The Miami Dolphins dealt with injuries in the secondary last season and undrafted rookie Kader Kohou wasted little time before taking advantage of the opportunity. According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, the former Texas A&M cornerback filled in as the league’s third-best coverage corner.
This season, All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey suffered a meniscus injury early in training camp, keeping him sidelined until roughly December. Miami’s depth at secondary will again be tested as the six-time Pro Bowler’s flexibility allowed him to move around defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense.
“There’s always going to be adversity, no matter what team you’re on, no matter what situation in life itself, so it’s really about what you do after that,” former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene said of overcoming injuries. “Jalen [Ramsey] is a great player, a phenomenal player, the best corner in the league. But it’s unfortunate that happened. Again, I’m praying for him, but now we’ve still got to do what we’re doing.
“We all get paid to do something and we’ve been brought here for a reason and there’s other people in the room now who can step up and take that position and fulfill it really well. So I’m looking forward to doing that and just continuing to support my teammates as well.”
Igbinoghene, 23, played 32 games since being drafted with the No. 30 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He logged his first career interception last year against the Pittsburgh Steelers and has five-career passes defended. Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer implemented a defense that asked a lot from cornerbacks and Igbinoghene looks forward to a new scheme with Fangio calling the shots.
“[Fangio’s scheme] allows people’s actual abilities to really come out, their gifts to come out,” Igbinoghene said. “I feel like that’s really been beneficial to me like my speed, my agility, my quickness has really been able to show. And like playing off and pressing versus the last couple systems, it was just really pressing and really man. Now we get to play zone a little bit, play off, have vision. And now being able to do that and really learn defense, learn how to play zone like an overall defense.
“Not saying we didn’t have that before, but now being able to do that now and learning Vic’s defense and the success he had, I see why this defense was very successful because it’s very complex.”
Receivers defended by Igbinoghene caught just 47.8 percent of passes — the lowest mark of the corner’s three-year career. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Igbinoghene battles Needham and rookie cornerback Cam Smith for playing time in Ramsey’s absence.
“Coach Mike McDaniel says it a lot, that we just need to focus on the now and not worry about what happened in the past,” Igbinoghene said. “Not even worry about the future, just focus on today. So I’m just focused on how I can get better today, how I can get better than I was yesterday today. Don’t worry about what anybody else has going on. This is not a competition. This is not me versus another guy. Because if I have that mentality so much, I’m not saying it’s not good to compete, but I feel like the mentality needs to be … you just need to focus on – just for me, how I talk to myself now – I just need to focus on what I need to focus on and me doing the best I can.
“And if I do that, if I put my best foot forward; I know I’m talented, I know God has given me a lot of capabilities. That’s going to work out for itself, the positioning. Like I was saying before it’s going to work out for itself.