Why Noah Igbinoghene needs to be better this year

Noah Igbinoghene (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Noah Igbinoghene (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

There is no better opportunity for Noah Igbinoghene to establish his ability to operate as an NFL starting cornerback, than right now. The former 1st round pick by the Dolphins back in 2020 has not played up to par, but Miami needs him to be better this season. Sure, he has only been playing the position for less than a handful of years, but that is no excuse. Especially when you get selected in the first round.

Igbinoghene has not had much playing time due to being in Brian Flores’s doghouse last season, but his opportunity is now and he must seize it. Coming out of Auburn in 2020 Igbinoghene had a lot of positive traits you would like as a starting cornerback. He is strong, physical, and fast. He can also contribute to special teams which he has done in his first two seasons. In fact, Igbinoghene only played 62 snaps last season as a wide CB. Logging an additional 37 snaps in kick coverage and 32 in punt coverage,  according to PFF.

But in the matter of a year, things have changed. He has been thrown into the fire and has first crack to line up opposite of lockdown corner Xavien Howard. The injury to Byron Jones has given Igbinoghene the chance to earn the job, now it’s his job to secure it. Teams are likely to avoid throwing to Howard’s side of the field which will result in plenty of opportunities for Igbinoghene to show why he was worthy of that first-round pick.

Tom Brady, the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback, spent most of Wednesday’s practice pursuing Igbinoghene. With Igbinoghene in coverage, he completed two passes to Julio Jones, making the former Pro Bowl receiver look like he did in his peak. Then, during the final situational period of practice, Brady moved his offense into field goal range by completing a 20-yard comeback ball to Deven Thompkins, who beat Igbinoghene. It was evident that the Buccaneers considered Igbinoghene as the defense’s weakest link.

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Noah Igbinoghene Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The reason why I believe Igbinoghene has a chance to develop and sharpen his technique and skills is that he will be going up against Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and co every day in practice, The old saying says “Iron Sharpens Iron”. Also, Igbinoghene can learn and study by Howard and Jones. Also, the addition to the coaching staff with former Dolphins cornerbacks Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain should benefit Igbinoghene.

Over the last two seasons, Igbinoghene has seen improvement in his PFF grade, but still, it is not a grade worth having. This season will be a real test and will likely decide if Miami decides to use their fifth-year option on Igbinoghene. If he can hold his own, this already stellar defense has the potential to be even better. If Igbinoghene fails to adjust, develop and grow as a player next year might be his last as a Dolphin.

Will Igbinoghene step up to the challenge? It is almost time to find out as were exactly one month away from the home opener!