Following the relief and euphoria after watching the Fins wisely select QB Tua Tagovailoa with the 5th pick, I kicked my feet up, ready to see what they’d do next. It was like settling in to watch Sunday night football, comfy, knowing your team had already won earlier in the day, and you could enjoy the game with a smile on your face.
As the top 4 tackles came off the board by pick 13, I wondered if they’d address tackle next, or pull the trigger at 26 or in the second round. USC’s Austin Jackson’s name was called for Miami at 18. I was hoping for a safety (specifically Xavier McKinney) out of the available players, so I was slightly disappointed, but hey, they were up again at 26, and getting a tackle with tremendous upside made sense for a team that will likely ease its franchise QB in slowly.
Miami traded down to 30, and as they came up again, it seemed like a great time to take either McKinney (or insert Antoine Winfield Jr. or other safety) or D’Andre Swift. Or maybe take the best pass rusher available.
Instead, Roger Goodell called: Noah Igbinoghene, cornerback, Auburn.
I sat forward in my recliner, miffed. Why would a team that’s invested so much money in its cornerback position take yet another corner with other glaring needs on the board?
So, no, I didn’t like the pick at first. However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve changed my mind. From what I’ve seen of the scouting reports, the guy is an aggressive man coverage defender with excellent speed and a good, physical tackler. If that doesn’t fit what Miami’s defense is schematically, I don’t know what does. I would expect him to win the nickel corner spot this fall, making Miami’s already talented secondary that much tougher to throw against.
Keep in mind, Miami has a veritable two-position player in the secondary already in Byron Jones. Having an aggressive corner like Igbinoghene gives Brian Flores more flexibility to get creative and disguise coverages with Jones.
And for the positions of need (safety, running back, OL, edge rusher), there are tons of very good players still on the board, with the Fins set to make the seventh pick of the second round, followed by the 56th overall. Two of those positions will still be addressed with impact players in the second round, with the secondary already having gotten considerably better with Igbinoghene.
Well done, Chris Grier.