereby leading to departure.  However, one key aspect that McCain had was his ability to communicate, as a rookie, this will be the steepest learning curve for Holland, as his tenure in the NFL is just beginning.

Similar to all grouped positions, this unit needs to come together. They have 3 returning specialists that can mentor the young rookie on how to succeed, however, being a Free Safety your communication skill set has to be on the same level as your starting quarterback, because that is what you are on the defensive side of the ball.   But, what happens if an injury comes up or the length of a 17 game season creates some “load management” do the Dolphins have the bandwidth to accommodate? The short answer is no.

Brandon Jones is the only exception to the rule.  Jones played in a limited role last year when injuries to both Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe occurred.  Jones did play, but not well enough for the Dolphins to consider releasing or trading Eric Rowe.  That should tell you the level of value that Rowe has established with the front office.  Jones has potential, and he can showcase that once again during this upcoming season with the hope of the starting job being assigned to him next year.

After that, there will be a lot of mess. Noah Igbinoghene was supposed to be the Miami Dolphins insurance policy just in case X or Bryon Jones went down.  However, Noah hasn’t been able to meet the expectations of a first-round pick and the term draft bust is floating around his cloudy mind.  It’s unfortunate that a 23-year-old prospect can be labeled so quickly,  but in a league and a team with high expectations, the learning curve is very short.

Behind Noah, Nik Needham and Jamal Perry are serviceable slot corners, but putting them against prime boundary wide receivers would be a stretch and a potential mismatch that opposing teams would look to exploit.  Need proof, watch last year’s game against the Bills where Josh Allen targeted Noah every time he was lined up against Stephan Digg, which didn’t bode well for the former 1st round pick.

Coach Flores and Chris Grier can’t play the “what if” game, it will drive them crazy.  Focus on what is in front of you and what they have planned for.   Starting with these four starting players, the Dolphins’ secondary seems like an area of concern for opposing teams.   I grew up watching Surtain, Madison, Sammy Knight, and Brock Marion.  This was the type of secondary I loved to watch, to be honest, this was the first legion of boom before that concept ever existed.  With these dynamic players, the Dolphins might have finally found their replacements.