The Phinsider’s annual 90-in-90 series is back today with another in-depth look at the players who are currently vying to make the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster. This series of articles takes a look at each individual on the roster, breaking down how they performed in 2017, why they could progress or regress in 2018, and the odds that the player makes the team when the regular season arrives.
Thus far through the offseason, we have completed 17 posts, taking a look at wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, defensive end Claudy Mathieu, linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Xavien Howard, long snapper Lucas Gravelle, wide receiver Danny Amendola. tight end A.J. Derby, running back Frank Gore, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Today, we take a look at cornerback Tony Lippett.
Lippett’s 2017 season collapsed before it even started when the promising young defensive back suffered an Achilles tear during training camp, landing him on injured reserve. With this in mind, we’ll take a look at Lippett’s 2016 for a better analysis of where he stands today.
2016 was just Lippett’s second season in the NFL and the first in which he participated in all 16 games (he started 13 that year). The converted wide receiver improved drastically as the season progressed despite some ups and downs that are standard for young players at the position. He recorded two games with two interceptions (both wins) and accumulated 10 pass-defenses on the year. By the end of the season, he was one of Miami’s most promising defensive playmakers. Before tearing his Achilles in the 2017 offseason, he looked to be vying for a starting job.
Why he will progress
Lippett will be entering his third season in the NFL and more experience always helps defensive backs in such a pass-happy league. Lippett’s case is special as well, given that he’ll now have another year of studying game film under his belt after converting from being a wide receiver in college. The time off the field has surely given him a new perspective on preparation and game-planning, something he will hopefully use to his advantage.
Why he will regress
Achilles tears are known to be one of the most difficult injuries to come back from. Returning to full form will obviously be Lippett’s biggest hurdle. There’s also the fact that Lippett will have to compete for playing time in a talented defensive backfield. Third year cover man Xavien Howard is almost guaranteed a starting spot, while second year corner Cordrea Tankersley will look to build off of a solid rookie season. Bobby McCain has the nickel corner position filled, so Lippett will need a strong training camp and preseason to return to the starting lineup.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
With his previous standing on the team and high upside, Lippett is all but locked in for a roster spot. The only way I could see him losing his position is if he completely fails to recover from his Achilles injury, but given recent reports, that seems unlikely. Expect Lippett to be wearing aqua and orange when the season opens.