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:
@Tony_Lippett14 is not afraid to lower his shoulder and make a hit. pic.twitter.com/QNV0iNHsQw— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 25, 2017
Late in the game, Titans had been trouncing us on the ground. @Tony_Lippett14 still coming up and wrapping up with tenacity. pic.twitter.com/SE0cnt6yOv— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 25, 2017
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:
@Tony_Lippett14 totally fools Phil Riv. Doesn't bite on WR dig, sags off and gets the INT. Both feet in bounds (like a former WR). pic.twitter.com/z4BDBMbAId— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 25, 2017
Bottom of screen, @Tony_Lippett14 against AJ Green. Doesn't bite on outside jab, gets the deflection. Great feet out of AJ's break. pic.twitter.com/CEWF0E6yK7— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 25, 2017
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.
Really wanna train with the big homie @RSherman_25 and pick his brain a little bit....— Ralph LaurenLIP (@Tony_Lippett14) March 24, 2017