I have always been a draft nut ever since I was a teenager. I would, and still do if my wife lets me, watch hours and hours of draft coverage. My parents would say, “How can you watch this? It is basically someone reading names off of a phone book.”
I would pay attention to Mel Kiper Jr’s big board and I would constantly be scanning the internet for mock draft content. It always makes me shake my head when an “expert” would predict a player to a team that that team would not pick due to that player not being a scheme fit or a need. It seems like these experts always give the Dolphins one of these non-scheme fit or need picks.
It happened again this year, one of these so called experts mocked the Dolphins taking a cornerback. I swear these guys just draw a name out of a hat. Don’t get me wrong, the Dolphins need a lot of help on the defense, but I do not see them going with a boundary cornerback in the first three rounds.
That is our deepest and youngest position on defense. In my opinion we have three solid starting cornerbacks, and we will have a problem next year getting all of them on the field, the cornerback position is a bright spot on the Dolphins’ defense.
One of the biggest bright spots to emerge on this defense is Tony Lippett. Lippett who was drafted as a converted WR, was supposed to be a long term project, but when forced into the lineup Lippett shined. Lippett has everything you want in a cornerback. He has long arms and a big frame.
Lippett also has smooth technique which is shocking when you realize how inexperienced he is at the position. If Lippett works on getting his upper body stronger, getting off of blocks, and being aggressive on screens he will have a chance to be really good in the NFL.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tony Lippett is at the top of the screen. The Bengals throw the ball to his side of the field. Lippett does a good job of peeling off his man, fighting through a block, and making a play on the ball carrier.
Lippett is at the top of the screen playing off. The Bengals call a screen to Lippett’s side of the field with an exotic formation. Lippett needs to get off the block quicker to make a play on the ball carrier.
Lippett is at the top of the screen up on his man. Lippett keeps his man in front of him and breaks quickly on the ball as the ball arrives to the receiver to disrupt the play.
Lippett is at the top of the screen playing off. The Bengals call a run play. Lippett shows a willingness to throw his body at the ball carrier in order to stop the run.
Lippett is at the top of the screen playing off. The Bengals throw it to A.J. Green who is running a smoke route, Lippett is covering. Lippett does a really good job of reading and reacting to the pass. Lippett fires off toward Green as soon as the ball is thrown.
Lippett makes the mistake of trying to rush in the tackle with his head down instead of not breaking down before making contact with Green. Green makes Lippett pay for his mistake with a touchdown.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. The Bengals call a quick pass at Lippett. Lippett does a great job of running with his man and keeping an eye on the QB. Lippett makes a great play on the ball as the ball gets to the receiver.
Against the Titans, Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen and is playing off the line of scrimmage. The Titans run the ball to the left side of their formation. Murray bounces it out. Lippett makes an open field shoe string tackle.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. The Titans call a run play to the left of the formation. Murray gets to the second level. Lippett hits Murray around the legs and prevents Murray from gaining a lot more yards. Lippett does need to learn how to wrap up the ball carrier, too often he throws himself at the feet of the ball carrier with his head down.
Lippett is at the bottom of the screen. The Titans run the ball to the left with Henry. Lippett is there to stop Henry, but instead of wrapping up Lippett throws himself at the feet of Henry. I would probably run the other direction if I saw a man of Henry’s stature coming at me. Lippett needs to breakdown and wrap up.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Tajee Sharpe catches a quick out. Lippett taxes him for catching the ball with a physical shoulder.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. The Titans throw a quick curl to Tajee Sharpe. Lippett gave Sharpe a lot of cushion because they were in a two-minute defense. Sharpe puts a juke on Lippett, as Lippett is once again jumping at the ball carrier’s feet with his head down. Sharpe squirrels past Lippett for an additional five yards.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen. Lippett is cover his man when Mariota scramble his way. This play illustrates another thing Lippett has to work on. At times he gets locked up with blockers. Here Lippett needs to get off his blocker and limit Mariota from gaining more yards.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen. I am not sure if it’s a player’s preference or a coach’s design, but Lippett gives a lot of cushion which will bite him at times. Here is an instance of it biting him.
Lippett gives Rishard Matthews a cushion and then gives him more cushion by backpedaling. Matthews is able to make a uncontested catch at the first down marker to move the chains.
This offseason Lippett needs to work on getting off blocks. It seemed like every time there was a screen thrown his way, he was either a non-factor in stopping the play or it took him a while to disengage from the block and assist with a tackle. Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen.
The Steelers call a screen pass his way. Lippett gets latched on by the blocker and it took five seconds for him to shed his blocker. Teams will take advantage of this and throw screens his way all game if he doesn’t fix this issue.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen. Pitt throws the ball in the shallow flats to Xavier Grimble. Lippett does a nice job of transferring over his zone responsibility to next zone then getting back to his zone. Then he finishes the play by making a tackle on the ball carrier.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen across Antonio Brown on this play. Lippett understands he has deep help and shows a good trail technique by running step for step with Brown.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen and shows another good example of changing direction and responding quickly to the ball carrier.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen across from Antonio Brown. He has deep help over the top. Lippett show off great trail technique. He is stride for stride with Brown. This contributes to a coverage sack.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen and is going against Sammie Coates. Lippett has one on one coverage against Coates who is one of the fastest WRs in the league. Lippett did give Coates cushion but a lot of CBs have given Coates cushion one on one and lived to regret it.
The Steelers throw a deep ball to Coates. Lippett has a good back pedal and turns his hips smoothly to run full stride with Coates. Coates never had a chance on this play. Lippett did a great job of standing his ground and boxing out Coates.
Lippett is at the bottom of the screen. The play is at the other side of the play but I want you to notice his smooth transition from back pedal to exploding to what is in front of him. Lippett doesn’t have to take extra steps in order to change directions, just plants one foot and goes. Very impressive for a man his size.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Lippett is playing press. I would like him to get a little more physical at the line of scrimmage, but he does a good job of getting his hands on the WR and running backwards with the WR.
Lippett is lined up at the top of the screen. Lippett gives Tyrel Williams cushion on this play. The Chargers throw a deep in with Williams for a 20+ yard gain. Lippett gives up the most inside.
This may be due to his off ball cushion, non-physical style of game. Or it may be the defense forcing thing to the inside and having linebackers and safeties punish WRs going over the middle. This is something he needs to work on.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Lippett’s awareness is very good. He peels off his responsibility when he notices Rivers throwing a corner fade route to the back corner of the end zone. This was an important play because if the Chargers score a touchdown, they would get the lead and maintain momentum.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Lippett again shows off good ball skill and awareness while playing zone. Lippett runs with his man while keeping his eyes on the QB. The ball is in the air when Lippett leaps and gets the game sealing interception.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. I came away being very impressed on how Lippett plays the deep ball. Lippett demonstrates a solid back pedal, then a smooth transition to be in phase.
Then Lippett finds the WR and bodies him. But the thing that makes the coverage good is how while running with the WR he finds the ball by turning his head back while making contact and cutting the WR off from making a catch.
Lippett is lined up at bottom of the screen. Lippett demonstrates really good cover ability on this play. Lippett has a smooth back pedal. Then transitions fluidly from back pedal to in phase. This allows him to run step for step with the WR.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Lippett demonstrates great cover ability on this play. He runs step for step with the quick footed Tavon Austin. Austin runs a comeback route. Lippett breaks on the ball smoothly and is able to get his hands on the ball, unfortunately he was unable to bring it in.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. Lippett needs to work on being more aggressive on screens that are thrown his way. In my opinion he grades out poorly against screens. He needs to attack and not be hesitant.
The Steelers throw a screen his way and Lippett hesitates which allows the blocks to develop. Lippett was too late to make a play on this play, and Antonio Brown was able to make a touchdown.
Lippett is lined up at the bottom of the screen. In my opinion Lippett had an excellent year, but Lippett had a rough game against Pittsburgh. This may have left a bad taste in Dolphins fans mouths. I think many people point to this play in particular because Brown scored a touchdown while Lippett was covering him.
I don’t know if it was Lippett’s fault. Lippett knows he has a safety behind him so he tries to make a play on the ball. He actually makes a pretty good play on the ball, unfortunately Roethlisberger made a better play.
This film review was done by Matthew Knowles. Follow him on Twitter: @blueflamespcl
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