Miami was aggressive in improving its secondary this offseason, signing star free agent cornerback Byron Jones and drafting Auburn product Noah Igbinoghene. Before the draft, the Dolphins also signed safety and former Bengals special teams captain Clayton Fejedelem, along with former Cowboy Kavon Frazier.
But drafting Jones on Day 3 of the draft was arguably Miami’s biggest offseason acquisition at the safety position. The Texas product has been recovering from torn labrum surgery during the offseason, keeping him out of the Longhorns’ bowl game as well as for Pro Day and Combine workouts. That may caused teams to hesitate, and in turn, given the Dolphins phenomenal value for a third-round pick.
Jones may not have been able to physically compete at the combine, but that didn’t stop the safety from improving his football IQ. In a recent interview with USA Today, Jones recently said in an interview that he spent his time this offseason looking at defensive schemes in the NFL — from every single team.
Jones led the Longhorns defense with 64 solo tackles in his senior season. He provides much needed depth at safety. Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe figure to have the two starting spots locked up. But Jones, who started in 35 of the 46 games he played in his four years in Austin could slide in right behind them on Miami’s depth chart and will compete with other backups Adrian Colbert, Steven Parker, Fejedelem, and Frazier.
But Jones isn’t just an option on defense for Miami. The three-year starter was a tackling machine for the Longhorns defense, but also blocked two kicks for Texas in his final year, and even fielded some punts as a returner as well. Needless to say he’s a versatile player that instantly could help improve Miami’s defense and special teams.
On May 12, Jones agreed to a four-year deal worth 4.87 million with Miami.
Jones was a five-star prospect and the country’s number one safety when he chose Texas in 2016. Although the former Longhorn captain may have not completely lived up to that billing, the Dolphins are getting a consistent and dependable addition with a great football IQ to their secondary.