Are the Miami Dolphins a better team than the were last year? Taking into account the coaching change and the return of some major contributors after an injury-plagued year, the answer to that question is probably, "They should be." Honestly, however, we simply do not know.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been publishing a series of articles taking a look at the 2016 Miami Dolphins roster and trying to determine if the names on the roster this year are better, worse, or the same as the names on the roster last year. This ignores the coaching, or schemes, or any of those types of concepts. This is simply a look at the roster and trying to measure between the two versions of the Dolphins.
We continue that series today, having already covered the quarterback position,the running backs group, the wide receivers, the tight ends, the offensive line, the defensive ends, the defensive tackles. and the linebackers. Today we move to the cornerbacks.
The cornerback group is nearly a complete rebuild from the 2015 version of the position, with Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis, and Brice McCain all no longer on the roster. The Dolphins traded for Maxwell, drafted Howard and Lucas, signed Chekwa, and claimed Ekpre-Olomu off waivers. After the secondary struggled last year, Miami clearly wanted to improve the position in 2016.
Did they improve it? Maxwell struggled last year with the Philadelphia Eagles, to the point that they just wanted to be rid of his contract when Miami stepped in to make the trade. Howard may need time to adjust to the NFL, but he may not get it, as he could be asked to be a starter right out of the gates this year. McCain is moving up and looking like he will be the primary nickel cornerback and could be the starter that moves inside in three cornerback formations, if Howard does not immediately transition to the league. Lippett appears to be making rapid progress in his transition from college receiver to professional cornerback, and Ekpre-Olomu, if he is healthy, could be a steal for the Dolphins.
Better, Worse, Same
Same. Honestly, "same" here simply means "I don’t know." Are the Dolphins better? Are they worse? Technically, Brent Grimes was a Pro Bowl player last year, though most Dolphins fans will tell you he did not play up to his previous Pro Bowl levels. Is the roster better or worse is a question that will have to be answered during the season. Since that is the case, I will go with same.