Meet ‘Tank’: New Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley looks to follow in Byron Maxwell’s footsteps
When the Miami Dolphins made their third round pick late Friday night, the 97th pick of the NFL draft was pretty happy to find that he’d be playing in Miami.
“I feel like I fit that scheme well,” says new Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. “I feel like (the Dolphins) have an aggressive style, which I had at Clemson. I think I fit that mold pretty well."
Tankersley was the leader of a championship secondary with Clemson in 2017, but had to work very hard to get there. He spent two years mostly on special teams for the Tigers before earning a starting job and establishing himself as a physical corner who can shut down an opponent’s number one receiver.
He also fits the ‘long and lean’ mold that Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke prefers. Adding in speed that few wide receivers in the league can match, general manager Chris Grier liked the raw talent he sees in his new addition, and compares him to another Clemson product that already resides on the Dolphins roster, starting cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Asked what he likes about his latest acquisition, Grier effuses, “His size. He's long limbed, he's over 6-foot, 200-pound guy. He ran a 4.38 (40-yard dash), so you can see a lot of the traits. As a press corner, those are a lot of the things you look for. We think (there is) a tremendous developmental upside for him to get better as a corner."
Despite a six-year age difference, Tankersley and Maxwell already know each other well, having gone to the same college.
“Me and Byron have a close relationship,” said Tankersley. “I watched Byron play when I was being recruited out of high school, so I'm quite familiar with his game. I kind of model my game after him. Being on the same team as him and having the opportunity to play opposite of him, that's a blessing."
Tankersley also wasn’t afraid to display a bit of bravado in comparing himself to Maxwell.
"He's one of those bigger corners that can match up with anybody across the board, and I feel like I can match up with any (wide receiver) in the country or the NFL," said Tankersley. “So I feel like I fit the mold same as him - somebody who is going to go out there and play confident football."
Long on talent, and never short on confidence – that’s a good combination. Most draft analysts have rated Tankersley as one of the best defensive backs available in this year’s draft. If he works as hard for the Dolphins as he did in college, the team may have found a great fit in their secondary. And he’s ready to prove his worth.
"They're a great man (coverage) team. They run a lot of man. They want to match up. I feel like I fit their team.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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