This was somewhat of a beleaguered group last season. Tony Lippett was out for the season with an achilles injury, and we had to sign veteran CB Alterraun Verner, who played in 15 games for us with 2 starts. Rookie Cordrea Tankersley was pressed into action, and had some good moments and some bad ones, starting and playing in 11 games last season. Only 2 CB’s on the Dolphins current roster played in all 16 games last season, Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain. As far as consistency goes, McCain was our best CB last season. Xavien Howard had a stretch at the end of last season that was All-Pro caliber. There is definitely promise in this group, and one such promising figure is 2017 UDFA Torry McTyer, who has been opening eyes in training camp. Here’s the lowdown on all of our CB’s.
Xavien Howard CB – 6’1 192 – 25YO
“X” ended the season with a flourish. He had all 4 of his INT’s in 2 games, 2 in the Denver game, and 2 against New England, and one against Denver was for a TD. That was his breakout, and although he didn’t get an additional INT, he was playing as close to shutdown corner as you can get. He finished the season with 48 tackles (42 solo), 13 passes defensed, 1 sack, and 4 INT’s (1 for a TD). So we know who one of the starters is, as X will be one of them. If he can continue his strong play from the end of last season, we’re going to have a very strong secondary.
Cordrea Tankersley CB – 6’1 200 – 24YO
Our 3rd RD pick in the 2017 NFL Draft (#97), the Clemson product was forced to start 11 games last season due to injuries in the secondary. He was up and down, showing flashes of good play, and then as expected, looking lost at times too. His spot is definitely up for grabs, he has no such “lock” on the spot opposite X. He’s going to have to be more consistent, and also find the football. In 11 games starts, Cordrea had zero INT’s. He did finish with 31 tackles and 7 passes defensed. Competition is coming for that spot, so Cordrea is on notice!
Bobby McCain CB – 5’11 192 – 25YO
Good ol’ Bobby McCain had quite the season last year. He was so consistent playing mostly in the slot, that the Dolphins rewarded him with a 4YR/$27M contract. According the depth chart the Dolphins released, he’s opposite Xavien Howard, but I don’t pay much attention to that. Bobby is a slot CB, even with rookie draftee Minkah Fitzpatrick, who does the very same and a lot more, I think McCain will be on the inside almost exclusively this year as always. The 2015 5th RD pick has done well for himself, an excellent draft pick for sure.
Tony Lippett CB – 6’3 192 – 26YO
Lippett had a very nice 2016 season, but then missed the entire 2017 season with an achilles injury. Lippett showed great ball skills in coverage, finishing the 2016 season with 68 tackles, (45 solo), 10 passes defensed, and 4 INT’s. The tall, former WR played the ball very well as if he were the intended receiver. It’s a long recovery though, and Lippett left scrimmage the other day with an ankle injury. I’m not sure how much Lippett can contribute this season, but I’m pulling for him. If he can get healthy, I think he can be an impact player, but I’m not sure how much that injury has robbed his speed and cutting ability. Time will tell, and we’ll see if he get himself whole again.
Torry McTyer CB – 5’11 188 – 23YO
So far in the 2018 Dolphins training camp, he is the darling of the secondary. The 2017 UDFA who was signed by the Dolphins last May is really showing well early on training camp. The speedy UNLV product played in 7 games last season for Miami, mostly on ST’s. At the moment, he is listed 3rd on the depth chart the Dolphins put out before the preseason. How much does that matter? According to McTyer, it doesn’t. He’s going to keep playing hard, taking nothing for granted, and making the most of his opportunities. Although slightly shorter than most of the other Dolphins CB’s, McTyer has good speed, equal to or better than all of them. We’ll see if Cinderella can continue to shine.
Jalen Davis CB – 5’10 185 – 22YO
Davis was an UDFA signed out of Utah St. The former All-American CB was a non invitee to the NFL combine, a snub that reportedly fuels Davis. He showed well at his pro day running a 4.4 40, putting up 11 reps and soaring to a 36″ vertical. The 4 YR starter at Utah St. finished his college career with 11 INT’s, 4 FF, and 4 TD’s. He will have to battle to make the roster.
Cornell Armstrong CB – 6’0 185 – 22YO
The Dolphins drafted Armstrong in the 6th RD of the 2018 NFL Draft (#209). A 4 year starter for Southern Mississippi, he finished his career with 5 INT’s, 1 for a TD. Armstrong has had a slow start so far in training camp, and as we all know, he better pick it up, or he will find himself handing in his playbook sooner than later.
Taveze Calhoun CB – 6’1 188 – 25YO
Signed originally by the Bears as an UDFA then released, and signed by the Saints. The Saints released him in December of ’17, and the Dolphins signed him to the PS. In January, Miami signed him to a future/reserves contract. Another cornerback from Mississippi, but Mississippi St. in this case, totaled 6 INT’s in 3 years, also forcing 3 fumbles and recovering 1. Another longshot to make the roster, he faces an uphill battle. Tavese (pronounced Tuh-VEZ) had 2 INT’s in practice and a fumble return (60 YDS) for a TD, so don’t count him out quite yet.
So that’s where we’re at with the CB’s. I wouldn’t count Tank out of starting opposite X, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Lippett was on the PUP to start the season. I just have a feeling he might not be ready. I hope McTyer keeps pushing, and pushing hard, that will make Tank earn it if he wins that battle. I also hope X keeps balling, and doesn’t rest on his late year success. I also realize that I haven’t included Minkah Fitzpatrick in this group, because he’s the guy who will be playing everywhere, including both inside and outside in certain situations as a CB. Basically, he’s going to be a matchup guy, so Minkah will be everywhere. Good ol’ Bobby McCain is steady as can be, and I hope he continues in that vein. next up, safeties!