Last week, the Phinsider Community took a look at possible breakout players for the Dolphins in 2012. After voting, Charles Clay was selected as the most likely to breakout this season, with Jared Odrick taking the second most likely position. However, it's another player that was on the nominees list that NFL.com feels is poised to breakout this year, cornerback Sean Smith.
Smith has been a source of frustration for many Dolphins fans, watching him make a great play on the ball, only to drop a sure interception. In fact, as NFL.com points out, he led the league in dropped interceptions in 2010 with five. At the same time, the article also points out, he was ranked in the top 10 cornerbacks in Football Outsiders' "Success Rate" in both 2009 and 2010.
Last season, Smith grabbed two more interceptions, but also seemed to be out of position more often than not, allowing a big play from opposing offenses.
Now, this season, NFL.com sees Smith ready to turn around his 2011 performance, benefiting from new defensive coordinator Kevin Coy's press-man coverage system.
"At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Smith has the length to match up with the game's taller receivers," the NFL.com article states. "Smith appears to be a bit thicker and stronger after hitting the weights hard this offseason, which could be beneficial in defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's press man-coverage scheme. Smith reportedly was the team's unofficial leader in interceptions during organized team activities and minicamp. If Smith is able to keep grabbing those when it counts, he could be in a position to do quite well on the free-agent market next offseason."
I fully agree with NFL.com's story, especially since I was the one who nominated Smith for our breakout player vote. Smith has to have a breakout year this year, his final year of his rookie contract, if he wants to be re-signed to a big deal in Miami, or wants to cash in as a free agent next year. I really think Smith is going to be a force in the Dolphins secondary this year, and he should be in position to make more plays - and hopefully actually catch those interceptions.