The Dolphins will enter the season having added Nate Allen and suspended safety TJ McDonald to their defensive backfield. While I do like the additions, more youth will have to be addressed this upcoming off season. Reshad Jones is coming off season ending surgery, and while I don’t doubt he’ll be back to 100%, we won’t be able to count on him being a stud in our secondary forever. I think Walt Aikens has come a long way, and I am also very excited to watch more of Xavier Howard (hopefully he can stay healthy this year). I think the safety position will be a target next off season for the Dolphins and with being said, lets take a quick peek into next year’s potential draft class.
Derwin James, S, Florida St. - Sophmore
6-2 211 lbs
James is special. He’s an athletic freak with a physical/aggressive style of play. He’s all over the field, solid tackler, great in run support, fluid hips and really good speed for his size. James is a legit first round talent, no doubt about it. Durability is important for him this season though, because that’s what a lot of people are saying they have concerns with. A knee injury ended his season early last year, so he needs to prove that he is fully healthy and durable. If he stays healthy this season no doubt he will be a first round pick and if the Dolphins can make another trip to the post season, I doubt he would even be available for the Phins.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama - Junior
6-2 215 lbs
Alabama has multiple stud DBs on their team, but I’m going to talk about just two of them; Ronnie Harrison and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Harrison is similar to Derwin in the sense he’s big, ultra-athletic, hard hitting, very aggressive and just an overall playmaker on defense. I think James has better coverage skills than Harrison and more of a burst/speed/change of direction type of acceleration. Not to take anything away from Harrison though, I believe they are both future first round picks. Harrison is a physical, elite run defender that has some tightness in his hips, average overall speed and his awareness in coverage needs to get better (mainly just looking for the ball when running with receivers). However, I love how he flies to ball, reads plays efficiently and frankly be down-right dangerous coming with a full head of steam towards to ball carrier. He’s a fun player to watch and could be another player that may be off the board before Miami is on the clock.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama - Junior
6-0 201 lbs
I believe Brandon Carusillo has already covered Fitzpatrick and the other possible first round pick Anthony Averett in an earlier post this summer so I’ll be very brief on Fitzpatrick: He’s very, very good.
Tough, physical, playmaker; love his film, could be a high draft pick. And he plays for Alabama; their team is stacked. It’s an exciting defense to watch.
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia - Senior
6-1 215 lbs
I really enjoyed going through Blanding’s game film. He’s an instinctive guy that clearly understands the game and knows how to diagnose plays very, very quickly. He trusts his eyes and flies to where he thinks the ball is going. Most of the time he’s right; however when he’s wrong he overpursues and doesn’t have the make up speed to catch up. However, He is a great tackler, thus, he’s fantastic in run support. I think run support is clearly his strength, but I was surprised at how well he is in coverage. He’s a well-rounded safety. Now, I think his hips look tight, occasionally will get lost trying to keep his eyes on the QB and again I don’t think he’s got great overall speed. Regardless, love his quickness and he’s a three year starter with a ton of experience under his belt. I would say Blanding right now looks like a 2nd/3rd round pick. I like him a lot.
Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh - Junior
5-10 190 lbs
Whitehead is athletic, quick, speedster that isn’t afraid to throw his body around. He’s definitely a playmaker and much like Jabrill Peppers from last year he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s played both sides of the ball and has scored multiple TDs. My main problem with Whitehead is really just his size. He looks small on film; that scares me because he is a physical guy. He’s missed some time with an arm injury before; I really am not sure how he will hold on in the NFL, so I really don’t know where I like him best at. He’s got NFL talent, no question about that, I just am struggling to decide where I think he fits in. (Side Note: unfortunately, he will be sitting out the first three games of the year for violation of team policy)
Marcus Allen, S, Penn St. - Senior
6-1 202 lbs
Allen is a fantastic and tough run defender that struggles in coverage. I love his physicality, nastiness, ability to fight through blockers and make big plays; he can tackle well (although he goes for the big hit without wrapping up which drives me crazy), other than that, he’s a very good run defender. In coverage, I don’t think he’s has good speed, hips look tight and he bites on play action a lot. He does have a good break on the ball and I think his footwork is naturally pretty good; so I do see potential for improvement for sure, don’t get me wrong. If he can improve on his discipline in coverage this year his stock will fly up draft boards. He does, like Whitehead have NFL talent, just at safety I need a guy who isn’t a big liability in coverage. Allen has the potential, he needs to take that next step this season.
Damon Webb, S, Ohio St.
Steven Parker, S, Oklahoma
Tryee Robinson, S, Oregon
Cole Reyes, S, North Dakota
Trey Marshall, S, Florida St.
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern
Dominick Sanders, S, Georgia