By: Shawn Williams
Xavien Howard is a hall of fame talent. Let me repeat, Xavien Howard is a HALL OF FAME talent. That doesn’t mean we will see him on the ballot, or his ticket punched. It means we are afforded the opportunity to watch the uncommon. The last Dolphin inducted into the Hall of Truly Special People was Jason Taylor (we still pray the Football Gods, or journalists rather, will do right by Zach Thomas. Cam you’re up next). Taylor hung his kicks at the end of 2011, another decade prior it was Dan the Man. It’s been a tough start to the millennium for the Aqua and Orange. We’ve fickly followed, hyped and bashed, a plethora of past picks, free agent signings, coaches, GM’s, VP’s and even owners. We got real greatness from Cam Wake and Jason Taylor in twenty years. That’s it. But Xavien Howard is greatness personified.
To be honest, when the Dolphins made Howard the 38th pick in the 2016 draft I didn’t even know who he was. Injuring his knee twice the upcoming season didn’t illuminate much either. It wasn’t until he picked Big Ben in the season finale, that I even started to care. I had liked the little I saw and things I had heard, but a rook with knee problems gave me weird and uncomfortable feelings. The kid looked good in that playoff game, but then again, any Dolphin that picks passes puts a smile on my face and twinkle in my eye (see Jones, Reshad).
What I saw in ‘17 and ’18 I imagine I could compare to seeing the greatest magic trick ever; on repeat. Xavien Howard was the magician and it was a disappearing act for opposing quarterbacks. Really, entire portions of the field vanished into thin air, and wide receivers were locked in a box without escape. The “gotcha” moment was the physics defying acrobatics to catch well-intentioned balls. Just ask Andrew Luck. Howard was a paranormal force. He spooked the great Tom Brady twice in one game under bright lights on a Monday Night. In fact, X has accomplished the multi-pick game 5 times already in his career. He took two apiece from Trevor Siemian, Brady, Derek Carr, Luck and Josh Allen. He has 16 robberies in 46 games played. To do the math for ya, that’s 16 interceptions in 2 and ¾ seasons. We can add 41 pass deflections just for fun. I implore readers to find one defensive back in the NFL with comparable statistical marks since 2017.
No really, go. Please.
You’re right, the correct answer is NONE! Not Jalen Ramsey, not 2019 DPOY Stephen Gilmore, nor Darius Slay, Tre’Davius White, Marlon Humphrey or teammate Byron Jones; the highest paid cornerbacks in the league. Same for any Safety.
If you’re one of the bests you’re usually defined as a ballhawk OR shutdown corner. Xavien Howard is both. X has an interception in four straight games, and has allowed zero yards in 3 different games this season.
X has had his history of knee injuries and operations; he’s missed 24 games. Like I said weird and uncomfortable feelings. I don’t have the ability to create illusions, and I can’t make you look one way while I go the other; only he can do that. The numbers stand out, and I can’t calm the unease or make predictions. Is he up for 16+ live performances this season? I sure hope so. I’m a fanboy and roadie. I’m down for a full national tour.
He signed a 5-year contract in May of 2019, and I’d like to think his time in Miami and cities across the nation will outshine the magicians on residency contracts in Las Vegas. And hey, maybe his stop in Sin City on December 27th, will be the show of the weekend.
I’m not sure if “Magic Man” would stick or if he’d even like it (I think he just prefers X), but for someone whose stage presence reminds of Houdini, I’ll throw it out to the ether.
When news, rumors rather, broke yesterday that the Miami Dolphins are fielding, listening, entertaining etc. to offers for Howard, I saw Dolfans react in a way I haven’t seen in a long long time. They unanimously (Myself included) defended keeping him in Davie, save from a Laremy Tunsil sized ransom. Anyone who wears Dolphins fandom like a badge of honor want’s this man defending receivers for years to come, and with the addition of Byron Jones, who wouldn’t? I’m not sure I care about his contract, knees, or if he doesn’t fit the “super bowl window”. We have a chance, big, small, no matter, to see a Hall of Fame talent, paired with another All-Pro caliber corner for at least 4 more seasons.
We have a chance for the solo act to morph into a powerful duo. They could be more dangerous and prolific than Siegfried and Roy. The Miami Dolphins quickly refuted reports of any Xavien Howard trade, and I’m on two knees begging; let’s see how this plays out. Give the crowd what they want. And if I’m right, and He, as well as Byron Jones, live up to their spectacular potential, they can provide an encore ensemble to Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain so prolific we will be YouTubing their greatest hits for years to come.
Please welcome Shawn Williams to PhinManiacs and please check him out on Twitter @swilliams3205
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