The elventh question on depth from CBS Sports takes a look at the big nickel. CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan recently asked what it means to have depth in the NFL, then developed 13 different questions about each NFL franchise, looking at key positions on the field and who would fill in if needed, in an effort to find the clubs that do have "depth." Kirwan ultimately reached the conclusion that two teams, the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals, best fit the idea of "depth" on a roster.
He also listed five teams that could be considered "honorable mention" franchises when it comes to the ever-important depth: the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and a "tossup" between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Kirwan explained the honorable mention list, writing, "they don't satisfy all the categories but they did better than most teams hitting on at least nine of the 13."
The depth questions start with an entry criteria question, one that if you answer no, you do not move on to the rest of the fields and simply do not have depth. Since the Dolphins met the entry criteria for the depth discussion by having a backup quarterback that "can go at least 2-2 in a four-game stretch" with Matt Moore, we have been breaking down the rest of the questions Kirwan poses. The eleventh area for consideration is:
Is there a third safety for big nickel defenses?
With the very real fear of the answer to each of these questions being exactly the same, the answer to Miami's big nickel package is Jimmy Wilson, and it's a position he has played several times for the Dolphins. Miami often slides Wilson from the nickel cornerback role into more of a third safety type of player, and he is usually effective in that role.
The Dolphins also have the felxibility to slide Jordan Kovacs or Michael Thomas into the lineup as a third safety, if Wilson is needed at cornerback.
Wilson really is a jack-of-all-trades for the Miami secondary, and he is good enough to play in all these roles without degrading his ability. The Dolphins seem to want him working as a safety, ultimately, but his athleticism and ability to cover keep him pushed up as the nickel corner, getting him on the field as much as possible while the team started Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons at safety last year, and, most likely, Jones and Louis Delmas back there this season.
The questions move away from the secondary tomorrow, which means we are likely done with Wilson answering every possible question - but who knows, he might show up again.