Noah Igbinoghene faces his make or break season for Dolphins

Noah Igbinoghene (9) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Noah Igbinoghene (9) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Noah Igbinoghene is coming into a crucial off-season for the Miami Dolphins and his future with the team could depend on his 2022 season.

In 2020, the Miami Dolphins had three first-round draft picks. They used their first one on Tua Tagovailoa, their second on Austin Jackson, and their third on cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.

Igbinoghene was considered a reach by many NFL draft pundits. He hadn’t been a CB long as he transitioned from the receiver position and he was a developmental player at best entering his rookie year. Needless to say, expectations were rather low for 2020.

Igbinoghene appeared in 16 games his rookie year with two starts. He forced two fumbles and combined for 13 tackles total but his rookie season was anything but successful. A year later, he was starting one game of the seven games he was active for, healthy scratches the rest of the season.

So far in his short NFL career, Igbinoghene’s big claim to fame is that he was the draft pick Miami made after trading out of the 26th spot with the Packers who took Jordan Love and created a swarm of controversy in Green Bay.

Now, Igbinoghene will enter his third season in the NFL and with Miami and it will be up to Josh Boyer to continue his development and Sam Madison to make him better. If Igbinoghene can’t improve this year, there may not be a future for him beyond this season.

noah igbinoghene
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – AUGUST 21: Noah Igbinoghene (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

One of the issues facing the young corner is he hasn’t made many contributions on special teams. He has attempted to return punts in practices but that hasn’t gone very well. As a kick returner, Igbinoghene has four returns for 68 yards. His longest was 17 yards.

If there is something working in his favor it is his attitude. Igbinoghene is one of the hardest-working players on the Dolphins’ defense and it isn’t unnoticed. Coaches and other players have taken notice of his practices. Nik Needham had this to say about his teammate when asked about him and Igbinoghene getting more work in.

"“Noah has a high motor, super competitive. Every day he’s bringing it, no matter what. If it’s a little drill, like I have to do a little receiver drill, he’s going to go full speed. You have nothing but to respect that. I respect his game and he’s getting more comfortable out there.” – Courtesy of the Miami Dolphins media department."

There is practice work and then turning into gameplay and that is where Igbinoghene needs to take his next step. Miami won’t get much relief in cap space by releasing him. They would carry just over $6 million in dead space this year with a little more than $3 million in savings. Next year the dead cap drops to three while the savings drop to around $500 thousand.

What the Dolphins need him to do is take a step forward this year and if he can, maybe he can turn around his career. There is a lot of talent that has yet to surface and he needs to adjust in his third season.