On Thursday,I started a week long project where I’ll be taking a look at which positional battles pique my interest in this upcoming season of Miami Dolphins football. Week One of OTA’s are winding down, and after scoping out the interior offensive line, I wanted to look at what I think is the second most important position that needs to be filled.
The battle to earn the starting cornerback spot opposite of Brent Grimes is wide open. The Dolphins have rounded up a ton of young talent to try and replace the hole left by the departure of last year’s starter, Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan was cut back in March, and then decided to retire. The competition will be fierce for the starting job, so let’s first take a look at the new blood coming to the team.
Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain are both rookies picked by the Dolphins in the 5th round. Miami’s current regime is notorious for being reluctant to give starting snaps to rookies. But with the gaping need of replacing not only a starting cornerback, but also needing to fill in the nickel spot (due to the departure of Jimmy Wilson), the Dolphins may very well be in position to start their young guys. Lippett played both corner and wide receiver for Michigan State. His biggest strengths are his size and ball catching ability. The Dolphins plan to use him (as of now) only as a cornerback, and he will need the entirety of camp to polish his technique. He’s very raw at corner and will need to learn all the minute details that his new position entails.
Bobby McCain is the more polished of the two. He can play both zone and man coverage well, and he will probably have a smoother transition to the pro level. The knock on him is size - he has a small frame and not much weight to put behind it. He will more than likely compete for the nickel position.
The Dolphins also went out and hired some mercenary guns to help on their plight, Brice McCain and Zack Bowman. McCain is viewed purely as a nickel corner due to his size. He had a decent season last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but this came after a horrid showing in 2013. Pro Football Focus graded McCain as the worst corner of 110 qualifiers that year.
Bowman is a seven year veteran, and is expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite Grimes. He also has the most experience outside of Grimes. With the past history of injuries the Dolphins have had at the cornerback position, I believe Bowman may prove to be an invaluable cog to what should be a dominant defensive group.
Sammy Seamster was with the Dolphins in 2014, but if you don't know who he is, no one would blame you. He saw close to no action last year, and is mostly seen as a project: good size/ speed, but bad ball skills and tackling form, and he needs work in almost all the needed skillsets outside of natural ability.
The most intriguing of the cornerback group? That would be Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. After the Dolphins spent high draft picks on the pair in 2013, there has been one injury after another for the still-young duo. Taylor is penciled in as the starter right now, but you better believe there will be a ton of competition going on in the coming weeks for that open starting cornerback role.
This story was written by Pablo Gomez. Follow him on Twitter @PabloGRadio.