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Tony Lippett: Appreciated But Underrated

Tony Lippett has exceeded expectations at every turn in his NFL career. Year 3 should be no different.

Miami Dolphins v San Diego Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When the Miami Dolphins drafted Tony Lippett in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, he was presented as a WR on NFL’s live draft coverage.

The last of 4 5th round picks in 2015 for Miami.

We learned quickly in a press conference that we’d be playing him at CB.

I remember thinking: “Damn, how long is it going to take someone who played WR for the last 2 years to play CB in the NFL?” At the same time, it was an intriguing pick, and I thought to myself: “Man, what if his duality (WR/CB) actually helps him learn nuance faster? We’d finally have an answer for taller, big-bodied WR’s that have given us fits.

Xavien Howard showed promise as a rookie, but his NFL season was shortened by injury. Byron Maxwell had incredible peaks and head-scratching valleys through the 2016 season. Bobby McCain could probably use some competition at nickel CB, but he himself is entering a pivotal 3rd year and could grab the bull by the horns.

Perhaps our least-talked-about CB, Tony Lippett, might turn out to be the best of the group. By the way, he was tied for 11th in the NFL with 4 interceptions.

Lippett certainly has unique height for the position, not to mention a unique skill set informed by his WR/CB background. He understands routes with more perspective.

The question has always been: when will he put it all together? We see each and every year, Lippett developing “it.”

Let’s look at some tape from 2016 - first his run support:

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve seen Lippett whiff on some tackles, but what I like is he shows grit when tackling.

Here are a few snaps at pass defense:

What I’ve seen so far on tape, and what my eyes tell me when I’m watching the game, is that Tony Lippett needs just a pinch more technique, and he’s going to become a part of this nucleus we’re growing in Miami. He doesn’t back away from a challenge, tackles willingly, demonstrates confident body language, and shows increased nuance defending quicker passes, especially in 3 and 5-step drops.

Don’t be surprised if we’re talking about Tony Lippett’s continued maturation in 2017.

Think Tony Lippett might be complacent? Think again - this dude wants to be great.