Miami Dolphins Pre-Draft Analysis: Cornerbacks

Joel Auerbach

A pre-draft look into the Dolphins current cornerback unit as well as what the future holds.

CURRENT ROSTER:

The Miami Dolphins current roster features five CBs and only three who have more than 100 snaps in the NFL, and two of those players are looking towards how many snaps they have left in the tank. That sounds concerning, but let's move on.

Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis and Jimmy Wilson are the five CBs the Dolphins would be fielding if the season started today. A little less concerned? That answer could go either way.

Grimes, a 2013 Pro-Bowler and Comeback Player of the Year snub who allowed zero passing touchdowns last year, will be manning the left CB spot. Grimes is a shutdown corner who blends athleticism, technique and physicality wonderfully, but Grimes is turning 31 years old this year and has had injury concerns in the past.

Finnegan, who was signed after being cut from the St. Louis Rams this offseason, is a 30-year old former shutdown CB whose physical style of play used to speak for itself. But, Finnegan experienced a couple of down years in St. Louis.

Finnegan was hurt most of his time with the Rams. Though he played most of 2012, Finnegan only played in seven games last season, and he wasn't very good when he did play. Finnegan claims that these injuries are behind him and he is ready to return to the lockdown form he displayed while with the Tennessee Titans.

If Finnegan can return to even a shell of his old self the Dolphins will be in good shape on the corners. However, betting on Finnegan is not safe and a backup plan is needed. A backup plan like....

Jamar Taylor. Taylor, a 2013 second-round pick, played only 45 snaps in his rookie season due to lingering injuries. The Dolphins' coaching staff has nothing but high praise and expectations for Taylor coming into this season.

Taylor, before the signing of Finnegan, was in line to be handed the starting spot opposite Grimes. Now, and rightly so, Taylor will have to earn his position. This will bring out the best in both gentlemen, as well as Will Davis, who we will come back to shortly.

This competition will ensure that the most capable, consistent and driven guy will be playing next season. It means that the two youngsters will have to broaden their knowledge of the game to get an edge on Finnegan and each other.

It means that Finnegan will need to work extra hard, improving his conditioning. It means all three will learn to deal with adversity just a little bit better. This competition is beneficial for all involved, but most importantly it's good for a strong overall team.

Will Davis is the other youngster who failed to see 100 snaps on a football field this season. Davis was a third-round pick in 2013 and, like Taylor, was hampered with nagging injuries.

Davis has talent, as he displayed last preseason when he nabbed an interception, but always needed to put on a little bit of bulk in order to be an effective NFL CB. The hope is that with a full, healthy, offseason, Davis can progress to provide a third leg to the CB competition that will take place this training camp.

Jimmy Wilson is the final CB on the roster, though he is currently listed as a safety. Wilson has manned the Dolphins nickel CB for the past two seasons. It was a rough experiment at first, but Wilson, who has been switching between CB and safety his whole career, performed above expectations last season, pulling down two interceptions.

Wilson has been moved to provide a capable backup at the safety postion, where newly signed (and injury-prone) Louis Delmas will start.

THE FUTURE:

The Dolphins head into the NFL Draft, which is brimming with CB talent, with a solid CB unit. This doesn't mean that Dolphins' GM Dennis Hickey won't dip his toe into the CB rich waters of this draft, but it means it likely won't happen until the third day.

Even on the third day the Dolphins could find a CB who could eventually start. Ross Cockrell from Duke is an option, as is Auburn's Chris Davis, whose "kick-six" propelled his team to a historic victory over Alabama. Both are athletic players who break quickly to the ball and are stronger and more physical than they seem.

The Dolphins could also draft a small-school project and mold him behind the strong CB corps that is already in place. Pierre Desir (Lindenwood) and Walt Aikens (Liberty) are ideal prospects for this category. Both possess long, lean frames that NFL team's now look for in CBs, and both are extremely raw.

Follow @DannyWeeumzNFL on Twitter

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